The Mermaid Oyster Bar

Restaurants, Seafood Greenwich Village
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(4user reviews)
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 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Mermaid Oyster Bar

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Mermaid Oyster Bar

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Mermaid Oyster Bar

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Mermaid Oyster Bar

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Mermaid Oyster Bar

When times are tough, restaurateurs tend to lean on reliable formulas to stay afloat. That seems to be the case with the Mermaid Oyster Bar, from Danny Abrams and Cindy Smith. This third (and best), oyster-heavy location of Abrams’s popular New-England seafood eatery, the Mermaid Inn, has replaced their elegant but ill-fated bistro, Smith’s, which closed late last year. The couple swiftly refurbished the space, convincingly transforming a formerly sultry dining room into a bright fish shack with wainscoting and whitewashed walls. While the name suggests a mostly uncooked menu, the bill of fare is balanced between the curated raw bar—16 oysters complemented by the usual clams, mussels, crab, shrimp cocktail and lobster—and plated dishes that salute seafood favorites, ranging from greaseless clam strips with a tangy tartar sauce to a robust shellfish-enriched lobster bisque. With the help of our pleasant waiter, it was fun choosing among the exclusively North American oysters, split on the menu into East and West Coast categories; each type is accompanied by intriguing vocabulary like lettucy, zesty salinity and deep cup. We weren’t disappointed by the spectrum of flavor—from a musky Hog Island to the pungent Pemaquid. Entres, like a clean and meaty grilled Idaho trout with herbaceous salsa verde, were as simple as they were rewarding. And local tap beers, such as the hoppy Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale, were laid-back yet suitable matches for the dishes. Per the usual Mermaid Inn tradition, the meal ended with a free cup of rich chocolate pudding and a Fortune Teller fish, a formula that hasn’t gotten old. Sometimes there are advantages to playing it safe.

By: Time Out New York editors


Venue name: The Mermaid Oyster Bar
Address: 79 MacDougal St
New York
Cross street: between Bleecker and W Houston Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Thu 5:30–11pm; Fri, Sat 5:30–11:30pm; Sun 5–10pm
Transport: Subway: A, C, E, B, D, F, V to W 4th St
Price: Average main course: $19. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Meredith R

The Greenwich Village sister to Mermaid Inn, Mermaid Bar is a phenomenal place to stop in for a range of sea critters. From oysters to fritters and everything in between, they have plenty of options for sharing plates and full on fish entrees.

I recently came on a first date and split a number of dishes--three types of oysters, octopus, lobster knuckles and hush puppies. They also had a tuna tartare special that night that was a great add on. While I won't say it was the daintiest of dishes, it was a fun first dinner. 

The decor and atmosphere are made for a date. Plenty of low lighting and two-person tables and the service is prompt but unassuming. 

The real cherry on top was the dark chocolate desert to end. It's the perfect amount of sweet to round out the light evening. If you're sticking in the area after, I'd recommend getting out cash and heading to 124 Old Rabbit Club for a beer. 


I may be a bit biased in my review because I happened to be bridesmaided this evening - but aside from that we came in on a Monday around 630pm with intention of enjoying the full extent of their happy hour. We had a glass of wine from the bar while we waited 45min for a table, then they promptly carried over our tab to the table. We immediately ordered 15 oysters and began planning the rest of our Happy Hour Menu tour. Before oysters came, our waitress appeared again inquiring what we'd like to order, so we placed our requests and inquired again about the oysters. She had clearly forgotten to put them in, but it was ok. Not included on the Happy hour menu were the Fritters - you MUST get the fritters!! But everything was really delicious, there was plenty of wine, and we capped off the night with tequila oyster shooters. So so so much fun!

Moriah S

Came to this place pretty late for dinner (like they said you need to order in 5 minutes or you are not eating here) and we were quickly able to grab a couple of plates. Everything was really unique but familiar, perhaps its because the bar is tucked away in the Village a little removed from the main street. Cocktails were amazing! At the end with our checks they gave us each a little Japanese fortune fish which I thought was a really nice touch. Definitely good spot to know about!