Apparently, there is such a thing as too upscale, even in the Galleria area. "It was just too snotty," says Lisa Calvin-Senejas, marketing director for the new Max's 2001 nightclub. "You can't expect people to wear jackets and ties in this weather."

It's rumored that it was just those ultra-stiff dress-code policies -- coupled with inflated prices -- that led to the demise of Tango, Max's 2001's predecessor at the old Studebakers/Crush Bar location on Augusta Drive. Now, Max's -- with its more lenient apparel restrictions (nice jeans and a button-down shirt will do) and cheaper drinks -- hopes to balance a sense of exclusivity with a relaxed atmosphere. Rick McDowell, former owner of the popular Houston nightspot Rick's, came up with the ritzy safari theme (leopard-skin rugs, animal prints and sculptures, and the like) for the nightclub, which had its premiere party on July 23. Musical entertainment is of the '70s, '80s and '90s dance variety, with Sundays devoted to swing.

All of which would seem to imply that Max's 2001 isn't designed for a younger, meat-market crowd -- specifically, those stragglers looking for an alternative to the nearby Richmond Strip. And that's the intention.

"We want this to be a destination," Calvin-Senejas says, "not just a club-hopping stop.


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