Legendary Long Island oysters are the stars of a growing number of happy hours where you can celebrate, slurp and even shuck the tasty bivalve, chased down by your favorite local beer or wine.
Revived oyster farming is behind this happy-hour trend, says Chuck Westfall, president of the Long Island Oyster Growers Association in Southold. “Long Island oysters have traditionally been some of the best in the world, and they are coming back and coming strong,” Westfall says.`
David Daly, a founder of Southold Bay Oysters, is shucking his first-ever crop of Southold Shindigs for guests at the Taproom at Corey Creek.
To enjoy a fresh oyster and beverage pairing, you won’t have to shell out a fortune. The deals include “buck a shuck” and half-price drink specials.
Here are five happy hours with a cool vibe and a steady supply from the wet and raw bars.
SALT & BARREL
When and where: 5-7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4-7 p.m. Fridays and 4-6 p.m. Saturdays at 61 W. Main St., Bay Shore
More info: 631-647-8818, saltandbarrel.com
The deal: $1.25-$2/oyster
Happy hour hums to a classic rock beat at this breezy Main Street spot. “You’re going to walk into an urban vibe,” says restaurant co-owner Ryan Flynn, whose family owns Flynn’s Fire Island in Ocean Beach. Oysters vary according to what’s fresh on the market that morning, but often include West Coast and East Coast varieties plus locally grown Lucky 13 Blue Point oysters from Great South Bay, and Sexton Blondes from Great South Bay Oyster Co.’s farm off Sexton Island, near Fire Island Inlet.
Host recommends: Oyster shooters with a shot of grapefruit juice, vodka and sea salt — aka a Salty Dog ($10), or an oyster in a shot of bourbon with bacon salt ($10).
THE TAP ROOM AT COREY CREEK
When and where: 4-7 p.m. Fridays at 45470 Main Rd., Southold
More info: 631-734-7537, bedellcellars.com/the-tap-room
The deal: $16/half dozen, $28/dozen
Oysters are opened and served to guests on an elevated patio overlooking the vines at Bedell Cellars of Cutchogue’s recently redecorated tasting room in Southold. The featured Southold Shindig oyster “has a nice briny taste that pairs nicely with the salinity of the sauvignon blanc,” says Lauren Smith, tasting manager.
Host recommends: Bedell Cellars sauvignon blanc on tap, $8/glass
LITTLE CREEK OYSTER FARM & MARKET
When and where: 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays at 37 Front St. down Bootleg Alley, Greenport
More info: 631-477-6992, littlecreekoysters.com
The deal: $12 for six shucked oysters and a beer, $20 a dozen oysters and a beer
Little Creek’s Shucker’s Club gets its name because you have to shuck your own oysters. They provide the knives and protective gloves, you provide the muscle.
“We always have at least four varieties of local oysters,” says co-owner Rosalie Rung, including those plucked from Peconic Bay.
Host recommends: Greenport Harbor Brewery beers on tap
When and where: 3-5 p.m. Saturdays, 4-6 p.m. Sundays at 80 W. Broadway, Long Beach
More info: 516-889-1300, allegriahotelny.com
The deal: $1 oysters
Outside the L’Onda Lounge’s big windows, you can watch the waves crash on the beach and the crowds stroll the boardwalk. Inside the lounge, season your Blue Point oysters with a traditional condiment such as mignonette sauce, made with red wine vinegar and shallots, says Michael Lang, director of operations.
Host recommends: Light and crisp wines such as Albariño (white) or French rosé, $9-$14/glass
When and where: 2-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 1074 Main Rd., Aquebogue
More info: 631-722-8800, paumanok.com
The deal: $16/half dozen, $26/dozen
Winemaker Kareem Massoud says guests can pull up a chair on the big (and recently rebuilt) deck facing the vineyard and gorge on local bivalves as they sip Massoud family wines. The oysters might be Peconic Pearls from Noank Aquaculture Cooperative in Peconic Bay, Peconic Gold oysters from Ketcham’s Seafarm in Great Peconic Bay, and Mystic oysters from Connecticut.
As condiments, he says, “We offer lemon, cocktail sauce and Tabasco sauce.”
Host recommends: Paumanok chenin blanc, $8/glass
When and where: 5-7 p.m. Fridays at 500 Shore Dr., Oakdale
More info: 631-589-0248, thesnapperinn.com
The deal: $1 oysters (clams, too)
The Snapper Inn’s Friday night oyster happy hour has been going strong for about five years, says owner Richard Remmer. Come summer, patrons can sling back Blue Points on the outdoor deck situated along the Connetquot River.
Host recommends: For happy hour, Remmer says it’s tough to beat the combination of fresh, raw oysters and clams with the $5 deal on wheaty Shock Top drafts.