Igor Margan, founder and longtime proprietor of some of New Orleans’ most well-established and beloved dive bars, died last week at the age of 71.
The Advocate reports that Susan Brooks, his business partner, confirmed today that the Yugoslavian-born Margan died on December 4 after years of living with cancer. Services were held privately.
The oldest and possibly most iconic of Margan’s watering holes is Igor’s Lounge & Game Room on St. Charles Avenue, founded in 1974 and featuring a laundromat, firmly establishing Margan’s locals-centric approach. Igor’s Check Point Charlie on Esplanade Avenue, Lucky’s Bar, also on St. Charles Avenue, and Igor’s Buddha Belly on Magazine Street all followed with a similar bent, open 24/7 and offering pool tables, solid bar food, and yes, washing machines.
Despite these shared features, each of Margan’s bars has its own identity, from Karaoke nights at Buddha Belly to Checkpoint Charlie’s local live music scene serving as the catalyst for what has become New Orleans’ primary music destination, Frenchmen Street (Checkpoint Charlie is located at the intersection of Frenchmen and Esplanade Avenue). All are favorites of people working in the hospitality industry, with service-friendly hours and locations.
Margan left war-torn Eastern Europe as a child with his family and spent most of his life in New Orleans. While he mostly operated from behind the scenes, social media remembrances speak fondly of the times he would drop by to hang out, sometimes joining in for Karaoke sessions. Margan’s only restaurant, Igor’s Garlic Clove, closed its location next to Igor’s Lounge & Game Room after seven years in 2012.
All four establishments will continue operation as usual, Brooks said. Margan is survived by his wife, Halina Ring Margan, his mother Elana Margan, and his brothers, Vittorio and Maurilio Margan.
- Igor Margan, founder of 24/7 Igor’s bars around New Orleans, dies at 71 [ADVOCATE]
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