Saved by the Bell was an iconic television series lasting from 1989-1992, with multiple television spin-offs like The New Class and The College Years, in addition to the two TV movies Hawaiian Style and Wedding in Las Vegas. A phenomenon throughout the 1990s, Saved by the Bell made an indelible impression on a generation of teens. Now, the grown ups who once ‘shipped Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski, laughed at Screech, and rolled their eyes at Mr. Belding can become a part of the nostalgic Bayside at immersive bar and restaurant Saved by the Max.
As soon as patrons step off the busy Santa Monica Blvd. sidewalk and enter Saved by the Max, they are transported into the 1990s show. Fashioned after the afterschool hangout in the series, Saved by the Max is lined with red vinyl chairs and booths, neon geometric tiling, a jukebox playing ‘90s hits, and nods to Bayside and the Tigers. Lockers fill the entrance and hallway to the restrooms; guests can take photos with Zack’s jersey, Kelly’s pom-pom, Tori’s motorcycle helmet and Lisa’s crutch, or in front of Screech’s shrine to Lisa. For a sillier photo op, hold one of the large cut-outs of the main characters’ faces in front of your own. The payphone, Bayside trophies, KKTY 98.6 DJ booth, and several arcade games add to the ambiance and stir up memories of the show. A large glass case holds mementos, props and paraphernalia, like toys and lunch boxes, newspaper clippings, scripts, and comics based on the series. The “Beef Cakes” lunch box with Zack and Slater was my favorite.
For special events, or a slightly different atmosphere, guests can reserve a table in Mr. Belding’s Office, a separate room off the main dining floor. The wood-paneled walls and neutral palette of Mr. Belding’s Office juxtapose the brightness of the main restaurant; photos, bookshelves of educational books, various teaching awards and indoor plants make for a more serene experience.
Saved by the Max aims to be as campy and tongue-in-cheek as its muse. The menu contains dishes with names like “Snow White and the Seven Dorks,” “Spano’s Seasonal Salad,” “Mac & Screech” (which was delicious) and “AC Sliders.” The dishes, by Michelin Star Chef Brian Fisher, are fun, modern takes on diner fare. The desserts are not to be missed – “Max’s Magical Sweet Tooth,” with its churro waffle, vanilla ice cream and Chocolate Jameson salted caramel, was to die for. The full bar has a variety of specialty cocktails, too – the banana-flavored “Zachary Daiquiri” and several rotating adult slushies, among others – with a few brunch specials on the weekends – the caffeinated “I’m So Excited,” beer-mosa “Stacey Carosi’s Sofie Mimosie,” and more. For the full dining experience, reservations must be made in advance; every $40/person ticket includes an appetizer and entrée. Saved by the Max is currently offering a Winter Break promotion – all reservations from January 1st-March 31st also include one cocktail, beer, wine or milkshake!
Saved by the Max is a trip down memory lane, especially with three TVs playing rotating episodes of Saved by the Bell as refreshers. For fans of the show, Saved by the Max is a must-visit for its atmosphere alone. The friendly servers, decadent food, and strong drinks only add to the fun of this immersive pop-up bar and restaurant. Guests can truly feel like they are part of that bright 1990s world, even buying Bayside t-shirts, hats and more merchandise from the store. The pop-up restaurant is currently accepting reservations (and sometimes walk-ins) through September! Make dinner or brunch reservations here, and keep an eye on the Saved by the Max Facebook page and website to get the scoop on upcoming special events.