FAQ – Inspiration # 1

TavernThis is the first in a series of FAQs intended to reveal the source(s) of inspiration for the places and people on Colony Island.

The Mermaid Tavern

The Mermaid Tavern serves as the setting for Peter’s lunch with Carl, the Pizza Guy, during Peter’s first visit to the island. It is referred to several times throughout the course of Urban Mermaid – Officer Bubba Shrimpton is particularly fond of the apple pie served at this establishment – but lunch on Labour Day is the only time any action takes place there. The Tavern will play a somewhat larger role in the sequel to Urban Mermaid.

The establishment takes its name from a tavern on Cheapside in London during the Elizabethan era, located east of St. Paul’s Cathedral on the corner of Friday Street and Bread Street. It was home to a monthly drinking club including such Elizabethan literary notables as Ben Jonson, John Donne, John Fletcher, Francis Beaumont, and William Strachey. Over the centuries, Shakespeare has been included in the list of worthies. Many historians consider this association to be highly unlikely.

In the world of Colony Island, some merfolk have a greater awareness of the outside world and human history than others. Although the current proprietor is listed as one Robert Whaley, the original owner is not recorded. Obviously whomever suggested the name, did so, tongue planted firmly in cheek. Read the full Wikipaedia article, here.

Lord Hardwicke’s of Charlottesville, Virginia

This restaurant located on Emmet Street and relatively near the University of VA, dispensed food and drink to all and sundry from 1970 until 2016. About fifteen years ago, it was expanded to include a full bar area and extra seating.

The interior theme invokes the Tudor-esque feel of an English country pub with rough-hewn beams and supports on the wall and ceilings. The outside is a more modern looking building though there are some additional half-timber touches here and there.

The Mermaid Tavern on Colony Island looks remarkably like Lord Hardwicke’s and the rear expansion will be mentioned in the second book of the Colony Island series.

Sic Transit Lord Hardwicke’s

Around 2010, a second location was opened on US 29 North, just over the line in Green County. Although there was some initial speculation that this new location was destined to be short-lived, it has apparently fared better than the original location in town. On June 14, 2016, the original location on Emmet St. served its last meals and closed its doors – apparently for good.

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