Happy hour may have been invented to get butts in seats and sell more booze, but the concept was perfected when some enterprising fishmonger had the idea to combine drink specials with dollar oysters, turning a premium food into something accessible to the cost-conscious masses. Here are some of our favorite places to slurp a cool half-dozen on the half shell in Philly.
Oyster House, Center City
The city’s destination for oysters for more than 40 years is one of the best spots to indulge on the half shell, with buck-a-shuck at the bar every weekday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., along with $3 shooters, $3 drafts and $5 punch.
Pinefish, Washington Square West
Rare is the buck-a-shuck that extends to all seven days of the week — but Pinefish does it, serving dollar oysters during happy hour, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every day along with drafts, martinis, and French wines for just $5 and small plates for $4-$5 each.
Maison 208, Midtown Village
Sylva Senat’s chic New American concept doesn’t typically offer buck-a-shuck. But all through July, their oysters are just $1 each during Social Hour at the open-roof upstairs bar from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. daily.
Anastasi Seafood, Italian Market
The seafood market and restaurant at the corner of 9th Street and Washington Avenue offers one of the best seafood-centric happy hours in the city: Tuesday through Friday, you can get buck-a-shuck raw oysters, dollar oysters and clams, $5 draft beers, $4 house wine, $4 crab cake sliders, and $6 chips and guac — and pick up some crabs to cook up for dinner while you’re at it.
Fond, East Passyunk
Okay, so Fond doesn’t officially do buck-a-shuck — but what they offer is almost better: six freshly shucked oysters plus a glass of rosé for just $10 — which is definitely in the dollar-per-oyster range (plus wine!). Get it at their bar, outdoor tables, and high-tops every Tuesday evening.
Olde Bar, Old City
Jose Garces’ seafood-centric spot serves up buck-a-shuck oysters – along with deals on beer, wine, and Fish House Punch and snacks like Welsh rarebit and deviled eggs — at their happy hour, which runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
Devon Seafood Grill, Rittenhouse
The chain seafood house has a pretty great deal on oysters during happy hour. In addition to dollar oysters, get lobster claws for $3.50 and $7 appetizers during happy hour, which goes from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (drink specials start at 5 p.m.).
Stateside, East Passyunk
Can’t make it to the shore to slurp your shellfish? Sit at Stateside’s open-air bar and order up a round of dollar oysters, every weekday from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. for happy hour — which also includes half off draft beers and $5 Old Fashioneds, house red and house white.