At newish Little Tokyo bar the Mermaid, women are, fittingly, at the helm of every detail, from the menu to the decor to events. Its owners, Katie Kildow and Arlene Roldan, have made an effort to use female liquor vendors and suppliers, and it seems all involved, from PR people to investors (one of whom includes Music and Booze With Mo podcast host Mo Herms), are ladies as well. The nautical-themed spot, in the former C-Bar space, isn't exactly girly decorwise but it is alluring, with aquamarine accents and even a faux porthole window that projects a beautiful swimming mermaid when you gaze inside.
“I was immediately drawn to this bar in Little Tokyo because it's like old stomping grounds for me,” says Roldan, a fourth-generation Angeleno who grew up in Bell Gardens. “I know a lot about L.A. and came downtown for warehouse parties and skateboarding all the time. … So this area was amazing to me.”
Roldan says she's always loved tropical drinks and she wanted to open another bar that was, as she calls it, “approachable,” falling short of calling it a dive bar. “I wanted to avoid traditional mixology because I feel like a lot of places do that well but they miss the involvement with their customers because they're so involved with their craft.”
But the drinks are still special. We tried the rum-based Mermaidian Voyage and the lime-y, gin-based Siren Song during opening weekend and both were refreshingly tangy but not too sweet; fans of tiki cocktails and beyond, male and female, can appreciate that.
Kildow and Roldan, were previously behind Lemon Poppy Kitchen, Steampunk Coffee Bar & Kitchen and Bar One Tap Room, but with the Mermaid, it’s pretty clear they’re out to have even more fun as proprietors, exploring new ideas via their cocktail and food menus and events scheduling. The bar opened in August, so they're just getting started with the latter, and as Roldan tells L.A. Weekly, this Wednesday will kick off something very special. Tomorrow evening they launch a weekly Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) night with a special theme, marking a “holiday” based on one of their favorite movies.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, is Mean Girls Day!
OK, Tina Fey’s coming-of-age comedy may not have made “fetch” happen but it did become a quotable part of pop culture. Like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless, it’s a riotous reflection of youth and high school life that captures the era (in this case the early 2000s) perfectly. In some ways, it has surpassed the older teen flicks in terms of resonance, especially with women. We’ve pretty much all dealt with a Regina George (played by Rachel McAdams) popular girl/queen bee growing up, and whether you worshipped her hip clique or despised them, they were a presence you couldn’t really ignore. Fey’s film (sorta) humanized them and made Lindsay Lohan a star, but it was the witty and whip-smart dialogue that made it a classic.
On Wednesday wearing pink will get you a discount at the Mermaid. A bounty of babes should be on hand for this girl-powered party and there will be screenings and whiskey specials from 8 to 10 p.m. Portions of the night’s proceeds will benefit the Keep A Breast Foundation, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In case you're wondering why Oct. 3 is the chosen date for this ironic celebration of female friendships, it comes from the movie itself. It's the day Lohan’s character, Cady, was asked a momentous question by her crush, Aaron Samuels. See video below.
In addition to weekly #WCW promotions, Roldan says the bar will be hosting burlesque and loteria (Mexican bingo) games, and will have curated music on weekends.
The Mermaid, 428 E. Second St., Little Tokyo; (213) 947-3347, themermaidla.com.