Who doesn't love a little bit of kitsch?
There is no city on the planet filled with more cheesy fun kitsch than Las Vegas (no, not even Orlando), and one of the most titanically and epically kitschy spots in the entire city is The Mermaid Restaurant and Lounge at The Silverton Casino Hotel, located just a few miles off of The Strip.
The cheeseball restaurant to end all cheeseball restaurants, the place is decorated in garishly bright colors, with glowing green barnacle shaped light fixtures stuck to the ceiling. The wall behind the bar resembles the bow of a ship, complete with a bronze mermaid statue flanked by exotic fish swimming through two small port-hole shaped aquariums.
I call them small only in comparison to the place's most striking feature: the massive, floor to ceiling 117,000 gallon aquarium, where you can view 5,000 different species of gorgeous exotic fish and sharks... as well as a few gorgeous and exotic mermaids. Yes, mermaids. This place has mermaids!
The restaurant is one of those places that is so old school shameless that they hire hot ladies to put on mermaid costumes and take a dip in the giant aquarium as they smile and wave at the crowd of leering dudes. And it's freakin' awesome.
This place is a long way from the hottest nightclubs on The Strip, both geographically and atmospherically. And this is a very good thing, because you are going to see far fewer fratty bros at The Mermaid Restaurant and Lounge, most of whom are queuing up to try and get into Marquee or Haze. The MRL (as I've decided to dub it) caters to a much more interesting and eclectic crowd of kitsch seekers, many of whom dress up in ugly Hawaiian shirts for the occasion.
The place is completely, and amazingly, stupid in the best and most fun way, much like Las Vegas itself. As such, I believe it performs a very valuable function: it's the the perfect venue in which to perform a friend (or even girlfriend) test. If you're in town with people you've never visited Vegas with before, The Mermaid Restaurant and Lounge should be the first stop on your vacation. Take a seat at one of the plush and brightly colored seats in the lounge, order yourself up a giant (and fairly priced) frozen drink, and watch the reactions of the people you dragged there. If they roll their eyes and talk about the "exploitation" of the women in the mermaid suits, these people are clearly fun-hating buzzkills who take no joy in life and will carry the same attitude throughout the rest of your vacation. The friendship test has proven that you have no reason to keep hanging out with them after you return to the real world, because life's just too damned short to spend time with people who can't find joy in a cheesy nautical themed restaurant with live mermaids swimming in a giant fish tank.
The Mermaid Restaurant and Lounge is by no means the "coolest" place to drink in Las Vegas, but I'll take its dorky, kitschy, and fun charms over the so called "trendiest" Vegas club any day of the week. Because even Marquee doesn't have live mermaids.