Located in the Honda Plaza, in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles, The Mermaid Bar is a small bar serving drinks and food among nautical decor that suggests an undersea grotto. Seaweed dangles from the ceiling. Beams of light skitter over the painted walls, suggesting sunlight refracted through ocean water. Through a porthole in the wall, a seductive undersea siren blows kisses and mimes a suggestion that you should call her.
The bar serves themed drinks named “Siren’s Song,” “Black Magic Woman,” and “The Mermaiden Voyage.” The kitchen menu includes chicken wings, pork sliders, nachos, and (vegetarian) jackfruit carnitas tacos, along with “shareables” (hearts of palm, tater tots, and pickled eggs). After the kitchen closes, simple snack food is available: tropical chex mix, popcorn, and hot dogs (both beef and veggie varieties).
The Mermaid Bar can get crowded during happy hour, which undermines the soothing ambiance of the undersea theme, but thirsty sailors seeking any port in a storm will probably want to drop anchor anyway and knock back a flagon of grog. If you really want to imagine you’re rolling beneath the gentle waves of the Pacific Ocean, it’s best to dive in shortly after opening time, before the small space fills up with crusty seal salts
Curiously, The Mermaid Bar’s most immersive areas are the restrooms. Unrestricted by the need to provide enough illumination to read a menu (in fact, barely enough to find your way without stumbling), the lavatories are dark mini-grottos lit only by dim shimmering patches of light floating over the dark tiles. The only thing missing is Sebastian the crab singing, “Under the Sea.”
The Mermaid Bar Review: Photo Gallery
Photographs copyright 2019 by Yuki Tanaka
The Mermaid Bar Rating
Located in L.A.’s Little Tokyo, The Mermaid Bar offers an easygoing undersea grotto where thirsty landlubbers can relax and imbibe grog amidst nautical decor.
The Mermaid Bar is open nightly from 5pm to 2am. The address is 428 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The website is: themermaidla.com. More information is available at their Facebook page: facebook.com/themermaidla.