The Mountain Mermaid
20421 Callon Drive
Topanga, CA 90290
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Why We Like This Place
Hidden away in the mountains above Los Angeles, this lovely hacienda basks in the bright afternoon sun, taking an endless, dreamy siesta. Originally built in 1930 as a country club, this serene siren elegantly conceals her varied—and quite colorful—past. In the 40s the site was a casino and brothel operated by gangster Mickey Cohen, who stocked the basement with slot machines, and in the 50s it was a Jewish boy’s school and American Legion Hall. It became The Canyon Club in the 60s, a gay dining and dancing establishment, and the following decade it was rechristened The Mermaid Tavern, a popular classical music venue. Although it was a critical success, the Tavern was a financial failure, and after it closed in 1976, the building languished in disrepair until Bill Buerge bought it in 1988. He spent the next five years turning this diamond in the rough into an architectural jewel.
The Mermaid is a knockout inside and out. Designed like a California mission with honey-colored stucco walls and a terra-cotta-tiled roof, the Mermaid embraces you with her lush acreage from the moment you arrive. The highlight of the entry gardens is an Old World fountain splashing water into a square stone pool, embellished with lily pads, bamboo and palm ferns. An abundance of rustic pottery sporting cactus and other succulents makes the front garden an earthy delight.
A series of graceful arches invites you through a covered front porch into the large main hall, where receptions take place. The room exemplifies the concept that less is more: both the sixteen-foot trussed-beam ceiling and maple floors remain free of paint and decoration, allowing the weathered patina of the wood to show; textured walls are punctuated only by French doors, tall arched windows and an enormous fireplace; furnishings consist of a few antiques, chairs and throw rugs. The overall effect is one of rustic elegance.
At one end of the room is a grand staircase where the bride can make her entrance, and at the other is a doorway leading into a smaller room used for cocktails or a buffet setup. Here, too, the decor is simple—wood floor and ceiling, multipaned windows, and a 14-foot antique harvest table, perfect for a long culinary display. French doors open out onto a private patio, where your guests can mingle under the sun or stars. From this scenic vantage point, the artistic-at-heart can appreciate how the rich earth tones of the nearby Santa Monica mountains, particularly striking at sunset, are mirrored in the Mermaid’s warm and festive palette.
From the patio it’s just a short walk down to a spacious ceremonial garden. Oak, olive and mulberry trees spread their leafy boughs wide, providing dappled shade for guests seated on swaths of lawn, next to a sparkling blue swimming pool. An array of potted plants parade alongside the pool deck, and at the head of the lawn, a wooden lattice archway twined with greenery is a natural spot for the ceremony. Afterwards, guests sip their cocktails and stroll along flagstone paths into cozy clearings, where statuary peeks out from lacy foliage, and blooming vines provide splashes of color.
Although the Mermaid has recently been named a California State Point of Historic Interest, it’s been captivating the interest of everyone who sees it for over half a century.
Max. Seated Indoors: 125
Max. Seated Outdoors: 150
Max. Seated Indoors: 125
Max. Seated Outdoors: 150
Max. Standing Indoors: 150
Max. Standing Outdoors: 200
|Max. Seated: 150|
Fees & Deposits
The Mountain Mermaid offers three catering options, with fees and deposits varying depending on the option selected. See www.themountainmermaid.com for complete details.
Option 1: All-inclusive package. Covers use of the site, full catering, rental equipment, valet parking, setup, cleanup, tax, service charges and more. A deposit of 50% of the anticipated event total is due when the venue is booked, and the balance is due 45 days prior to the event. Package pricing starts at $133/person and varies depending on the guest count.
Option 2: Select from a preferred list of caterers. 50% of the $5,000 site rental fee is due when the venue is booked. The balance is due 45 days prior to the event. Food, rentals and other services are handled by the caterer.
Option 3: Bring your own licensed and insured caterer. 50% of the $7,500 site rental fee is due when the venue is booked. The balance is due 45 days prior to the event. Food, rentals and other services are handled by the caterer.
Year-round. Weddings held Friday–Saturday, noon–10pm. Meetings held 8am–9pm on weekdays, 9am–10pm on weekends.
CateringChoose From List
Special Events, Parties
Wheelchair AccessAccess Limited
Venue TypeBanquet Hall/Events Facility
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