Flickr/Nolan Williamson
Scott Gold
Eventide Oyster Co.
Flickr//\ \/\/ /\
Flickr/Jazz Guy
Indian Pass Raw Bar
Sara Norris/Thrillist
Maison Premiere
Flickr/Lynn Friedman
Matunuk Oyster Bar
Merroir
Flickr/H. Michael Karshis
Squire Fox
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Scott Gold
Kevin Alexander
Morgan Ione Photography
Flickr/Jyri Engestrom
Thrillist
Courtesy of Thames Street Oyster House
Thrillist
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1. Boss Oyster 125 Water St, Apalachicola, FL 32320

Head to Apalachicola Bay, and keep an eye out for one boat specifically: Boss Oyster. And then follow it when it heads from the oyster beds back to the seafood shack of the same name. Grab a seat on the deck and start slurping the oysters that just arrived. Then move onto an oyster po’boy or a bowl of oyster gumbo or pile on the basically infinity number of oyster toppings they have, like bacon or artichokes or roe.

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2. Casamento's 4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

A New Orleans landmark since 1919, Casamento's is the grandaddy of all oyster bars, serving up fried oyster po' boys and equally delicious raw oysters, shucked right in front of you. The space is small and completely tiled, because the owners know oyster juice spillage is inevitable when you're marathon-slurping your meal.

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3. Eventide Oyster Co. 86 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley very much care about their oysters, which is why they offer up an extremely well curated list from Maine and “Away”, and allow you to pick accoutrement, including three types of ice (get the Tabasco), and two mignonettes (get the Mimosa one). The space is bright, light blue and airy, with plenty of wooden stools for saddling up to the raw bar.

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4. Gilhooley's Restaurant & Oyster Bar 222 9th St, Dickinson, TX 77539

When you sell as many oysters as Gilhooley’s does, you don’t have to bother with trivial things like fancy ice, or refrigerators, or what not. You just pull the oysters out of the water, bring them over to patrons, and serve them right from the bag. Or you can opt for the namesake special (which we put on our iconic American foods list), which features roast oysters brushed with garlic butter and Parmesan, and then tucked into an oak and pecan-wood BBQ pit until the crust bubbles.

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5. Grand Central Oyster Bar 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017 (Midtown East)

Grand Central's landmark Oyster Bar has been around since 1913 and, despite losing business due to the decline of long-haul train travel, its reinvention around the mid-'70s revived it into what's now an award-winning American restaurant serving super-fresh, top-quality seafood. It also has an extensive wine list.

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6. Indian Pass Raw Bar 8391 Indian Pass Rd, Port Saint Joe, FL 32456

Indian Pass Raw Bar is located halfway between Apalachicola and Port St. Joe. In other words, it is smack in the middle of nowhere. So drive slowly down these county roads so you find the spot and can stop in for a few dozen. Don’t expect anything fancy: it’s just shrimp, crab legs, gumbo, the basic meat rotation of hamburgers and corn dogs, and the giant, briny oysters that get pulled from the bay each morning. Which, really, is all you need anyway.

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7. Ironside Fish & Oyster 1654 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)

With a gorgeous interior, a fresh and delicious seafood menu, and a cocktail program that's almost as imaginative as its interior, Ironside Fish & Oyster proves to be another sterling example in a growing collection of successes from Consortium Holdings (Soda & Swine, Polite Provisions).

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8. Maison Premiere 298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This cosmopolitan city-inspired oyster bar and cocktail den is a classy Williamsburg spot where you can enjoy a stocked raw bar, and lounge outdoors on its greenery-filled patio. We suggest bringing a first date here, as the swank and intimate atmosphere & delicious menu will be sure to wow them.

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9. The Marshall Store 19225 California 1, Marshall, CA 94940

As you get up to Tomales Bay, you will be tempted to stop at one of the other great oyster bars you can hit before you get to the Marshall store on Route 1. Don’t. Marshall is the smallest, and the best: just a tiny little storefront from which you order oysters pulled from the bay in one of six styles.

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10. Matunuck Oyster Bar 629 Succotash Rd, South Kingstown, RI 02879

The bar serves its own small, light oysters alongside others from RI, so diners can taste the subtle differences between each of the mollusks. The oyster bar juts out into Potter's Pond, where the bivalves are harvested. Grab a space on the sunny deck (if you can!) for the perfect summer dining experience.

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11. Merroir 784 Locklies Creek Road, Topping, VA 23169

Going to the Rappahannock Oyster Co.'s Topping spot lets you return to the basics: you’ll be seated on a patio staring out at the Rappahannock River, where the crew grows their trio of oysters. The small-plate menu has seasonal goods, like pan-seared scallops, plus a stellar double cheeseburger, but it’s all centered around the three oyster varietals - each is cultivated in a different area of the river, so the texture, flavor, and salinity varies.

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12. Neptune Oyster 63 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113 (North End)

Bivalves are king at Neptune Oyster, a popular seafood counter in the North End. The menu is classically New England but a variety of seafood-based recipes come out of the kitchen, from cioppino and fried Ipswich clams to fish & chips and Basque-peppered Spanish octopus. Served two ways, the lobster roll is an award-winning signature, and though it's prepared the typical way with mayonnaise, the hot butter option is the way to go. Neptune draws hoards of seafood-craving hopefuls to its Salem St. storefront on weekend afternoons and evenings, so be prepared to traverse the neighborhood while you wait for your coveted seat at the marble bar.

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13. The Ordinary 544 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Situated inside an old bank, this seafood hall and oyster bar is full of creative and tasty Southern twists on classic ocean fare, offering both large and small plates. It is the sister restaurant to FIG and maintains equal focus on seasonal and local ingredients to create delicious and fresh dishes every day. Some menu items, however, are so lauded that they have become mainstays, like the oyster sliders.

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14. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack 1612 14th St NW, Washington DC, DC 20005 (Logan Circle)

Who says you can't play bocce while shooting oysters and sipping seasonal craft cocktails? Enjoy the Southern hospitality and the rustic, ancient mariner-inspired interior, while the chef shucks the best mollusks the East and West Coasts have to offer. They also have a solid happy hour with vodka martinis and a wine list with plenty of bottles that'll pair just right with your shelled snacks.

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15. Peche Seafood Grill 800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

At PSG, East Coast flavors meet Southern hospitality in the form of Cajun inspired charcoal grilled seafood delicacies, raw bar options, and oysters on the half. This Warehouse District space features a rustic, wood-lacquered dining room that's spacious and yet intimate; the perfect place to catch up with a group over a seafood tower "for the table."

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16. The Port 541 Route 28, Harwich, MA 02646 (Capethe Islands)

Harwich's upscale American spot has turned the next-door art gallery into a stand-alone raw bar with mahogany wood-beams, Japanese brownstone floors, and African Red Padouk wood inlays (for that authentic Cape Cod feel). The bar features eight draughts an

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17. Row 34 383 Congress st, Boston, MA 02210 (Fort Point Channel)

Row 34 is an industrial-chic oyster bar in Fort Point that complements its menu of fresh, local seafood with a powerhouse 24-tap craft beer lineup (and a sizeable bottle cellar). From the team behind Kenmore Square favorite Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34 serves up elegant plates like striped bass, pan-roasted cod, and Jonah crab cake, which the staff will expertly pair with a selection from the impressive beer program (the sour beers are always a good choice) or their favorite rosé.

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18. Swan Oyster Depot 1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (Russian Hill)

Swan Oyster Depot, open since 1912 in Nob Hill, is a raw fish institution. The seafood is unbelievably fresh, and the menu includes everything from clams, oysters, and Dungeness crab to sashimi platters and sea urchin. The clam chowder, a buttery and briny both made with the day's clams, is awesome, as is the twice-cracked crab. Basically, everything here rocks. The narrow space has only 18 bar seats, and it's a great option for a solo lunch since parties of one can usually bypass the long wait.

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19. Taylor Shellfish Farms 1521 Melrose Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 (Capitol Hill)

Officially opening tomorrow, this retail spot/chowder house from the accolade-heavy oyster-culturists is offering lessons in shucking and wine pairing; serving up hearty takes on traditional clam chowder and seafood stew; and slinging super-fresh (read: alive) crustaceans and shellfish including mussels, oysters, and geoduck, also what your friends call the move girls make when you cruise by in your Metro.

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20. Thames Street Oyster House 1728 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231

For a different kind of regional Baltimore seafood, head to the bright and airy Thames Street Oyster House, located on the main strip in Fell's Point. There’s a raw bar with plenty of oysters to choose from, plus other New England offerings like Block Island scallops or the lobster roll on a buttered bun, filled to the brim with tail and claw meat

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21. The Walrus and the Carpenter 4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (Ballard)

This chic oyster bar serves neither walrus nor houses carpenters (that we know of) but it does dish out mounds of delicious shellfish in a comfortable atmosphere. Additionally, this cozy, neighborhood spot -- which has been recognized by The New York Times also serves incredible desserts, with highlights being maple bread pudding and roasted Medjool dates.