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A Little Spanish 

Where can you go to get a late-night meal that's not too heavy and not too hurried? Mimi's in the Marigny (2601 Royal St., 872-9868). One of the many charms of this neighborhood bar is its kitchen, where Chef Heathcliffe Haley serves Spanish-style tapas until the wee hours " 2 a.m. to be exact.

Departing from the usual bar fare of Buffalo wings and quesadillas, Mimi's menu of cold and hot appetizer-sized portions in the tradition of Spain includes goat cheese croquetas with caramelized onions drizzled with honey and parsley; calamari sautéed in garlic, parsley and white wine; and salmon-wrapped asparagus. One of these tapas even comes with a big glass of sangria for $5 Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

'The tapas are very good. It's my favorite way of eating," says owner Mimi Dykes, who just celebrated the fourth anniversary of her bar. 'A little nibble of different things. A little of this, a little of that."

Mimi's may serve high-end cuisine, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. The gourmet tapas come at bar-food prices " ranging from $5 to $6.50 " and Dykes says her place will always be a neighborhood joint where everyone and anyone is welcome.

'I had a woman come in for her granddaughter's graduation, and now she wants to have her 78th birthday party here," Dykes says. 'The people are a range of ages, temperaments and artistic leanings. Everyone feels comfortable coming here."

Mimi's has two floors, both sharing that inviting, neighborhood vibe. The second floor has a mellow ambience with dinner tables to enjoy the tapas, and the first floor has pool tables and a TV for game watching. The bar hosts local musicians such as Vavavoom and Linnzi Zaorski, with DJ Soul Sister spinning rare grooves on Saturdays.

The bar has a good selection of sherries and ports to compliment its tapas, but Dykes jokingly describes their bar offerings as 'Tequila, tequila and more tequila."

'It's my drink of choice," she says.

Mimi's is a bar of unusual combinations " inexpensive, high-end food in a laid-back, neighborhood bar atmosphere that Marigny artists and 78-year-old women can equally appreciate.

click to enlarge Serving tapas until 2 a.m., Mimi's in the Marigny is a favorite haunt for many locals. - NICOLAS KERN
  • Nicolas Kern
  • Serving tapas until 2 a.m., Mimi's in the Marigny is a favorite haunt for many locals.
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