Food & Drink

Chicago's 19 Best Oyster Bars

Published On 05/08/2015 Published On 05/08/2015
Anjali Pinto

The difference between the pretty okay-est Chicago oyster bars and the BEST Chicago oyster bars? One has oysters, and one has cheap oysters. These are those latter ones, 19 spots shucking deliciously wallet-friendly bivalves.
 

Shaw's Crab House

River North
Score half-priced oysters daily between 4-6pm at this Lettuce Entertain You seafood haven. Offerings usually include a variety of both East and West Coast bivalves and are best washed down with... more oysters, specifically the aquavit-based Oyster Shooter cocktail.
 

Paramount Room

West Loop
Devour as many fresh $1 mollusks as you can handle every day from 3-6pm at this Michelin Bib-Gourmand recipient.
 

Frontier

West Town
If pre-gaming a whole animal feast with $1 oysters on Mondays at Frontier is wrong, you don’t want to be right.
 

Trellis

Lincoln Park
Every Tuesday through Saturday, this casual wine bar offers a $1.50-per-oyster happy hour deal between 5-6:30pm.

Sink|Swim

Sink | Swim

Logan Square
Enjoy a seafaring nightcap courtesy of the Scofflaw team’s new nautical resto: $1 oysters every Sunday through Thursday from 10pm to midnight.
 

Calumet Fisheries

Calumet Heights
Head South for ultra-affordable oysters every day of the week at this fabled family-owned seafood institution. A half-order will run you a cool $6.60, or $12.35 for a full.
 

Pops for Champagne

River North
If you can’t decide which you prefer -- poppin’ bottles or poppin’ $1 oysters -- why not decide on BOTH at this happy hour favorite? Hit them up on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-7pm.

The Bedford

The Bedford

Wicker Park
Who can say no to exclusively priced aphrodisiacs served in a bank-vault-turned-lounge? No one can, that's who. Every Thursday, The Bedford offers $1 oysters and half-off bubbly.
 

RM Champagne Salon

West Loop
This sexy spot is prime for alfresco Champagne sipping and $1 East and West Coast oyster consumption on Tuesdays from 5-8pm.
 

Roka Akor

River North
Order $1 oysters in the bar/lounge area only on Tuesdays at this upscale Japanese steakhouse.

Chop Shop

Chop Shop

Wicker Park
On Wednesdays, Chop Shop does $1 oysters from 5-7pm. Also on Wednesdays: $5 wine flows all day long.
 

Webster Wine Bar

Logan Square
Hit this neighborhood-y bar on Sundays anytime between 3-10pm for dollar oysters and plenty of wine.
 

Devon Seafood Grill

River North
Take advantage of a double-dose of buck-a-shuck East Coast oysters during Devon’s two (!) oyster happy hours: 4-7pm and 9-10pm Monday through Friday, and 4-10pm on Sundays.

Dusek's

Dusek's

Pilsen
Pretend it’s still the weekend (at least between the hours of 5-7pm every Monday) at this neighborhood gem’s weekly $1 oyster happy hour.
 

Hubbard Inn

River North
Indulge in $1 oysters on the half, $2 king crab legs, $2 scallop crudo, and more, Tuesdays through Fridays during Hubbard Inn’s $2 raw bar happy hour, which runs from 4-7pm.

Vera

Vera

West Loop
Slurp a case of the Mondays away with Vera’s six-for-$6 Mondays-only oyster deal and a dry Fino Sherry aperitif. Because you deserve it.
 

La Sardine

Greektown
This date-night approved French bistro is just the place to take a special someone out for wine and $1 oysters. The catch? They’re only available on Fridays at the bar.
 

Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar

River North
Join this popular sushi stop for $1 oysters offered between 5-6:30pm every day of the week. Still hungry? The happy-hour-only $2.50 beef filet skewers and $4 shrimp tempura rolls are killer deals, too.

Tortoise Club

Tortoise Club

River North
Buck-a-shuck oysters and $1 shrimp abound at this State St establishment every weekday between 4:30-6:30pm. And if you’re lucky, you’ll even catch live jazz playing in the lounge.

Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a food blogger, bacon enthusiast, and devout user of the Oxford comma. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Shaw’s Crab House 21 E Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60611 (River North)

This upscale seafood restaurant with locations in River North and Schaumburg, IL is split between a sophisticated dining room and a more laid-back oyster bar. Shaw's overall speciality is American seafood, and it's got killer crab cakes, lobster rolls, and seasonal fish entrees, plus surf and turf dinners. It also serves sushi and sashimi. The oyster selection changes daily, but all the oyster-producing regions of the country are represented on the menu (Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts, etc). The interior is classic and old-school -- it's like a steakhouse but fishier.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Paramount Room 415 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

This dual-level space dishes out a number of internationally inspired dishes, and it also features a full liquor bar, craft beers, and a number of domestics as well.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Frontier 1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

It may not be the final frontier, but with ice-taps pouring 16 traditional and seasonal brews, a meat heavy menu featuring specialty sausages, steaks, and "Animal Service", flat screen TVs, and a beer garden, you won't need to explore any further. Allied: Ready yourself for Animal Service with some Smith & Forge, the hard cider that's built strong -- built from Apples and built to Refresh.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Trellis 2426 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

What was once sports bar Gaslight is now a completely revamped wine bar with some seriously next-level bar food, like share plates of Prosecco-cheese fondue with pretzel bites, or goat cheese & duck confit ravioli.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Sink | Swim 3213 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

From the good people that brought you the gin-focused Scofflaw and the dance-ready Slippery Slope, nautical-themed Sink|Swim proves its seafood game is on point with affordable yet refreshingly inspired offerings like a shrimp toast tea sandwich and monkfish liver torchon. As for the digs? Charming, with whitewashed walls, teal tufted seats, and framed ocean-themed paintings hung along the perimeter.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Calumet Fisheries 3259 E 95th St, Chicago, IL 60617 (Calumet Heights)

It's no wonder Calumet Fisheries, on the far south side of Chicago, was featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Open since the 1940s, the family-owned seafood shack is one of the only smokehouses left in Chicago that smokes fish naturally over a wood fire. It offers an endless variety of smoked fish -- from salmon, sturgeon, and white fish to trout, catfish, and shrimp. Not to mention, its fried stuff is pretty good too.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Pops for Champagne 601 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

If you can’t decide which you prefer -- poppin’ bottles or poppin’ $1 oysters -- why not decide on BOTH at this happy hour favorite? Hit them up on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-7pm. Throw in some live music and you experience some Gatsby-style decadence.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. The Bedford 1612 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

Named for the Bedford, IN limestone that continues to comprise the exterior of the historic Home Bank & Trust building, TB's an 8000sqft den of dining and drinks that includes the bank's original vault room, which's lined with wall-to-wall lockboxes and other trinkets.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. RM Champagne Salon 116 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

This secluded alleyway bar/restaurant in West Loop is a prime spot for sipping bubbly, slurping oysters, and devouring luxurious cheeses. The French-inspired menu is filled with sharable plates and classic brasserie mains like croque monsieur and steak frites. If sparkling wine isn't your thing, don't worry, the bar serves its fair share of craft beers and cocktails. RM's picture-perfect interior features chandeliers, a cozy fireplace, and white tablecloths, and the secluded outdoor patio is a prime spot during the warmer months.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Roka Akor 456 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Roka Akor is a contemporary Japanese steak, seafood, and sushi restaurant featuring Robatayaki cuisine. The principle Robata Japanese dishes -- primarily steaks and pork -- are prepared atop 1,900 degree mesquite coals on the centrally located 12ft robata grill, providing an engaging and authentic atmosphere for guests. The meticulously grilled meats are accompanied by other classic Japanese menu items like signature sushi rolls, sashimi and nigiri, crispy tempura, and two omakase menus. And the extensive beverage list is leans heavily on Japanese culture as well, featuring sake, Japanese whiskey and beer, and sochu -- the latter offered in traditional form and in house-infused flavors. An evening at Roka Akor is an all-encapsulating, sensory experience in Robata Japanese dining.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Chop Shop 2033 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (Wicker Park)

Wicker Park's hybrid butcher shop/eatery/salumeria serves up stand-out, meat-oriented American fare such as the deli's Porchetta sandwich, a housemade pork loin wrapped in pork belly with asiago, arugula, apricot marmalade, and tomato on your choice of 7" or 12" French, white, or wheat bread. CS is a spacious joint -- a whopping 6,000 square foot event space -- so it's also great for hosting parties or business meetings.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Webster Wine Bar 2601 North Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Here's the scoop: The original was in Lincoln Park, but then the owners decided to close it, re-concept their Logan Square spot Telegraph, and reopen it as the current iteration of Webster Wine Bar (which, subsequently, is no longer on Webster St.). But with a wine list 500 deep, it's an institution wherever it's located.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Devon Seafood Grill 39 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Gold Coast)

This upscale Gold Coast spot serves award-winning crab cakes, Maine lobster bisque, and a host of other delicious options from the ocean.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Dusek's 1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Pilsen)

Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Hubbard Inn 110 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

A Hemingway-inspired haunt decked with heavy wooden communal tables, eclectic oil paintings, and vintage books, HI's turning out snacks and small plates like goat cheese croquettes w/ tomato jam, pan-fried sweet breads, and more. The establishment actually offers two separate fireplace lounges on two floors, both of which are great spots to enjoy alllllll the drinks, Hemingway-style.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Vera 1023 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

This Spanish-leaning wine bar offers seasonally rotating vinos alongside shareable plates like bacon-wrapped dates, ceviche, paella, and charcuterie.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
17. La Sardine 111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607 (Greektown)

This date-night approved French bistro is just the place to take a special someone out for wine and $1 oysters. The catch? They’re only available on Fridays at the bar. Lucky for you, the bouillabaisse is a menu staple and will have you booking the next flight to Paris.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
18. Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar 230 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

A towering two-level sushi bar with graffiti-covered concrete walls and a custom-made Robata grill, Union's Sushi-Wabi-vet chef's using said flame to work up prosciutto-wrapped scallops and garlic-soy lamb, while also kicking out noodle creations.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
19. Tortoise Club 350 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654

If the Tortoise Club sounds like a speakeasy where Humphrey Bogart might have charmed a classic bombshell with one sideways glance, it's not a coincidence. This upscale American restaurant and lounge, decked out with bourbon, scotch, wine and an amazing-sounding wild pheasant pie, abounds with class.

Clickbait