Downtown tiki bar schedules opening


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Discover a "tropical paradise" in downtown Grand Rapids this fall.

Max’s South Seas Hideaway, a new tiki-themed restaurant, will open its doors on Oct. 19 in the former Waldron Building, at 58 Ionia Ave. SW.

Max’s is a passion project for the restaurant’s owners: Mark Sellers, owner of BarFly Ventures; Martin Cate, a James Beard-winning author, bar owner and mixologist; and Gecko, a Hawaii-based tiki and Polynesian artist.

A team of tradespeople and artists, working in conjunction with local contractors Wolverine Building Group and Phoenix Construction, has spent months transforming the three-story, 18,475-square-foot building into a Polynesian pop fantasy world.

Max’s will also feature Sellers’s personal collection of mid-century and modern tiki artifacts.

“When you step inside Max’s, you’ll enter a fantasy world unlike anything previously seen in Grand Rapids,” Sellers said.

“Everything from the music to the service, tropical cocktails, artwork and gourmet food is being created to transport guests to a place far from their day-to-day life. Our goal is for people to forget the outside world exists, if only for an hour or two.”

The building will feature three bars with several semi-private tiki huts, as well as two private dining areas.

The menu will feature a cocktail selection by Cate and a gourmet food menu from chef Joseph Peebles.

Later this year, Max’s will also open its own ceramic studio, where custom-designed tiki mugs and other items will be for sale at the restaurant and through Max’s online store.

The opportunity to hide away at Max’s will be extended in 2020, when a boutique tiki-themed hotel plans to open on the third floor.

Max’s regular hours will be from 4 p.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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