Halifax oyster bars: Eat, slurp and be merry

Atlantic Canada is one of the world's great oyster-producing regions, but sadly, oyster bars are not (yet) a major part of the Halifax culinary scene. A handful of establishments are doing their best to establish that tradition here, from bars to oyster-friendly licensed restaurants. Here are some notable bars to get your fill of these briney treats.

The Press Gang

1
5218 Prince St, Halifax, NS B3J 0B1

The selection of oysters at the bar changes every day, making The Press Gang worth a frequent pilgrimage. Located in a centuries-old building opposite the Grand Parade, Press Gang prices its oysters individually so order exactly as many as you wish. Expect the best from all three Maritime provinces, including Nova Scotia's Black Point and Sober Island oysters, New Brunswick's Beausoleils and PEI's Malpeques and Lucky Limes, to appear regularly.

Waterfront Warehouse

2
1549 Lower Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 1S2

Physically, the Waterfront Warehouse is exactly what the name says: It's a big old warehouse overlooking the harbour boardwalk, just south of the Maritime Museum. During the warm months of the year, it also boasts the largest patio on the waterfront. The oyster selection here also covers all three Maritime provinces, with lesser-known varieties, such as Nova Scotia's Ruisseau and PEI's Rocky Bay keeping company with the iconic Malpeques and Beausoleils.

Harbourstone Sea Grill & Pour House

3
1919 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 3J5

Located in the Harbourfront Marriott on Upper Water St, the Harbourstone Sea Grill offers hushed soft-seat comfort rather than a raucous, partying atmosphere. The menu centres on seafood, including fresh local oysters by the half-dozen. Selection varies day by day, with at least three to choose from on any given occasion. On a given day that might include Malpeques, Nova Scotian North Novas or any number of others.

Five Fisherman Restaurant & Grill

4
1740 Argyle St, Halifax, NS B3J 2B6

As the city's flagship location for upscale seafood, you'd expect Argyle Street's legendary Five Fishermen to feature live oysters. You'd be right, too, with the tasty molluscs featuring on the menus of both the upscale restaurant and the airier, relaxed grill. If you order your half-dozen at the restaurant, they'll come with an elegant white truffle oil mignonette. At the grill, take advantage of the daily Happy Hour and get the oysters with a glass of wine and choice of condiments.

Lot Six Restaurant&Bar

5
1685 Argyle, Halifax, NS B3J 2B5

A shiny new establishment located in Argyle Street's historic Carleton Hotel building, Lot Six is dedicated to the Nova Scotia's best ingredients and flavours. That includes oysters – alongside PEI Malpeques and NB St. Simons, you'll find notable homegrown varieties, including Sober Island and Black Point. The revolving menu keeps the selection fresh every night. Order your oysters individually all night, or drop in between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. for Happy Hour pricing on dozens and half-dozens.

McKelvie's Delishes Fishes Dishes

6
1680 Lower Water, Halifax, NS B3J 1T1

You'll find McKelvie's in a century-old former firehouse, across Water Street from the Maritime Museum. The selection of oysters varies here, broadening in the busy summer season and narrowing down to a locally-grown Northern Novas in the cold months. The big draw here is Oyster Fridays, when you can enjoy all-day oysters at a Happy Hour price. The varied menu of other seafood options makes McKelvie's a good place to bring squeamish friends who can't enjoy a raw oyster.

Salty's

7
Historic Properties, Halifax, NS B3J 1S9

Salty's takes waterfront dining to the extreme, standing on a pier extending right into the harbour itself. Whether you dine indoors or out, you'll have spectacular views, and the salt sea air to make your oysters all the tastier. Salty's stocks New Brunswick Beausoleils year round, serving them downstairs with horseradish and cocktail sauce or upstairs with balsamic vinaigrette. Order them at half price during the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Happy Hour.

Gahan House Halifax

8
1869 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 1S9

This Halifax outpost of the PEI microbrewery and brew pub is located right on the water with plenty of windows to let in the view. Given those Island roots, it's not surprising that PEI Malpeques dominate the oyster menu. Oysters from around the Malpeque Bay's perimeter display very different characteristics, and this is the place to compare them. Of the four to six varieties you'll see any given night, one or two – Northern Nova, perhaps, or Cape North – also come from NS suppliers.

The Brooklyn Warehouse

9
2795 Windsor St, Halifax, NS B3K 5E3

The menu at some restaurants is set in stone. At Brooklyn Warehouse, it's written in chalk. You might not know what entrees are available when you walk into the colourful Windsor Street dining room, but you can count on finding fresh oysters on every visit. Nova Scotia's Sober Island oysters are the standard offering, with a varying second mollusc from around the region – such as New Brunswick's St. Simon – to provide a contrasting flavour.

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