Off The Eaten Path: Mermaid Oyster Bar
New York City is the land of food and bev which can make my wallet sad, but my stomach very happy! On a leisurely stroll or walk to work I'm always peeking into windows, perusing menus and adding new spots to the running list of restaurants in my phone. But even though there are a myriad of new places to try, there are a few favorites I can't help but revisit.
Mermaid Oyster Bar in the West Village is one of those classic go tos. Located on charming MacDougal Street right above Houston, this little gem has the cutest decor and a fantastic menu! There are two sister restaurants in the city (The Mermaid Inn), but I've found the Oyster Bar spin-off to be the best.
Happiest of Hours
Head over early for Happy Hour with a friend and snag a seat at the bar - it's a tiny spot and gets crowded fast. First things first, the freebies. I know your Mom always said to avoid the bar snacks, but when its pretzel Goldfish in a cute silver tin, what's a gal to do?!
For bevs, there are great wine specials ($6/glass) and they offer a few delightful cocktails at special, too ($7/cocktail) - the "Mermaid Mary" which adds Old Bay seasoning to a classic Bloody; "The Ringwald" for a lighter, sweeter drink with St. Germain elderflower liquer; a traditional "Dark & Stormy;" and my personal favorite, the "Hot & Dirty" martini with a tabasco kick!
What To Eat
I traditionally stick to the menu's lighter fare and take advantage of the $1 oyster special during Happy Hour - if you've never tried oysters, such a cheap price tag is the perfect excuse! I haven't found myself to prefer West Coast or East Coast, so I usually order 6 of each and keep it simple. I've been known to dabble with the Shrimp & Avocado Sliders, too, and a little Green Bean Tempura never hurt anyone...
Best of all? Even if you stick to just a drink or two, getting the bill is just better at Mermaid - not only is it inexpensive, it comes complete with a complimentary mini chocolate pudding and a fortune-teller fish.
The Mermaid Oyster Bar
79 MacDougal Street
New York, NY