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8 NYC Oyster Spots to Try This Weekend

By Kathy Buccio | March 20, 2018 | Food & Drink


Nor’easters or bomb cyclones can’t stop us New Yorkers, from dreaming about warmer weathers or from slurping up some refreshing oysters any time of the year as we pass the time. Whether you’re enjoying them with some summer water (ahem rose), or al fresco at your favorite oyster bar haunt, the city is brimming with oyster options from high-end to neighborhood joints. Straight from the sea to your belly, here are the 8 best oyster bars in New York City that’ll have you shucking all night long.

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

The OG of oyster bars has been a New York staple for over 100 years and it shows no sign of slowing down. A selection of 25 to 30 variety of oysters makes it one of the biggest draws for oyster aficionados. With seafood as its forte, the restaurant only selects the freshest and highest qualities of seafood and oysters from the local fisheries to big name suppliers. What makes it extra unique is its location—situated inside one of the most architecturally applauded and historic landmarks, Grand Central Terminal, which sees millions of commuters, tourists, and locals who make a pit stop at the oyster bar for a quick glass of wine and a dozen of east or west coasters. 89 E. 42nd St., New York, 212-490-6650

Bar Belly

Play dress up (really, they have a costume chest) and slurp some of the best oysters in town at Bar Belly in the Lower East Side. There’s no shame in cozying up to the patrons next to you at this eclectic cozy bar, that’s oozing with vibrancy and clattering of plates and cocktails coming out from behind the bar. Try their specialty cocktails, including the Ms. Jackson that is made with Mezcal, rum, pineapple, lime, in between your oyster order. If you’re looking for something extra refreshing to go with your bivalves, then I suggest the Cucumber Julep with vodka, cucumber, lime, and mint. Satisfied belly guaranteed. 14 Orchard St., New York, 917-488-0943

The Clocktower

Trendy and chic are just two of the adjectives to describe the sexy ambiance at The Clocktower inside Ian Schrager’s Edition Hotel. Now, add some oysters to the mix and you have a recipe for the utmost luxe experience. Take a seat at the restaurant’s 24k gold leaf bar and order a dozen or two of both east and west coast oysters. The restaurant, a brain child of British Michelin-starred chef, Jason Atherton and Stephen Starr, offers three different kinds of oysters daily. Served in a box covered with seaweed and crushed ice, oyster lovers can order a batch of Wellfleet, Kumamoto, and Blue Point. Get fancy and pair your bite-sized suckers with a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee. 5 Madison Ave., New York, 212-413-4300

The John Dory Oyster Bar

Nomad’s hip Ace Hotel also happens to house the John Dory Oyster Bar, an eclectically cool oyster bar that’s loud, delicious, and casually chic. Don’t let the full dining room scare you away—there’s always an available blue or green cushioned seat at the bar with your name on it, and that’s where you can really savor and enjoy their daily selections of East Coast (Mermaid Cove, Wellfleet, Island creek) and West Coast Oysters (Totten Inlet, Compass Point, Shigoku) at $4 apiece. Take it up a notch with one of their cocktails, curated by the late cocktail king Sasha Petraske. The island inspired Lonsdale Mojito made with mint, lime, cachaca, and rum is a refreshing fan-favorite. If that doesn’t transport you to a vacation getaway, maybe the fish tanks will. 1196 Broadway, New York, 212-792-9000

Grand Army

You’ll find a daily rotating variety of east and west coast oysters, along with $1 oysters during happy hour Monday through Friday from 6 to 7 p.m. and even on weekends from 2 to 4 p.m. The bar is the place to be, as co-owner and Brooklyn-based bartender, Damon Boelte, doles out effortlessly cool cocktails that change by season. This winter, cocktails are inspired by Brothers Grimm fairytales, including the Seven Ravens (made with Jamaican rum, Pimm’s no. 1, becherovka, pineapple juice, lime, honey, and Angostura bitters). More than just an NYC oyster bar, Grand Army also offers a selection of dishes featuring charred ocotopus (with delicata squash, brussels sprouts, and marcona almonds), and the wagyu beed tartare (chipotle, beech mushrooms, walnuts), which are exceptional. 336 State St., Brooklyn, 718-422-7867

Mermaid Oyster Bar

If you’re a fan of the seafood-lovin’ Mermaid Inn establishments, then you’ll absolutely love the Mermaid Oyster Bar. Giving off New England beach vibes, the relaxed eatery is giving patrons a taste and feel of a more relaxing side of NYC. Especially hard to resist is the restaurant’s oyster happy hour available daily from 5 to 7 p.m. East Coast oysters are the bivalves du jour (chef’s selection), and at $1.25 each, you can down three-four dozens and not break the bank. $5 beers, $7 dollar wines, and $8 cocktails are also available to enjoy. If you’re still hungry after eating all those oysters, try the bar’s lobster roll. It’s a can’t miss. 79 McDougal St., New York, 212-260-0100


Steps from Rockefeller Center, a mecca of fine dining for all things seafood and shellfish lures both locals and tourists to its exquisite space and fresh cuisine. Not to be missed are the restaurant’s daily serving of oysters. It’s the perfect spot for some al fresco oyster grubbing before a show or after a hectic work day. A selection of 18 varieties of oysters, from Willapa Bay to Moondancers which are shucked for both lunch and dinner service. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing the bulk of its oysters from local purveyors. Another thing to brag about? Oceana is the founding restaurant partner of the Billion Oyster Project, which aims to restore a sustainable oyster population in the New York Harbor by engaging locals directly. They also donate all their oyster shells so they are used to to grow new oysters. Talk about dining with a good cause! 120 W. 49th St., New York, 212-759-5941

Maison Premiere

Considered by many to be one of the best restaurants to dine and wine in the city, Maison Premiere’s raw bar is hard to beat. Your first challenge will be claiming a seat at the eater’s U-shaped bar, where bartenders mingle with foodie patrons eager to dive into crafty cocktails and some divine shellfish platters. If not, a cozy table in the restaurant’s vintage glam Americana dining room will do just fine. The oyster selection is on point, with options such as Stellar Bay, Skookum, and Cotuit, making up the tip of the oyster iceberg (the current menu boasts 25 varieties). An opportunity to slurp up some aphrodisiac delicacies at this hotspot, is worth the subway or Uber ride to Brooklyn. If you’re on a date, request a table in the garden. You might get lucky. 298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, 347-335-0446

Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill

Chef and partner Timon Balloo has brought the flavors and vibe of his Global miami hot spot to Brooklyn and that includes its ever popular raw bar, featuring some exceptional slippery suckers. You can’t beat the Dumbo water views while enjoying the oyster happy hour at Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill, which offers $12 half dozens and $22 dozens every Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Mix it up with both East Coast and West Coast oysters and pair them with a $7 cocktail such as the Strawberry Balsamic (Tito’s vodka, fresh strawberries, aged balsamic, fresh lime juice). How's that for some Cuban infusion right under the Brooklyn Bridge for ya? 55 Water St., Brooklyn, 718-473-9555

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