Raw Bars in Philly for Eating Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Legs and Plenty of Oysters

For those times when you just really need some freshly shucked oysters served on a bed of crushed ice.

Photo courtesy of The Wayward

We happen to live in a city with access to some of the best oysters on the East Coast, and we happen to believe that the best way to take advantage of those oysters is at a raw bar, where they’re shucked to order and served on ice, maybe alongside a classic shrimp cocktail, a few crab legs, and a nice glass of white wine. Whether you’re looking for an over-the-top seafood tower or just a half-dozen of cold bivalves, the raw bars of Philadelphia are ready to provide. Here are a few of our favorites (scroll to the bottom for a couple of spots down the shore, in case the hankering strikes while you’re at the beach.)

The WaywardCenter City
There’s a lot that we like about The Wayward — the cozy booths, the airy courtyard and the burger all come to mind. But their seafood selection, especially their oysters, are excellent, and the seafood tower is one of the best in town.

Pearl’s Oyster BarCenter City
Pearl’s is a classic. Slurping down a couple of oysters at the bar in Reading Terminal is a good backdrop to watching all the tourists who buzz through market and you can usually find a stool at the crowded bar. It may not be Grand Central Oyster Bar, but there is a gritty, buzzy vibe that feels one of a kind.

Oyster HouseCenter City
If you were to ask someone where to get raw seafood in Philly, the odds are good they’d say Oyster House. It’s been around forever serving solid, classic seafood, and they offer solid happy hour deals on oysters and clams.


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Anastasi SeafoodItalian Market
A lot of restaurants with raw bars skew fancy — dress-up, out-on-the-town places. Not so much at Anastasi, where you’ll be more than comfortable sitting at the bar, slurping dollar oysters in jeans and a t-shirt.

Devon Seafood GrillRittenhouse Square
Sometimes Devon kind of blends in as one of several fancy-fish restaurants with a nice view of Rittenhouse Square, perfect for sipping and people watching. But their seafood selection is the best of the bunch. Who can resist a mini lobster roll?

ParcRittenhouse Square
The Petit Plateau at Parc is basically guaranteed to make you feel like a million bucks. It comes with oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, crab legs and oysters. They say it feeds one to three, but we say it’s time to ball out. Order a tower per person.

The Olde BarOld City
If you’ve ever eaten crab legs you know they’re a lot of work for limited reward, which is why we dream of the crab cocktail at The Olde Bar — a generous serving of fresh lump crab meat, with none of the labor.


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Royal BoucherieOld City
Leave it to Royal Boucherie to up the ante yet again on the seafood cocktail. In addition to a shrimp version, they offer a lobster cocktail, which is just over the top enough to make it a must-order. The best place to enjoy it is on the upstairs patio.

Vernick FishCenter City
It’s kind of in the name — Vernick Fish is fully focused on exceptional seafood. Their raw selection is a good reminder of the importance of sourcing: just about anyone can serve seafood raw. But here, it’s just plain better.

Down the Shore

Dock’s Oyster House
The classic image of a raw bar is fulfilled at Dock’s, where you’ll see their selection of seafood stuck into a mountain of crushed ice. At any given time, they’ll have close to a dozen types of oysters available, so try one (or two) of each, and pick your favorites.


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The Deauville Inn
The Deauville Inn is the spot to go if you want to enjoy fresh seafood right on the water. They have a handful of different spots to sit, catering to those who want sand between their toes, as well as those who want to avoid sand at all costs. Wherever you sit, their selection of Jersey oysters and other seafood will give you the full vacation experience.

The Lobster House
The Lobster House is old-school in more ways than one: their raw bar selection includes classics like oysters Rockefeller, clams casino, and a whole lot of fresh crab dishes.

Beach Creek Oyster Bar and Grille
If you’ve never had an oyster topped with vodka, sour cream, red onion and caviar, you’re in for a treat. Beach Creek calls them Prussian Pearls and they are addictive (and dangerous.)