The Mermaid in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles is home to tropical cocktails and nautical aesthetics. It’s an unexpected little pocket of paradise tucked away in the strip mall on 2nd Street and Alameda. While the area might be known for its abundance of Ramen, sushi, and other Japanese fares (and the popular Angel City Brewery), it’s definitely a spot worth checking out if you haven’t already. (Bonus: It’s only three bucks for parking!)
Katie Kildow and Arelene Roldan, who respectively opened Lemon Poppy Kitchen and Steampunk Coffee Bar and Kitchen first opened the Mermaid in August 2018. Since then, they’ve been mixing up nautical-inspired cocktails such as The Mermaiden Voyage and Ship of Fools, just to name a few. But it’s not just cocktails and mermaids at the little food and drink spot. They host a variety of events ranging from holiday fun to karaoke nights, to a monthly rotating bartender event.
Their recent monthly event held on Wednesdays, their Woman Crush Wednesday series (WCW), is a night where a female guest bartender from various hotspots is brought in to do what they do best: mix delectable potions behind the bar. A portion of the proceeds from each night is often given to a female-driven cause of choice.
Ladies Who Tiki had the pleasure of attending not just one Wednesday series, but two!
For the February WCW series, The Mermaid welcomed Marie King, head mixologist and bar manager of the Tonga Hut Tiki Lounge for Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Special guest DJ Jonpaul Balak (Tikiyaki Orchestra, Insect Surfers) was spinning the soundtrack for the night. Marie’s specialty cocktail proceeds went to Black Women For Wellness, an organization committed to healing, supporting, and educating black women and girls through health education, empowerment, and advocacy.
For the March WCW guest, Jeanie Grant from San Francisco’s Pagan Idol was behind the bar. She got her start in Tiki and rum culture in Seattle and now makes her home in the Bay as the Bar Manager for the popular Pagan Idol. She enjoys traveling to the source of spirit production (ie. St. Martinique, Jamaica, etc.), and creating the ultimate hospitality experience (as seen in her epic garnishes such as a Moai carved into a banana). Jeanie also holds the titles of reigning Iron Tikitender and Miss Speed Rack California.
Speed Rack is an event that features top female bartenders in key cocktail markets, putting them head to head in round robin style timed and judged challenges. It is the first competition to highlight the up and coming generation of strong women in the spirits industry. Jeanie’s specialty cocktails from this Woman Crush Wednesday series went to Speed Rack, which dedicates 100% of its National Cocktail Competition event proceeds to breast cancer education, prevention, and research.
Check out Jeanie’s cocktail menu below, and please check out The Mermaid soon!