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Maxwell Bar
Katie Acheff/EPDX

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See Inside Old Town’s Stylish Maxwell Bar, Opening Tonight

Get the 411 on the cocktail and vegan food menus, too

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.

Maxwell Bars
Katie Acheff/EPDX
The view from beside the DJ booth at the rear of the bar
Katie Acheff/EPDX

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.

Brightly colored artworks with racy scenes by Cloud Carvings’ Meghan Lionel Murphy
Katie Acheff/EPDX
Another artwork by Cloud Carvings, featuring two ladies surrounded by cocktails, smartphones, flowers, and Old Town scenery
Katie Acheff/EPDX
Backlight spirits behind the bar
Katie Acheff/EPDX
Booth seating leads up to the DJ booth
Katie Acheff/EPDX
It definitely won’t be this bright if you visit
Katie Acheff/EPDX

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.

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