eat. shop. love. nyc.

NYC Oyster Happy Hour Roundup

[tweetmeme]Another reason to love living in NYC – oyster happy hours! Below is a list of restaurants in lower Manhattan (sorry, I rarely make it uptown) where you can find great oyster and/or drink specials during happy hour:

Oyster happy hours I have tried:

  • Jo’s (Nolita/SoHo. 264 Elizabeth St. at Houston. 212.966.9640) My fave oyster happy hour. Dimly lit restaurant with $1 oyster happy hour (and $4 beers on tap, $5 well drinks, $7 select wine) weeknights from 5-8pm, only available in the bar room which has seating at the bar and along the walls (can accommodate groups of 4-6 at the tables). Service is slow if you’re not seated at the bar, so you’ll have to go to the bar to order and to pay. Oysters change daily depending on what the fishmonger brings by – I’ve had Blue Points and Miyagis here. Jo’s isn’t crowded on weeknights, happy hour goes until 8 pm, and the people here are awesome.
  • Lure Fishbar (SoHo. 142 Mercer St. at Prince. 212.431.7676) Stellar happy hour from 5-7pm on weeknights, at bar area only. Arrive early to grab seats as it gets really busy, you may have to throw some elbows to place your order at the bar. $1 oysters and $1 littleneck clams are the best bet; top quality oysters. See happy hour menu here. Shrimp tempura with black sesame seeds is delish. Do not get the lobster croutons. You’ll be sad when you realize there are 4 extremely teeny (MAYbe 1cm squared) cubes. Select beer $5, select wine $6, and select cocktails $7.
  • Essex (LES. 120 Essex Street, entrance on Rivington. 212.533.9616) On Mondays and Thursdays, $1 oysters all night and half price drinks (except for pitchers) from 6-9pm. I think that makes the beers $3, the wine $4, and most cocktails $5-$6. The oysters are decent, but not as good as Lure’s or Jo’s. Still, it’s a great location for grabbing a drink and a snack before doing a Thursday night out in LES, and you really can’t complain when you get to drink an Ommegang brew for $3. Also, this is a huge space, and can accommodate large groups.
  • Bondi Road (LES. 153 Rivington St. between Suffolk and Clinton. 212.253.5311) If quantity is more important to you than quality, and you like shrimp cocktail, then this is the place you will want to be spending your Thursday night. On Thursdays, Bondi Road does all you can eat raw oysters, shrimp, and Oysters Rockefeller (though I have read that sometimes they have oyster shooters instead) for just $9.99. Of course, they will try to convince you to take the $20 all you can drink for 2 hours deal on the side, but you can politely decline and just order as many beverages as you need.
  • Ulysses Folk House (Financial District. 95 Pearl Street between Coenties Aly & Hanover Sq. 212.482.0400‎) This is not really for happy hour, but Ulysses does have an all you can eat Sunday brunch that includes all you can eat oysters on the half shell for $20, along with fruits, breads, cheese and crackers, bagels and lox, sausages, corned beef, roast beef, ham, turkey, potatoes, veggies, salads… and a dessert tray. It also includes a Guinness, a (not very tasty) bloody mary, or a mimosa. It’s best in warm weather when you can eat outside at the picnic tables on the cobblestone street, but don’t expect 5 star food.

Oyster happy hours I have yet to try:

  • Aquagrill (SoHo. 210 Spring St. between Ave of The Americas & Sullivan. 212.274.0505) This is a consistently top-rated seafood restaurant, a place that is serious about their oysters. They have 25 to 30 varieties on any given day priced from $1.65 to $3.20, but most in the $2.20-$2.60 range. Also, clams (littleneck, cherry stone, and topneck) for $1.30-$1.40 apiece. See the list here. I read on Yelp that there is some kind of $1 oyster special. Call ahead to confirm.
  • Desnuda (122 E. 7th St. between First Ave. and Ave. A, 212.254.3515): This East Village cevicheria is brought to you by the same owners of the Bourgeois Pig and Mayahuel, so expect some place cozy, dark and sexy. The menu stars multiple ceviches and wines from Latin America. On Sundays from 2 pm and Mondays from 6 pm, Blue Points go for $1, Hama Hamas from Washington State run $2, and Massachusetts Wellfleet oysters are $3 each. According to Metromix, half shells are served with a trio of inventive housemade mignonettes ranging from spicy to smoky to sweet.
  • Fish (West Village. 280 Bleecker Street between Commerce and Jones. 212.727.2879) Apparently there is a Red White & Blue special where you get 6 blue point oysters plus a glass of house Chardonnay, Merlot or PBR for $8. Also, for $19 per person, they serve an all-you-can-eat Maryland-style blue crabs lunch special, steamed in beer and Old Bay from noon to 4pm daily. Consult Yelp.
  • The Mermaid Inn (East Village. 96 2nd Ave. at 6th St. 212.674.5870) From 5:30-7pm daily, there are $1 oysters at the bar and a blue plate special, which at the moment consists of a lobster sandwich, old bay fries, and a beer for $20. I’m not sure if there are any other drink specials.
  • Ten Bells (LES. 247 Broome St. 212.228.4450) French wine bar with $1 oyster happy hour every night (not sure if this includes weekends – call ahead) from open until 7pm. Each week, there are 2 different oysters coming either from the East and/or the West Coast for $2 each. Also serves small plates. Can get very crowded and busy (slow service), but apparently well-loved by regulars. Read the Yelp reviews here.

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My work buddy just sent this link to me. Holy moly. This is super helpful! I’m a loyal fan of The Mermaid Oyster Bar and highly recommend it. Their regular selection is fantastic and the special nearly changes every day. I’m going to try Lure’s next, thanks to your recommend. 🙂 If you do go to the Mermaid Oyster Bar, look for Jonathan at the bar. He’s fantastic, friendly and knowledgeable about pairings. Will take good care of you!

Comment by Julie

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