Cull & Pistol (Photo: Max Flatow Photography/Courtesy of Cull & Pistol)

8 of New York City’s Best Oyster and Seafood Happy Hours

From $1 oysters at some of the city's top seafood houses to deals that include discounted draft beers and local wine, we've got the line on some of the best deals in town

New York City is one of the best places in the world to enjoy fresh seafood — great news for those of us who live here or are visiting from more land-locked parts of the country. Thanks to the city’s access to bountiful fresh seafood, oysters are king at happy hours where items like calamari, clams and fish and chips can often be had for a song. Of course, you’ll have to know where to go at what time. Lucky for you, we do, and here are eight of our favorite spots in New York City for a seafood happy hour. And don’t forget drink specials!

 

Cull & Pistol

The raw bar at Cull & Pistol (Photo: Max Flatow Photography/Courtesy of Cull & Pistol)

Cull & Pistol
When foodie mall Chelsea Market opened in 1997, in-the-know types flocked to seafood market Lobster Place for trays of freshly shucked oysters, delicious lobster rolls and seafood soups. More market than restaurant, it revamped its space in the summer of 2013 and opened the wood-heavy fish shack Cull & Pistol. Bivalve fans should nab a stool at the raw bar or high tops (there are also tables, but you’ll also have to order dinner to get a seat at one) from 3:30 to 6pm every Monday through Friday for the oyster happy hour. All of the oysters on the raw bar menu (a selection of 10 varieties) are a dollar each. Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave. 646-568-1223, cullandpistol.com

 

The John Dory

The dining room at John Dory (Photo: Melissa Hom/Courtesy of The John Dory)

The John Dory
Part of the hip Ace Hotel, the sunny John Dory (from Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield) is packed with bright furniture and people, and perhaps the best selection fresh seafood on the island. The robust $18 happy hour includes a half dozen clams or oysters (normally there’s an East and West Coast option) and a glass of sparkling wine or Oyster Stout beer Monday through Friday from 5 to 7pm and 11pm to midnight. On Saturdays and Sundays, the deal is available from 12 to 7pm and brunch drink options expand to include a Bloody Mary or Michelada. Add a side of buttery Parker House rolls to your order and thank us later. 1196 Broadway, 646-214-5764, thejohndory.com 

 

BLT Fish Shack

BLT Fish Shack (Photo: Courtesy of BLT Fish)

BLT Fish Shack
The casual first floor of this Flatiron standard hosts a popular happy hour in a space that looks plucked from a New England seaside spot — a really swank seaside spot, that is. Given the great deal — dollar oyster of the day (usually one from the east and west) as well as $5 Lionshead beer and $6 Shark Bites (a prosecco based cocktail) — this spot fills up fast on weeknights from 5 to 7pm. The happy hour is only offered at the bar, not with table seating, but if you ask nicely, the bartender will bring you some of the amazing cheese covered pull-apart bread. 21 W. 17th St., 212-691-8888, e2hospitality.com

 

Maison Premiere

Absinthe dispenser, oysters and a mint julep at Maison Premiere (Photos: Courtesy of Maison Premiere)

Maison Premiere
Don’t be confused by Napoleon gazing at you from absinthe tower, you’re in Brooklyn, not the French Quarter. This Franco-phile friendly spot in Williamsburg opened two years ago and is known for its absinthe menu and inventive cocktails — including six variations on the Julep. For bivalve lovers, happy hour is a steal — weeknights from 4 to 7pm and from 11am to 1pm on Saturday and Sunday — when every oyster on the extensive and in-depth menu is just $1. Sadly, there aren’t any drink specials, but at least your brine thirst will be cheaply quenched. 298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, 347-335-0446, maisonpremiere.com

 

The Mermaid Inn

Fish tacos at The Mermaid Inn; exterior of The Mermaid Inn UWS (Photos: Theresaphan/Instagram, The Mermaid Inn)

The Mermaid Inn
These three cozy Manhattan spots (two in the East Village and one in the Upper West Side) offer one of the best seafood happy hour menus in Manhattan from Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 7pm, and Friday to Sunday, 4 to 7pm. Be warned, savvy seafooders line up to get in on this happy hour at opening for the regularly updating rotation of bites such as $1 oysters, $3 fish tacos, $7 fried calamari, $3 shrimp corndogs and $6 fried clam and coleslaw sliders. Also on the single-digit menu are $7 cocktails, $6 glasses of wine and $5 draft beers. Check @themermaidny on Twitter for more specials. Three locations: Mermaid Inn at 96 2nd Ave., 212- 674-5870 and 568 Amsterdam Ave., 212-799-7400 and the Oyster Bar at 79 MacDougal St., 212-260-0100, themermaidnyc.com

 

Grand Central Oyster Bar

A selection of oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar (Photo: Atsushi Tomioka/Courtesy of The Grand Central Oyster Bar)

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Tucked into the lower level of Grand Central terminal since 1913, this impressive space is a lunch, afternoon snack and dinner favorite for commuters, tourists and locals. While the main room filled with marble columns and long counters has a unique ambience, tuck into the clubby, wood paneled saloon Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 to 7pm and Saturday from 1 to 5pm for $1.25 oysters, daily appetizer specials (like a $4 cup of clam chowder), $4 beers, $6 wines by the glass and expertly made $8 martinis. Grand Central Station, 89 E. 42nd St., 212-490-6650, oysterbarny.com

 

Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar

Lobsters and a beer at Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar (Photo: Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar)

Upstate Craft Beer and Oyster Bar
A relative newcomer to the New York seafood scene, this hole-in-the-wall in the East Village shows real dedication to both seafood and a local-only drink program. Its love of the ocean means fresh seafood is delivered daily (everything is kept on ice, no freezers), while its connection to local quaffs results in a rotating selection of emerging Long Island wines such as North Fork’s Onabay and craft beers from Barrier Brewery in Oceanside. During the daily happy hour from 5 to 7pm, $12 will get you a half dozen oysters and a draught craft beer from a selection that updates weekly — and you get to watch your oysters expertly shucked at the bar. 95 1st. Ave., 917-408-3395, upstatenyc.com

 

Psari

The bar at Psari (Photo: Psari)

Psari Seafood Restaurant and Bar
Food lovers know for great Greek cuisine in New York, you need to head to QueensAstoria, to be precise. And it’s not all gyros and baklava. One of the bonuses of being influenced by a country surrounded almost entirely by water is that Greek chefs know seafood. For a seafood happy hour menu you can make a meal out of, breezy Psari is your place with $5 calamari, $5 half-dozen raw clams, $8 half-dozen baked clams, $8 half-dozen oysters and $10 fish and chips on special during the Monday through Friday, 4pm to 7pm, happy hour. Drinks are also available at a discount with $3 beer and wine by the glass, $5 cocktails and carafes of sangria for $5 and $10 dollars. 32-10 36th Ave., Astoria, 718-786-6015, psari-restaurant.com

Discover more of top places to see and things to do while in New York City with our Best of New York series.