HERMOSA BEACH HAUNT GETS MAKEOVER
South Bay fans should be familiar with The Mermaid, which sits right next to the sand on the Hermosa Beach Pier. Now, thanks to the good folks at Killer Shrimp, who took over the favorite dive bar, revamped it, and even opened a Killer Shrimp next door, the new Mermaid Restaurant still has that old school charm but now offers a killer cocktail program and killer bites courtesy of Killer Shrimp.
Thanks to Marcos Tello, a cocktail consultant behind many of the city’s best bar programs, including 1886 Bar and Killer Shrimp, the Mermaid now serves some of the best cocktails you’ll find at any South Bay bar, and while is still has that divey charm, you won’t find any dive bar serving quality drinks like these.
During our recent visit for weekend drinks, the bar’s new look didn’t go unnoticed—really impressive is the outdoor beach seating; talk about prime drinking location. Looking over the new cocktail menu, I admit, I was a little nervous about the Mermaid’s Old Fashioned made with Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon, which I was actually unfamiliar with. It sounds scary and toxic. But at this point in my drinking game, I’ve learned to trust Marcos Tello and Old Grand-Dad is now a new fave bourbon. This Old Fashioned variation is made with Old Grand-Dad, sugar cube and bitters—simple, stiff and satisfying. According to Marcos, this drink is “the original bourbon cocktail served as it was meant to be served, without the fuss.”
While I’ve let it be known that I’m pretty much over the Old Fashioned and Manhattan craze, I did have to give the Mermaid’s versions a try. The Mermaid Manhattan is made with Knob Creek Rye Whiskey (not a favorite of mine), sweet vermouth and bitters. “As it was served at the Manhattan Club in the 1870s,” Marcos points out. It’s a stiff drink, not my favorite, but solid.
The Whiskey Smash, made with Makers Mark Bourbon (also not a favorite of mine), sugar, lemon and mint (I do hate mint), had a lot going against it for me but I could appreciate its flavor, although I would prefer something else. “It’s 50% Whiskey Sour + 50% Mint Julep = 100% delicious,” Marcos notes.
The Brown Derby, made with Jim Beam (honestly, I was starting to question Marcos’ taste in spirits), honey and fresh grapefruit juice offered a surprising bite. It was “created and named after the old Los Angeles restaurant of the same name from the 1920s,” Marcos explained. It’s a solid drink that’s perfect in this environment.
An off menu favorite cocktail was the Ciudad de Chocolate (Chocolate City). Made with Selvarey Cacao Rum and Elijah Craig bourbon, think of this drink as a delicious chocolaty Manhattan. All goodness.
At the vamped Mermaid, you can also order Killer Shrimp popular drinks like the classic Pieces of Eight, as well as the KS Margarita, and Shrimp Killa. You can also feast on killer appetizers like oysters, crab legs, Lobster Mac n Cheese, fish tacos, and mussels, as well as opt for bigger plates like Prime Rib French Dip, burgers, filet mignon, and salmon, in addition to several other tasty dishes.
The Mermaid Restaurant is located at 11 Pier Ave in Hermosa Beach. Open Mon-Fri from 3pm to 2am; and Sat & Sun from noon to 2am. Call 310-374-9344.