[UPDATE BELOW] The colorful bar Max Fish, a scruffy Ludlow Street oasis with a disgusting bathroom straight out of Central Casting, will close by the end of January, according to an employee at the bar who asked not to be identified. Rumors have been swirling about Max Fish's demise for months, and in May owner Ulli Rimkus tried to relocate her bar to another location in the neighborhood because of skyrocketing rent. Back in July, 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."

In May, the local community board refused to approve Rimkus's attempt to transfer her liquor license to another location, citing the glut of bars and nightclubs in the immediate vicinity, including the notorious sex club The Box. The board explained the vote thus:
"Residents continue to complain about the huge (influx)… of people who come to this block at night to patronize these (establishments) and about the traffic congestion, lines of cars and horn honking that have resulted in taxis and limousines depositing and picking up patrons in front of these businesses."

It's a shame, because while at first glance Max Fish may seem like just another expendable hipster hangout, it's actually a pretty great, unpretentious place in a neighborhood overrun with abominations like, well, The Box. The walls are adorned with a rotating array of artwork from local artists, there is a pool table, and the bartenders haven't forgotten the dying art of the buyback. Coming on the heels of Mars Bar's likely death sentence, we're halfway through the week with two fewer things that make NYC unique. Max Fish celebrated its 21st birthday last week, so head on over there and buy it a drink while you still can. [via Eater]

The Pink Pony, which serves food next door to Max Fish, is closing, too. Owner Lucien Bahaj tells Grub Street that the landlord has tripled the rent and wants $150 per square foot. But he blithely adds, "There’s nothing tragic about it. We can move it somewhere else." Like maybe an LES-themed office park somewhere in Bergen County!