Category Archives: Mervyn LeRoy

Maxwell’s Plum

Maxwell’s Plum, 64th and 1st Avenue

It was no wonder Mother had been miserable in the wild west of the Dakota when the Upper East Side was rocking with places like Maxwell’s Plum the original and quintessential singles bar of the late 60s and early 70s.  While it may have been unusual for seven and eight year old girls to be seen at La Grenouille, it was  probably a bit of a shock for some patrons to find Robbie and me at Maxwell’s.

Opened in 1966 by Warner LeRoy whose grandfather was Harry Warner (one of the Warner Brothers) and whose father Mervyn was one of the most successful directors in Hollywood, directing everything from The Wizard of Oz (uncredited) to Quo Vadis and Mr. Roberts to, more germane to my life, Gypsy.  Like his father’s film choices, Warner’s menu was all over the place from chili and burgers to wild boar and caviar.  And like both sides of his show business family, LeRoy was a showman first and foremost, later taking his larger than life sensibilities to Tavern on the Green and The Russian Tea Room.  

While I’m sure mother was keenly aware of “the scene” at the bar where Warren Beatty and Barbra Streisand and countless other hot, sexy young people were picking each other up,  for Robbie and me, Maxwell’s Plum was a circus of stained glass, Tiffany lamps and large ceramic animals hanging from the ceiling that made it feel like a grown-ups restaurant for kids or a restaurant where grown-ups could act like kids.