When word spread that Ms. Mae’s Magazine Street building was for sale, the dive bar’s many loyal patrons feared it would meet the same fate as Johnny White’s, Lost Love Lounge, and other New Orleans institutions the city has lost so far this year. Today, the owners of the Igor’s dive bar mini-empire confirmed to Eater they purchased the building, and that it will remain Ms. Mae’s The Club when it reopens.
“We are looking forward to getting it back open as soon as it’s safe to do so,” Susan Brooks told Eater Thursday. Brooks’ company owns a handful of other much-loved dives in the city, including Igor’s Lounge & Game Room on St. Charles Avenue, founded in 1974 by Igor Margan, featuring a laundromat. Margan went on to open 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 with a similar bent — open 24/7 and offering pool tables, solid bar food, and yes, washing machines. Margan died in 2018 at age 71, but Brooks, his longtime business partner, kept all four spots going after his death.
Ms. Mae’s has long been known for its 24/7 hours, having “the cheapest drinks in town,” loud heavy metal on the jukebox, an ever-interesting clientele, and a colorful history. Its familiar neighborhood vibe can be attributed to the late, former owner Florence Bingham, better known as Ms. Mae; she was quick to reopen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, further endearing the bar to the community.
Brooks told Eater she expects to reopen Ms. Mae’s in New Orleans’s phase 3.3.
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