The best Charleston happy hour for oysters

There are oyster people and non oyster people. We are oyster people.

Since the days we lived in Maine, where the freezing cold water produce some of the most delectable oysters around, we’ve been hooked…and picky. We look for impeccably shucked and cleaned oysters, with a fresh, briny flavor. A splash of mignonette on top suits us just fine.

When we visited Charleston, SC for the first time recently, we knew that we had to indulge in some raw bar delicacies, since this part of South Carolina is renowned for its love of shellfish. The tidal basins and marshes are the perfect breeding grounds for oysters, so we were excited to try a few of the local varieties.

Of course, oysters don’t typically come cheap, so we mostly save them for special occasions. Luckily, Charleston has really embraced the happy hour concept and it is easy to hop around the city and sample the finest local oysters at a fraction of the regular cost, if you know when to go.

After some tough research on our part, we found the best Charleston happy hour deals for oysters.

The best Charleston happy hour deals for oysters

The Ordinary

This King Street restaurant, the brainchild of James Beard award-winner Mike Lata (owner of Charleston fine dining staple FIG), is in an old bank, complete with lofty ceilings and massive windows. The Ordinary is an American brasserie highlighting the cuisine of the coastal Carolinas, and is usually jam packed with eager diners looking to try a whole roasted snapper or steamed grouper.

While they offer a wide range of innovative seafood dishes (and even boast luxury items like caviar service and shellfish towers), the raw bar is a staple. While the oysters normally start at around $2.50/each, during their oyster happy hour, the Ordinary offers them for just $1.50/each. The oyster happy hour runs Tuesday-Friday from 5-6:30pm (it’s closed on Mondays), and it’s best to arrive early, as seats fill quickly.

The oysters are paired with a mignonette, horseradish, lemon, and a small bottle of their homemade hot sauce, if you like things a little spicy!

Check out The Ordinary for one of the Charleston happy hour deals

Pearlz Oyster Bar

This “eclectic little oyster bar” (their words, not mine) has four locations in North and South Carolina, but the French Quarter site is the the most convenient for visitors to Charleston. The bright and airy space on East Bay Street is laid back and relaxed, with a dozen or so seats around the raw bar.

The Pearlz happy hour deal is one of the best, and runs from 4-7pm, Monday-Friday. And in addition to oysters, Pearlz happy hour menu includes drink specials and deals on snacks like corn fritters and southern fried oysters.

For the raw bar offerings, local lowcountry oysters are $9 for 1/2 dozen or $12 for a dozen, served with the traditional cocktail sauce and mignonette. Compared to the regular $16.95/dozen menu price, that’s quite a deal.

Pearlz happy hour is one of the best Charleston happy hours for oysters

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Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar

Just a few blocks north of Pearlz on East Bay Street is Amen Street, an inviting raw bar and seafood restaurant in a restored, historic, red-brick building originally built in 1851. Amen Street has one of the largest East Coast oyster selections in Charleston, with up to 20 varieties available each day.

Amen Street’s happy hour deal is available Monday-Friday from 4-7pm, and also features drink specials and deals of “bar bites” like crispy calamari and jumbo lump crab cakes. They feature a house oyster each day, like Pamlico from North Carolina, for $6.95 for 1/2 dozen or $9.95 for a dozen. If you stop by after 7pm or on a weekend, the local oysters will set you back $18.95/dozen.

That makes it one of the best Charleston happy hour deals!

Amen Street, home of one of the best Charleston happy hour deals on oysters!

Amen Street, home of one of the best Charleston happy hour deals on oysters!

The Darling

This restaurant has one of the prettiest raw bars we’ve seen, set along the front window, overlooking historic King Street. The menu focuses on Carolina seafood, with traditional dishes getting a modern spin.

The Darling happy hour is offered every day, so you are in luck even on the weekends, unlike other Charleston happy hours. While they feature 4-6 types of oysters everyday, the local oyster (usually James River from Chesapeake, VA) is where you’ll find the deal.

The $1/ea deal for the local oyster is $.50 off the regular price, making a dozen $6 less expensive during happy hour. You could pocket the savings, or spend it on their shrimp cocktail, dusted in Old Bay seasoning. Why don’t more restaurants do this? Shrimp + Old Bay = amazing.

Happy hour runs from 4-7pm and also features $1 off draft cocktails and beers. And yes, you read that right: there are cocktails on draft!

The Darling, home of one of the best Charleston happy hour deals on oysters!

Oyster House on Market

Oyster House was a welcome replacement to the defunct A.W. Shucks, which operated for more than 37 years on perpetually busy Market Street. The raw bar portion of the restaurant, called O-Bar, and can be entered through its own entrance on State Street.

The regular menu has a dedicated section for oysters, from oysters Rockefeller to oyster sliders with sriracha aioli. But Monday-Friday, from 4-7pm, the O-Bar happy hour has a deal on a handful of menu items and drinks, including oyster shooters, fried oyster tacos, and their ‘praline puppies.’

From the raw bar, Gulf oysters are $10/dozen, served with cocktail sauce and mignonette. Paired with a $3 oyster shooter and $9 peel and eat shrimp, you’ll be in raw bar heaven!

O-Bar, home of one of the best Charleston happy hour deals on oysters!

The next time you’re scouring a menu, hungry for an oyster but shell shocked (haha) by the prices, be content knowing that the next Charleston happy hour is just a few hours away.

The Best Oyster Happy Hours in Charleston, SC-min

  • February 19, 2017

    You know, I don’t know if i’m an Oysters person or not because I haven’t had the opportunity to try them. I have been told that one has to be careful when selecting them or else … tummy troubles. The places you’ve mentioned looks really nice and i’m sure they serve only the best. I do want to try oysters some day so fingers crossed it’s at one of the lovely places you’ve mentioned.

    • February 23, 2017

      Just go to a good oyster bar, and you won’t have a problem. I’ve eaten thousands of oysters, and never had a single issue!

  • February 20, 2017

    It’s not even 8:30 am and you have me craving oysters now! Great post– I would love to go check this out for myself when I’m in the area. I love a happy hour!
    Nathan recently posted…The Best Restaurants in Seminyak, BaliMy Profile

  • February 20, 2017

    You know, I’ve never tried Oysters and I’m not sure if I am an oyster person, but you’ve encouraged me to try! Who would have thought that one place would have so many places to try! Thanks for sharing.
    Samantha Sparrow recently posted…Brussels in one day – a guide to getting the most out of the cityMy Profile

    • February 23, 2017

      you’ll never know if you don’t try them!

  • February 20, 2017

    I’ve only had oysters once in my life so I’m def keen to have some again. Thanks for recommending a good spot for them
    Claire recently posted…Checking Out The Old Melbourne GaolMy Profile

  • February 20, 2017

    If I was a lover of oysters I would be going delirious with the options you have selected. Unfortunately, I am not. I had it once and while it did not taste bad I just wasn’t into it. That is so strange because I really love seafood. Great list anyway.
    Travelwith2ofus recently posted…Touring St Maarten/St Martin, Dutch and French in one dayMy Profile

    • February 23, 2017

      luckily, Charleston has a ton of other seafood options!

  • February 22, 2017

    Happy hour for oysters! We did a lot of this in Canada and we loved it. This one seems to be a good deal too. I love oysters.

  • February 22, 2017

    I am one of those oyster people and like you, find them delicious. The trick as you noted is how to find them affordably. Love your suggestions of places to “happy hour oyster hop” in Charleston. Delicious pictures, you’ve got me craving oysters now 🙂
    Rosemary recently posted…How To Immerse In Thai Culture: A Lively Cooking Class in Chiang MaiMy Profile

  • February 23, 2017

    I am an oyster person too! 😉 First off, your photos are beautiful. I am drooling over here. Charleston is a great foodie city that I’ve been meaning to visit. Bookmarking – thanks for sharing.
    Jetsetter Jenn recently posted…Where to Find the Best Cenotes in MexicoMy Profile

    • February 23, 2017

      we were shocked by the sheer number of restaurants in Charleston. Hard to have a bad meal, that’s for sure!