I came to The Mermaid to see a lecture, so I didn't see anything of this gigantic building but the main lobby and the theatre. And what I saw was... OK.
The theatre feels like a university lecture hall. Rows and rows of stadium style seats all looking towards a medium sized stage on the front. The acoustics were excellent and the screen behind the presenter big enough so that even the back row could see clearly. Still, there was no heart or atmosphere to the hall. Fine for seeing someone speak, less fine if someone was going to do something like show a film or give a concert.
The lobby is beautiful though and very spacious to stand in. Which brings me to my next point.
Where they really lost focus though was organisation. For a space that does this stuff all the time, it was pure chaos. Our ticket was scanned at the door and then no one had any idea where to go. Queues were being formed on each direction and none of the ushers pointed anyone in the right way. When the doors opened, everyone flooded in at once, making it feel like a mad dash to grab a good seat. Why, Mermaid, why?
Also, we checked our coats and bags at the door and then they lost my friend's bag and ended up giving me the wrong one. Isn't that exactly what the check in number is for? To hand the number and get back the right thing?
So not great, not terrible, an overall Ok experience.
I was here for a free BBC thing. As a venue it is excellent - good accoustics and comfortable seats etc. The Bar is small so the pre concert queue wa a bit frustrating, but okay for a theatre bar. They do offer a interval booking option which was good as you can avoid the mid performance queue.
My main issue with this place was that they sold me a bottle of wine - I checked if I could take it to my seat in the auditorium and the bar staff said yes. I was then stopped by security on my way back to my seat and had to get into a discussion with the head of security about it, as glass containers werent allowed in the hall. This really annoyed me as why would they even sell a bottle if it wasnt allowed into the main area? The security manager tried to get me to drink it before the concert started and I refused. He eventually let me in with it as I refused to back down, but wanted to know exactly where I was sitting etc so he could monitor me. I then got told off for dancing in aisles - so my low score reflects my experience with the security staff, not the venuw as a whole...
In my goodness this place is huge!
I had no idea when I passed just the sheer size of it inside. There are lots and lots of room all differing in size and shape (I assuming, not having seen them all, but making an educated guess based on the shape of the building.)
It reminds me if a middle of the road hotel. Spongy carpets and lots of fancy spot light type arrangements.
The toilets are a bit of a conundrum: lovely L'Occitane soap and hand cream, but chipboard doors cover in plastic made to look like wood. Hmm!
Overall it's a pleasant enough venue in a central(ish) location. It also has a beautiful view over the Thames from the River rooms.
The Mermaid is a conference and events venue in the City of London close to Blackfriars train station. I recently went to the 5th IAB Engage hosted at this venue. The outside is rather unappealing I think it was built in the 1970s/1980s, however the inside is slightly better, but no where near as nice as the Hospital Club. If you're looking to seat a few hundred people then this could be a venue option for you, but if you're looking for something more upmarket then I would suggest looking elsewhere.
This is a theatre and the conference took place in the main auditorium. Comfortable but coffee service was rather basic with no sweeteners offered.
The Mermaid (formerly Mermaid Theatre) is an independently owned venue situated on the north bank of the Thames adjacent to Blackfriars Station. The river rooms have spectacular views of the river, Tate Modern, Globe theatre, Millennium Bridge and The Shard which the river rooms look out over. Both rooms are ideal for drinks parties, dinners, receptions and Christmas parties and can accommodate up to 400.
Our main auditorium is tiered, column free and seats up to 600. It's flexible for a number of uses including AGM's, Showcases etc. as well as having a large stage, its ideal for product launches, fashion shows and concerts.
The Mermaid can be booked exclusively or individual rooms can be hired for specific needs. Either way you are able to brand your space as required. Natural daylight, powerful air conditioning, state of the art Wi-Fi are just a few things to mention that are available.
Established in 1998.
In May 1959 Lord Bernard and Lady Miles open the Mermaid Theatre at the Puddle Dock. It sails on under their command for 22 years. After Lord Miles steps down the theatre lives on for further years up until 1998 when it is converted into a conference centre.
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