By Adam Beasley
The Vibe: Take whatever preconceptions you might have about an oyster shack and throw them out the window. There are no lobster bibs and paper tablecloths here. On the contrary, this is a highbrow fish house that happens to have the most comprehensive selection of oysters you’ll find anywhere. The half-circle bar greets you as you walk in the front door, with the oyster shucker manning the spot between the beer taps and the liquor. Everything is bright and vibrant. Good pick-me-up after a long day.
Prices/Deals: For a New York grill-style joint, the drink prices are excellent. Well drinks are five bucks. Select tap beers are $3. But the true value is in the food, and most specifically, the oysters. Manager Michael Hidalgo oversees an operation that several times a week flies in the shellfish fresh from all over the country. At any time, there are at least six varieties from the East and West Coasts, and every region has a distinct taste. They are half-priced from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., running between a dollar and a buck-fifty apiece.
The Scene: The River Oyster Bar draws an elite crowd. Businessmen may leave their ties in the car, but they’re still wearing Brooks Brothers suits as they hit the after-work Brickell Village spot. Just down the block from rowdy Tobacco Road, the only thing the two spots share is a zip code. “We get a lot of lawyers and doctors,” Hidalgo says with a smile, “but we don’t see the real estate types as much anymore.”
The River Oyster Bar, 650 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-530-1915