The streets of New York may not be paved with gold, but there was a time when they were paved with something better: oysters. Before New York Harbor was New York Harbor, it was to oysters what the Fertile Crescent was to humans. People have written entire books on the archeological significance of the giant piles of shells left around New York, and when they discovered a midden (which is the academic word for “pile of trash”) on the Statue of Liberty in 1980, it took them until 1998 to excavate the pile.
I don’t have the patience to dig through oyster shells for 18 years, but I did have the patience to dig through all the $1 oyster happy hours in Brooklyn. Voila:
686 Washington Ave., Prospect Heights
Come for the oysters, stay for the braided pretzels and the craft cocktails (hot in the winter! Cold in the summer!). Oysters are a dollar from 5pm to 8pm; take a dollar discount on your cocktail or wine from 2pm to 8pm.
24 Reed St., Red Hook
Brooklyn Crab has happy Wednesday, because why be happy for an hour when you could be happy for a day? Come when it’s nice out so you can sit on the deck with a view of Lady Liberty.
298 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
Maison Premiere has your standard Monday to Friday, 4pm to 7pm $1 oysters, but they also have weekend happy hours from 11am to 1pm. Theirs is by far the best selection of any oyster happy hour in New York. Plus, they have Absinthe-cured lox on their brunch menu.
336 State St., Boerum Hill
Dollar oysters are Monday through Friday, 5pm to 7pm, and the quality is excellent. The cocktails have fussy but fun ingredients like zwack and sarsaparilla.
221 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick
I’d be remiss not to include something located off the JMZ. Check Mominette’s website for their $1 oyster times and days. They have $1 happy days regularly, with a wide variety of (mostly East Coast) options. This is another good one for the summer — they have a beautiful backyard.
345 Court St., Carroll Gardens
This is a cheat because their oysters are $1.50. But their cocktails, which are delicious and Instagrammable, are 2 for 1 during happy hour (4pm – 7pm, every day), so you’re still getting a good deal.
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19 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick
There’s nautical vibes galore at this brunch and seafood happy spot which opened last year. In addition to a daily $1 oyster happy hour from 4 – 7pm there are also $5 drink specials on weekdays.
288 Third Ave., Gowanus
Happy hour is weekdays from 5pm to 8pm, and I’ve heard rumors about $8 half lobster tails as well. They’re great for seafood, but not so much for alcohol. Try the donuts as well. Some caveats: They’re closed on Tuesdays, it’s very small (or in Brooklyn real estate parlance, “cozy”), and they’re cash only.
305 Smith St., Carroll Gardens
This Carroll Gardens seafood restaurant has happy hour all day on Monday and from 5pm to 8pm on other days. Their $1 oysters are Bluepoints, so there might not be a whole lot of variety, but at least it’s local. They also do a good, cheap shrimp cocktail during happy hour.
688 Franklin Ave., Crown Heights
A relatively short happy hour (5pm – 6:30pm). For optimal ambience, sit at the tables in the back. There’s mood lighting and exposed brick everywhere, but something about those high wooden tables feels extra fancy. There aren’t a lot of oyster options, but the quality is good.
345 Grand St., Williamsburg
Another $1.50 oyster deal, but St. Mazie has a wedding party-worthy outdoor patio and live music most nights. The music usually happens after happy hour (6-8 on weeknights, 5-7 on weekends). I see this as a positive because there are special treats for early birds and night owls.
1433 Bedford Ave., Crown Heights
A neighborhood favorite, Catfish serves up Cajun fare, 16 rotating drafts, and 6 for $6 or 12 for $12 oysters every day from 4:30 to 7:30pm. They’ve also got an impressive wall-to-wall hot sauce collection.
722 Nostrand Ave., Crown Heights
This Tiki cocktail bar offers up more than just discount seafood: they go hard with their chosen theme and have a great ambiance, not to mention so many fun straws. Their dollar oyster happy hour is 5 to 8pm Monday through Friday.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
284 Van Brunt St., Red Hook
Between the indoor picnic style dining room seating, the lobster tanks and the location in Brooklyn’s arguably most naval neighborhood, it’s harder to get better seafaring vibes than those at Red Hook Lobster Pound’s main location. Oysters are a buck from 3 to 6pm Tuesdays through Fridays.
145 Borinquen Place, Williamsburg
A participant in the Billion Dollar Oyster Project, an initiative to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor, Lighthouse is a casual sit down spot with an airy ambiance and an upscale menu. Oyster happy hour is 6 to 7pm on both every day except Mondays, when Lighthouse is closed.
135 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights
Strategy: fill up on the dollar oysters (offered 4 to 7pm, Monday through Friday) and split a side-dish, as Chez Moi ain’t cheap. Pair your oysters and side with a cocktail and you’ll have had the full experience without blowing too much cash.
Pinkerton Wine Bar
263 North 6th St., Williamsburg
All night erry night, Pinkerton’s got $1 oysters on deck. They’ve got four types: Malpeque and Prince Edward Island from the East Coast and Gigacups and Washington from out West.
25 Bogart St., Bushwick
At Tutu’s, the dollar oyster happy hour is seven days a week from 4 to 7pm. Check out your their Sriracha chicken bites and smoked pork belly sliders while you’re there.