Maxwell Bar turned up the bass this week at 20 NW 3rd Ave. in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood. Owners Eric and Karen Bowler (Revelry, Tube, Fortune) tell Eater tonight is the grand opening, and Eater photographer Katie Acheff returns with photos of the sultry decor, replete with erotic artworks,
leather button-tufted vinyl booths, and sleek black tiles by Portland designer Ann Sacks.
“Maxwell has an Art Deco meets Mid-Century feel,” says Eric Bowler. “We had four beautiful, custom art pieces commissioned to hang over the booths.”
Operating Tuesday through Sunday, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Maxwell is located right next to the Bowlers’ Tube; whereas Tube is a hip-hop-fueled spot with a younger clientele, Maxwell will feature more premium spirits and music that’s “a bit more grown up,” says Karen Bowler.
“Both places certainly play off of each other. You can turn up at Tube and then lounge and have a nice conversation at Maxwell.”
Bar manager Mike Harmata of Revelry, which the Bowlers co-own with venerable chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, designed the cocktail list. Most cocktails run between $10 and $12, like the Laid Back, with gin, lemoncello, orange liqueur, and burlesque bitters, and topped with tonic.
Designed by the local vegan consulting company Snackrilidge, the food menu is one hundred percent vegan and features all non-GMO ingredients. It’s mostly gut-bombs perfect for 2 a.m. The Rick Reuben uses spiced seitan and vegan gruyere. There's also a vegan Philly cheesesteak, an Italian-style grinder, and vegan wings, aka Lord of the Wings, served with Blue Cheeze and sweet and spicy rainbow slaw. All food costs $9.
So far, Maxwell’s DJ lineup includes DJ Skout, this Tuesday (“He is a PhD student by day. His style is fun, diverse, and sophisticated”); Vibe and Tings, comprised of Nike and Adidas alums, will play “grown R&B,” on Thursday; and the Bowlers’ house DJ, DJ Evil One, will spin on Saturday.