The 10 best oyster happy hour spots in NYC

Here are the best eateries offering delicious deals (many with booze!) of the popular bivalves. Get slurping!

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Maison Premiere

Maison Premiere Photograph: Lizz Kuehl


With seafood lovers bingeing on oysters across the country, it's no surprise that New York City is joining the party in the coolest way: by cultivating the tasty bivalves on Governors Island with the Billion Oyster Project (BOP). As its name suggests, the plan is to restore 1 billion of the shellfish to New York Harbor, which used to house thousands of acres of thriving oyster beds. BOP, a public-private partnership that includes city funding, also includes an educational component to teach people about aquaculture. So far, 7.5 million have been grown.… So there's still a ways to go.

Today, restaurants around town from Gramercy Tavern to Maison Premiere, pictured, started serving 10,000 oysters from Atlantic-coast farms. After being shucked and slurped down, their shells will be used toward growing more of the mollusks on a dock off Governors Island.

It's a fascinating project—but more importantly, all that talk has our bellies rumbling for the briney little nuggets. Sure, there are plenty of places in town to splurge, but there's also oyster happy hour, one of the finest things in life. Consult our guide to our six go-to spots to indulge on the cheap.

NYC’s best oyster happy hours

1

Littleneck

Find a taste of New England in canalside Gowanus with this cozy seafood joint. The nautical spot offers $1.50 Blue Point oysters daily until 7pm, and you can wash 'em down with $6 cocktails and $3 seasonal beers.

2

The Mermaid Inn

This longtime fish shack has stood the test of time—it remains one of our go-tos for oyster happy hour. Danny Abrams's Upper West Side eatery (which also has locations in the East Village and West Village) serves up chef's choice, East Coast bivalves for $1 a pop all night Monday, 5–7pm Tuesday–Friday, and 4–7pm Saturday and Sunday.

3

Cull & Pistol

You know you can count on fresh seafood from the folks behind Chelsea Market's Lobster Place—and the same goes for their adjacent restaurant. All oysters are $1 Monday–Friday 4–6pm, and we recommend slurping them down with a glass of house sauvignon blanc for $7.

4

Maison Premiere

This gorgeous, NOLA-inspired haunt brings in the crowds, and all the more so during happy hour, which happens 4–7pm Monday–Friday and 11am–1pm Saturday and Sunday. We can't think of a better way to spend brunch than sampling from the salon's 30 different varieties (based on market availability) of oysters for $1 each. Oh, and that special includes all clams, too.

5

The Dead Rabbit

At this FiDi drinking den, a winner of the Food & Drink Awards 2014—you can take advantage of a daily deal (5–7pm) with delicious mollusks for $1 apiece. The throwback bar is known for resurrecting long-forgotten quaffs, and during happy hour you can also toss back five different absinthe cocktails ($12 each)—though hopefully not all at once.

6

Building on Bond

If making it to happy hour is one of the more challenging things in life, you can relax—the one at this cute Boerum Hill café runs from 5pm until close on Wednesdays. Each week, expect one East Coast and one West Coast oyster variety ($1.50 each). An $8 glass of Albarño is a fine match.

7

Charlie’s Bar & Kitchen

Beneath the watchful gazes of famous Charlie (Parker, Chaplin, Brown) hanging on the walls of this Mott Haven hang, tuck into a daily 4 to 8pm happy hour that includes for-a-buck bivalves and buy-one-get-one-free drinks at the bar.  

8

St. Mazie

St. Mazie is a delightfully twee Williamsburg gem, all bygone-era dusty light, bespectacled and tattooed barmaids, and lovingly crafted cocktails. Daily oyster happy hour in the joint runs from 6-8pm: For 12 bucks, you get half a dozen oysters and a glass of sparkling wine (in addition, house wine from the barrel is $5, and Brooklyn Lager is $4). You can enjoy your cocktails and grub in the upstairs main room, out on the back patio or downstairs in the speakeasy-inspired basement depending on your mood. A rotating roster of entertainment, from live music to movies, makes this a damn fine date spot, too. (The aphrodisiac bivalves won't hurt either.) 

9

Atrium

Just down the block from the scenic Dumbo portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park lies this relative newcomer to the nabe, specializing in market-driven cuisine (and featuring a really pretty herbarium on the wall). It offers daily $1 oysters from 5:30 to 7pm and $8 cocktails (regularly 13 bucks) Mondays through Fridays. The best part? If you snag a seat near the window on the weekends, you're sure to see loads of brides and quinceañera princesses popping out of hot-pink limos on their way to take photos on the pretty waterfront.

10

John Dory Oyster Bar

Going here for oysters is like going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for chocolate—it’s a no-brainer. April Bloomfield and co. make it even no-brainier (it’s a word!) by offering a daily happy hour from 5 to 7pm (noon to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays), including $2 oysters (and clams!), plus half-off deals on Oyster Stout Beer, on-tap prosecco and sherry, and $5 oyster shooters. The $2 price is a little steeper than other places, but the booze deal makes it worth it. Plus, the more you drink, the less you’ll care.


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Barbara P
Barbara P

$1 happy hour oysters 4-6 M-F at London Lennie's on Woodhaven Blvd. Queens.  The best seafood restaurant in NYC