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The best oyster bars in Boston

Head to these bivalve havens for the freshest raw oysters in Boston

Olivia Vanni
Written by
Olivia Vanni
&
Gerrish Lopez
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The world is your oyster when it comes to the Boston dining scene, but sometimes, all you really want is just that: an ice-cold, fresh oyster (or maybe a dozen). Coastal New England is home to some of the finest oyster beds, and our city is absolutely brimming with raw bars that serve these little briney delicacies in style, including during oyster happy hours. Whether you like your shellfish as a solo snack with a simple glass of wine, or as just the start of a multicourse meal, we’re giving you the best oyster bars in Boston for slurping down those Wellfleets, Blue Points, Island Creeks and more. For additional, fantastic fish options, check out our list of the best seafood restaurants in Boston. Make a night of it and follow your oyster tastings with a visit to one of the best wine bars in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best oyster bars in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • North End
  • price 3 of 4

Neptune Oyster has been one of the city’s most in-demand options for fresh local seafood since opening in 2004. Its vibe is East Coast raw bar perfection, with a simple, retro interior and an excellent selection of seafood. There’s always a line out the door, but, for oyster aficionados, it's worth the wait. Expert shuckers serve an extensive oyster list consisting mostly of local favorites like Wellfleets, Cotuits and Island Creeks, but there are also appearances from West Coast varieties. Splurge on the Neptune Plateau to sample a bit of everything, from oysters and clams, to shrimp and crab claws.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 3 of 4

At Waypoint, Chef Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow applies his forward-thinking approach to seafood, resulting in a truly unique menu of coastal, Italian-inspired fare. Its dark and moody ambiance, paired with top-notch raw bar offerings, make this restaurant a go-to spot for date night near Harvard Square. Accompany your daily selection of oysters with other briney treats, like Maine uni, smoked peel and eat shrimp, and caviar with plankton and corn blini. Wash everything down with one the bar's incredible, seasonal craft cocktails. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Seaport District
  • price 3 of 4

Brought to us by Jeremy Sewall, this Fort Point hot spot specializes in fresh seafood—especially fresh oysters. Row 34 offers a wide selection of local bivalves coming straight from the waters of nearby towns like Wellfleet, Duxbury, Plymouth and Chatham. The team at Row 34 loves its beer as much as it loves its shellfish, so be sure to pair your oysters with whichever recommended brew from the long list of small-production, regional craft beers that this place has on tap.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 3 of 4

This cheery, boisterous Harvard Square restaurant aims to deliver your most desired seafood dishes, all impeccably prepared. Amongst its menu of casual New England classics and elevated, internationally inspired dishes, you’ll find one of the most extensive oyster lists in town. If you have any issues choosing which type of oysters you’d like to gulp down, you can always go with the “Tale of Two Oysters” option, where you get two of every kind offered. Folks who want to be extra with their raw bar fanfare can also grab a seafood tower overflowing with a sampling of the restaurant’s chilled items, including clams, shrimp, white fish aguachile, tuna crudo and lobster salad.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Tucked inside a Back Bay brownstone, this cozy seafood spot has an extensive raw bar menu that's sure to impress. Sit down at the counter of Select Oyster Bar and sample some of the finest shellfish around, slurping down those scrumptious oysters alongside other seafood tower delicacies, like dressed Maine lobster and shrimp cocktail. The wine list is extensive, crammed with oyster-friendly varietals—from a crisp, sparkling brut rosé to a dry and tangy txakolina. While Select is perferct for a full, multicourse feast, it's also ideal if you just want to swing by and get a quick fix of drinks and oysters.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood

No one does seafood quite like Ivory Pearl. The Brookline raw bar and fish emporium feeds folks an array of ocean offerings, including shellfish towers, uni service and king crab trophies. Grab a slew of oysters from its rotating selection, as well as other chilled staples like clams, shrimp cocktail and crab claws. You can certainly wash your oysters down with a glass of wine, but part of Ivory Pearl’s whole appeal is the bar’s incredible cocktail program, so we encourage you to opt for one of its original or classically inspired concoctions instead.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

Barbara Lynch’s subterranean South End eatery is the quintessential spot for having a cozy night out filled with oysters and wine. More than a dozen different East and West Coast oysters are available each day, all served with a delightful Prosecco mignonette. The knowledgeable staff can guide you through your options and let you know all about each oyster variety's distinct attributions, while also offering up perfect pairings from the extensive wine list. For guests looking to take their oyster obsessions to the next level, there are shucking classes available by reservation, where they can learn how to open these bivavles and enjoy the fruits of their labor with champagne.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Alewife
  • price 3 of 4

If you don't have time to sit in that grueling Cape traffic but still need to get your clambake fix, simply stroll into Summer Shack in Cambridge. This casual spot is cheery, colorful, and has a laid-back atmosphere that makes you want to kick back and, well, slurp some oysters. The Alewife location has an enormous oyster bar, with plenty of bivalves and other raw seafood for you to enjoy. And for folks who prefer their seafood to be cooked, check out the wood-grilled oysters, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

This Back Bay establishment lives and breathes seafood—and that includes oysters. One look around Ostra’s white-tableclothed dining room and you’ll see that this isn’t exactly the place to find dollar oyster deals. However, it is the spot to splurge on high-quality, daily shellfish specials, including different varieties of your favorite briney bivalves. Buy oysters by the half-dozen here and you’ll have them served with an accompaniment of house-made horseradish cocktail sauce, sparkling mignonette and fresh lemon. For more raw fun, order a plate of tartare—whether it be of the yellowfin tuna, salmon or sea bass variety.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

This Back Bay seafood spot is known for pushing the limits of customary fish preparations—and for having a whole lot of fun while doing so. But when it comes to its raw bar fare, Saltie Girl keeps it pretty classic. With a selection of shellfish towers of varying size, this place serves its oysters alongside other chilled favorites like shrimp, lobster, crab salad, tuna poke, uni and caviar. Add some tinned fish to the mix for a more substantial snack, or make it a complete meal with incredible cooked specialties like the fried lobster and waffles, or rock crab carbonara.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Seaport District
  • price 2 of 4

Legal Sea Foods’ flagship location has three floors, each boasting a different dining experience—and it's on the first floor that you’ll find that prime oyster action. Grab a seat at the raw bar and watch the shuckers busy at work, while enjoying your own order of oysters, of course. This Seaport spot has up to 14 varieties of oysters offered each day, as well as sweeping views of the Harbor, making an ideal place to stop and sample some of the best seafood in town.

  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 3 of 4

For people who love oysters and whisky, Citizen Public House is basically a dream come true. This West Fens oyster bar offers a daily selection of fresh, local oysters like Wellfleets and Island Creeks. With more than 200 whiskies available, you're sure to find some delicious brown stuff to sip alongside your plate of shellfish. For a foolproof pairing, go with the menu's Whisky & Oysters offering, which gives you a pour of Compass Box's Peat Monster and three chilled bivalves. If hard booze isn't your thing, there’s always beer on tap and excellent wines that you can have alongside your raw bar fare.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • North End
  • price 3 of 4

Part of local restaurateur Frank DePasquale’s North End empire, this acclaimed seafood restaurant and raw bar is known for its crudo menu. So really, it only makes sense that the oysters here would be first-rate. A stunning selection of fresh seafood is available daily, best enjoyed with a glass of wine while sitting on Mare's sleek patio, which is fortunately outfitted with fire pits and a retractable roof for year-round alfresco dining. If you want to go big, the house shellfish tower is the best way to ball out; it’s loaded with 18 oysters, plus clams, shrimp cocktail, chilled half-lobster and Alaskan king crab.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Quincy Market
  • price 3 of 4

Laying claim as the oldest restaurant in Boston, the Union Oyster House (established 1826) is one of the city's most prominent landmarks. A steady stream of famous names and oyster enthusiasts—including Daniel Webster and JFK—have slid into the wooden booths here and feasted upon classic New England seafood dishes. To this day, shellfish lovers (and history buffs) can sit themselves down at this restaurant's raw bar for a view of its skilled shuckers and a plate of fresh, cold Blue Points.

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