Ann Varghese checks out one of Juffair’s newest restaurant-lounges, Maxx at The Arch.
Walking into the Maxx restaurant at the Arch Hotel, I was immediately struck by how cosy, yet sophisticated the place looked. While the glasses that caught the sunlight and sparkled like diamonds made you feel like you are in one of the top 10 restaurants, the rich woody interiors make you feel right at home. There was something inviting about the place that immediately made me feel at ease, and I knew I was ready to party.
As I sipped on one of my favorite drinks, Careless Whisper started to play in the air. My eyes searched the room for the source of the all-time classic, and I found a live band tapping their feet to the tunes. They played as if time stood still and all that was moving was music. I lost myself in the warm melody and reminisced about things long forgotten. I went over and introduced myself to the band members to commend them on their excellent music.
Pieter is the band leader. Having worked in the Middle East for over 17 years, he says Maxx is his favourite place to play. “We are trying to create a homely atmosphere here at Maxx,” he adds. “If you look around here, there’s not many places where couples can go to enjoy some really good, live music and not be overwhelmed by the noise or the crowd. The type of music we play is based on requests from the customers. We don’t necessarily follow the top-40 trends. We can play anything but we make a playlist based on what the customers want to hear.”
The venue opens at 6 pm and the live band kicks in from 9pm-1am – a time they are hoping to extend, Pieter told me gleefully. “We are looking to extend the time of the band and the restaurant, because we want to offer what nobody else does. Most bands and places wind up by 1am, and the people have nowhere to go then. We have noticed that the restaurant always livens up by midnight because people often come to us by the end of the night to relax to some classics and hear their favourite songs, we want to be able to offer them the best experience at that time.”
The menu at Maxx is an extensive spread of Mexican cuisine that includes barbacoa, quesadillas, pambazos, and a variety of drinks. “We have Happy Hours running very successfully from 6 pm to 9 pm,” says the hotel’s GM, Vijayan Sadanandan. “We have a 25 per cent off on food and beverages. Our Happy Hour is one of the most successful in this part of Juffair. All our beverages and food are priced very competitively, so we have a good number of foodies coming in through the night.” The highlight of the Happy Hour is the live band, or a solo performer that focuses more on acoustic numbers.
This competitive restaurant-lounge offers various promotions, especially on Ladies Nights where drinks are free for the girls every night!
Maxx is also one of the few lounges in Bahrain that brings in premium tribute acts. Scattered across the Middle East, there are agents scouting for talents, and when they find the best, they bring them home to Maxx, which is one of the primary reasons the venue has become a favourite jam spots for live bands. “The crowd comes to Maxx to hear celebrated musicians on any of the big days,” says Vijayan. “We have positioned the bar and the lounge as a refined hangout space, and that is the placing and the brand name that we would like to highlight to the audience.”