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Address 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA 07030
Location Southeast corner at Washington and 11th Streets
Owner Steve Shelley, Dave Post, Todd Abramson[1]
Type Music venue, restaurant, brewpub and contemporary art gallery
Genre(s) punk, grunge, and indie rock
Capacity 200 (backroom stage)[2]
Opened August 1978 (1978-08)[2]
Renovated July 26, 1998[2]

Maxwell's, currently known as Maxwell's Tavern, is a bar/restaurant and music club in Hoboken, New Jersey. Over several decades, the intimate venue attracted a wide variety of acts looking for a change from the New York City concert spaces across the river.[3] Maxwell's initially closed its doors on July 31, 2013, and reopened as Maxwell's Tavern in 2014.


  • History 1
  • Bands 2
  • Live albums 3
  • Criticism 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The club was opened in August 1978 by Steve Fallon.[2] When the Fallon family bought the corner building in uptown Hoboken with its street-level tavern, Steve Fallon's sisters Kathryn Jackson Fallon and Anne Fallon Mazzolla along with brother-in-law Mario Mazzola were interested in turning the factory workers' tavern (General Foods' Maxwell House Coffee factory was a block away on the Hudson River[4]) into more of a restaurant.[5] The Hoboken band "a" (featuring Glenn Morrow, Richard Barone, Frank Giannini, and Rob Norris; the latter three later forming The Bongos) asked if they could rehearse in an unused back room and play a few gigs in the front for the restaurant's patrons. The live music quickly caught on and Fallon started booking bands in the back room. Over time, his booking taste, freewheeling personality and respectful treatment towards musicians made Maxwell's and Hoboken a stop to look forward to on many bands' tours.[2][6] By making the blue-collar mile-square city with a rough-and-tumble reputation a cultural gathering place, Maxwell's was instrumental in sparking Hoboken's first wave of early 1980s gentrification — the artists and musicians.[7] In that light, it is also believed that the Mazzolas may have offered the first successful Sunday brunch in Hoboken.[8]

The entrance vestibule to Maxwell's on 11th Street.

Maxwell's eventually become so successful that it spawned Pier Platters, an independent record store near the PATH train station that Fallon invested in; a whole music and cultural "scene" epitomized by the "Hoboken Sound" (which was featured in an hour-long television special on a local NYC station);[9] and Fallon's own record label, Coyote Records. Fallon hired Todd Abramson to take over the booking of the acts in the mid-1980s. Abramson has, essentially, been booking the venue ever since (except for a short period in the late 1990s after Fallon sold the club and Maxwell's was converted into a short-lived brewpub.)[2]

At a time when one of the Fallon siblings wanted to divest their interest in the business, Peter Buck (guitarist for R.E.M.) bought their piece to help his friend Steve Fallon keep it open as a resource for enthusiasts of new music.

When Fallon wanted completely out, he and his partners sold Maxwell's in December 1995 to William (Silverback) Sutton,[10] who then turned it into a brewpub.[2] Abramson,[1] Steve Shelley (drummer of Sonic Youth) and Dave Post of the Amazing Incredibles and Swingadelic arranged to bring Maxwell's back, and reopened it on July 26, 1998.[2] While some longtime patrons missed the more freewheeling Steve Fallon days, Maxwell's again became as vital a part of the independent music community as it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

Parts of the music video for Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" were filmed at Maxwell's on May 28, 1985.[5] The music video was directed by Hoboken resident John Sayles.[11]

The video for the song "Away" by The Feelies, directed by Jonathan Demme, was recorded at Maxwell's in 1988. After a 17-year hiatus, The Feelies reunited to appear at Maxwell's in July 2008,[12] and they made appearances again every July from 2009 through 2013.[13]

While on tour supporting their debut album Bleach, Nirvana appeared at Maxwell's on July 13, 1989. Early in the day, before the show, photographer Ian Tilton took several pictures of the band around Hoboken while John Robb interviewed them for a Sounds front cover feature. The picture of frontman Kurt Cobain has since been used in dozens of magazines, newspapers and websites before and after his death.[14]

In the early 1990s, Maxwell's was voted the "Best Club in New York — Even Though It's in New Jersey" by The New Yorker magazine.[15]

In addition to serving as a concert venue, Maxwell's offered monthly swing music by owner Dave Post's accomplished band Swingadelic, provides a forum for local musicians (with its free "New Jersey Songwriters in the Round" concerts), and opens itself up to weekly Tuesday DJ nights. Maxwell's also sponsored monthly art exhibits on its walls, with supporting opening events.

In the 2005 Village Voice Best of NY poll, Maxwell's was voted "Best Reason to Leave the State for Dinner and a Show". Also in 2005, The New York Times wrote that Maxwell's was "so New York that it's in New Jersey".[16]

The indie rock band Yo La Tengo usually rented out the club for the eight nights of Hanukkah every year.[17][18]

In April 2013, Maxwell's came in third in Rolling Stone magazine's "Venues that Rock" list of the best clubs in America.[19]

In June 2013 it was announced that Maxwell's would not renew its lease and the club would close in July.[20] The club closed its doors on July 31, 2013, preceded by an afternoon block party on 11th Street between Washington Street and Hudson Place, beginning that afternoon, to commemorate its final night.[21]

Maxwell's reopened temporarily in August 2013, solely as a bar and restaurant, while the owners sought to sell the venu;[22] Justin Timberlake was allowed to film a commercial there.[23]

In early 2014, it reopened under new ownership, with the name changed to Maxwell's Tavern.[24]


The first band to play at Maxwell's was "a" which included the three original members of Pylon (band) played there three times.[25] In the mid-1980s R.E.M. played there on a frequent basis.[26] The club was important to emerging trends as diverse as punk, grunge, and indie rock of the 1980s and early 1990s. Bands like Husker Du, The Replacements, Pixies, Firehose,[27] the Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, Fugazi,[28] Archers of Loaf, The Cynics, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Juliana Theory, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Fire in Cairo, Tad, the Melvins, Mod Fun, Mystic Eyes, Nirvana,[2][29] Hole, The Afghan Whigs, The Posies (including solo shows by Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer), The Smashing Pumpkins,[2][30] Tiny Lights and G Love and Special Sauce all have played there. Buzzcocks, Blue Öyster Cult,[31] The Fall, the Minutemen,[32] The Mess Around, Robyn Hitchcock,[33] Katrina & the Waves, Flipper, Rain Parade, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cowsills,[2] Wire, The Pogues, Pylon, Los Campesinos!, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Joe Jackson, Schoolly D, Crime and the City Solution, Killing Joke, Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Snakefinger, Living Colour, David Byrne, The Slits, U.S. Chaos, X, Joan Jett, Dick Dale, The Psychedelic Furs, Royal Crescent Mob, The Stations, The Strokes,[34] Matt Nathanson, John Doe, Mary Lou Lord, Electric Six, and The Ataris also made appearances on stage at Maxwell's. The Bongos, The Cyclones, The Individuals, Urban Allies, Gut Bank, The Fleshtones, The Raybeats and The dB's were mainstays in the beginning[35] with The Feelies playing frequently towards the later half of the 1980s.[36] The club continued this tradition into the 2000s with bands like The Dirtbombs,[37] Lemuria,[38] and Crooked Fingers.[39]

Live albums

Several bands recorded live albums at the venue, including Guided by Voices (For All Good Kids), The Reigning Sound (Live at Maxwells),[40] The Meat Puppets (Live at Maxwell's 2.08.01),[41] My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade Is Dead!),[42] and Imperial Teen (Live at Maxwell's).


As a music venue, Maxwell's was not very large. In fact, it only held about 200 people[2] and was considered dark.[3] The live music at a club in a residential area led some neighbors to complain about the noise as well as dancing in the streets during the early days of the club, before the expansion into the back room for appearances by musical acts.[2] A Hoboken restaurant survey website gave Maxwell's a rating of 3.33 out of a possible 5 in October 2008.[43]


  1. ^ a b Todd Abramson is identified as an "owner of Maxwell's in Hoboken" in an article about the breakup of a Hoboken based band in:
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ See the description of Melissa Holbrook Pierson's book The Place You Love is Gone: Progress Hits Home as reviewed in:
  8. ^ Brunch continues to be served at the reopened Maxwell's. See:
  9. ^ The special appeared on channel 5 according to
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ (subscription required)
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ McCall, Tris (June 3, 2013). "Maxwell's, a Hoboken rock institution, to close at the end of July".
  21. ^ "Maxwell’s Live Music Venue In Hoboken, N.J. Closing After 35 Years". CBS News.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ R.E.M. (band) appeared at Maxwell's on at least January 30, 1982; October 28, 1982; and November 27, 1982. See: , , and
  27. ^ Firehose appeared on April 19, 1991. See:
  28. ^ Fugazi appeared on October 8, 1989. See:
  29. ^ Nirvana appeared at Maxwell's on at least July 13, 1989 and April 28, 1990. See: and
  30. ^ The Smashing Pumpkins appeared on February 8, 1991. See:
  31. ^ Blue Öyster Cult appeared November 16, 2008. See:
  32. ^ The Minutemen (band) appeared on October 27, 1985. See:
  33. ^ Robyn Hitchcock appeared on at least October 27, 1990; December 30, 1990; January 9, 2004; November 14, 2004; March 26, 2005; November 18, 2006; and November 19, 2006. See: ; ; ; ; ; ; and
  34. ^ The Strokes appeared on May 28, 2001. See and
  35. ^ Robert Christgau compares The Bongos and the The dB's to The Individuals (active only from 1978 to 1983) at
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Lemuria (band) appeared June 7, 2009 and on May 9, 2006 with Kind of Like Spitting. See
  39. ^ Crooked Fingers appeared on October 19, 2004. See
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^

Further reading

  • Pierson, Melissa Holbrook The Place You Love is Gone: Progress Hits Home (2006, ISBN 0-393-05739-9)
  • Barone, Richard FRONTMAN: Surviving the Rock Star Myth (2007, Backbeat/Hal Leonard Books, ISBN 0-87930-912-1, ISBN 978-0-87930-912-1)

External links

  • Maxwell's Official Website
  • ticketweb for purchase of upcoming show tickets at Maxwell's of Hoboken
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