First Look

First Look: A Mermaid Den Washes Up in the Bishop Arts District

The new Mermaid Raw Bar in the Bishop Arts District
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The new Mermaid Raw Bar in the Bishop Arts District
Paradiso in the Bishop Arts District recently transformed their large courtyard space that runs along Bishop Avenue into a swank mermaid den with a raw bar and Champagne room. This concept is from Exxir Hospitality, whose others spaces include Paradiso and The Botanist.

Mermaid Raw Bar opened this week with bubbles wafting in the air and the crew all decked out in little sailor hats and nautical garb. They had two types of freshly shucked oysters available; one from Murder Point, Alabama, the other from North Carolina. (If you want to taste the difference between the Gulf and the Atlantic, have one of each, no sauces on top of either.)

click to enlarge The oyster bar has two types of oysters, which are shucked as ordered. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The oyster bar has two types of oysters, which are shucked as ordered.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

There's also a small menu of seafood dishes by chef Nick Hurry. There's a stonefruit and tuna tartare ($12), butter-poached lobster tail ($16), a hamachi crudo ($12) and a crab and melon consommé ($13). If you bring your mermaid or merman friends, there's a seafood tower ($65).

Couches and chairs are situated so that groups can lounge and visit, offering a more laid-back vibe than tables where customers might feel the need to eat then scoot. It was hot and muggy outside on a recent visit, but the courtyard was breezy and cool. Mermaid energy.


click to enlarge The Champagne room also has a few summery cocktails available. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The Champagne room also has a few summery cocktails available.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

Plus there are bubbles, lots and lots of bubbles, by way of bubble machines spewing soapy orbs into the air and Champagne. The bar on one side of the mermaid den has a small but summer-friendly cocktail list. On the cocktail menu, under the Forever Sunset ($15) it asks, "What if a famous vodka-cranberry and wine spritz had a baby? This might be it."

The Bishop Arts District never disappoints in terms of people-watching. This is a great space to watch it all go by along with a nice drink and a light bite.

Mermaid Raw Bar, 308 N. Bishop Ave., 3-10 p.m. Wednesday - Thursday, 12-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday.