Lucien Bahaj, owner of the Pink Pony as well as the beloved Lucien, confirms that his Ludlow Street café will close along with Max Fish, since it sublets from the bar’s owner Ulli Rimkus. “There’s nothing tragic about it,” Bahaj assures. “We can move it somewhere else.” And he’s indeed “looking diligently, every day” for a new space in the Lower East Side, its home of ten years. “It’s Lower East Side culture and we don’t want change. We have a lot of support from the neighbors.” Bahaj says that the landlord has tripled the rent and has asked for $150 per square foot.
It’s a far cry from when Max Fish opened in what was then a vacant store and was given four months’ free rent by its notorious landlord Mark Glass. Indeed, back in July, when rumors of Max Fish’s move first started flying, Rimkus told the Daily Beast, “Landlords have become the most cruel businessmen. The motivation is money. It is no longer, ‘Will this business succeed and flourish in my store?’ That’s what it used to be like.”