The Best Oyster Bars on The North Shore of Massachusetts
Seafood is the best food. Let’s face it, 71% of our planet is covered with ocean and the biodiversity of aquatic species and sheer variety of preparations that are available allow for unparalleled culinary creativity and flavor.
Sushi, sashimi, blackened, fried, baked stuffed, paella, pasta, tartare, stews, soups, chowder, bisque, gumbo, there are enough preparations to make Bubba’s head spin!
But one of the simplest pleasures in life is slurping back an ice-cold oyster on a hot summer day.
There is something so primal and serene when the salty liquor of these briny beauties hits the palate. The good news for travelers to Massachusetts is that there are oysters aplenty and, in this article, we will share the best oyster bars on the north shore of Massachusetts.
The first place you can indulge in these magnificent mollusks is just a short 5-minute walk from our Rockport MA Inn, at Feather & Wedge. Located in the heart of the adorable seaside village of Rockport, Massachusetts, Feather and Wedge provides a modern, minimalist atmosphere with a warm ambiance replete with nods to Rockport’s quarrying past.
Belly up to the granite bar and enjoy some fresh local oysters with cocktail sauce and champagne mignonette. The dinner menu at Feather & Wedge doesn’t disappoint either. The restaurant offers a wide variety of meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes that are always expertly prepared and properly seasoned.
Just a few doors down from the stunning beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center, Feather & Wedge is a perfect place to kick off your evening before catching a live show. So next time you’re on Cape Ann swing by Feather & Wedge to enjoy one of the best oyster bars on the north shore of MA.
Feather & Wedge
5 Main Street
Rockport, MA 01966
A short jaunt from Feather & Wedge, on Rockport’s scenic Bearskin Neck, you’ll find the quaint shingled shack that is home to a Rockport institution, Roy Moore’s.
At Roy Moore’s, you can enjoy a bevy of blissful bivalves, in the rough, on their back deck which overlooks Rockport Harbor. We’d recommend pairing them with some clams, and fresh shucked lobster that was pulled right out of the harbor.
It really doesn’t get any fresher. A classic, no-frills, New England seafood shack, Roy Moore’s is sure to satiate even the most severe seafood craving. That’s why it makes the cut of the best oyster bars on the north shore.
Roy Moore Lobster Co
39 Bearskin Neck
Rockport, MA 01966
Roy Moore Lobster Facebook
Located in the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester, the 1606 restaurant is named for the year that Gloucester was initially discovered. The restaurant, like the hotel itself, has a beautiful nautical vibe, and with the recent addition of a stylish 20-seat oyster bar, it had to make our list of places enjoy these salty scallywags.
The Beauport offers a variety of oysters that change on a regular basis depending on local availability.
We’d recommend getting the 1606 tower which combines oysters, local lobster tail, king crab, jumbo shrimp, and little neck clams. Pair this with a tasty cocktail and a sunset over Pavilion Beach for the perfect highfalutin start to your Cape Ann evening.
1606 Restaurant & Oyster Bar
55 Commercial Street
Glocuester, MA 01930
One of our favorite Salem haunts, is Turner’s Seafood. Located in Salem’s historic Lyceum Hall, Turner’s is a family owned and operated establishment known for offering the freshest local seafood and providing a welcoming, comfortable environment for some serious nautical noshing.
Turner’s is broken up into two sides. One side offers a traditional bar environment with a warm fireplace and high-top tables. The other side offers an oyster bar and traditional seating. We always opt for the oyster bar side where you can watch your oysters get opened and your mussel dishes cook in front of you in steam kettles. The smell is incredible!
If you’re heading to Turner’s we’d recommend the Belgian Mussels, Lobster Bisque, Lobster Roll and, of course, the oysters!
43 Church Street
Salem, MA 01970
Situated on the Essex River in the heart of the village of Essex, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful little pearl of an eatery.
The restaurant is run by owner/chef Patrick Shea who grew up a couple doors down from the restaurant and honed his culinary chops at Johnson & Wales and local restaurants like Eastern Standard in Boston and the Barrel House in Beverly, MA.
The CK Pearl Raw Bar offers a nice variety of oysters from across Massachusetts to sample as well as clams and shrimp cocktail. The bar is stylish and intimate, and the welcoming team puts out some fantastic food without taking itself too seriously.
The menu offers a great variety with everything from burgers to steak tips, to fried clams and lobster carbonara. They even have a smoker on site that they use for smoked fish dishes and smoked pork, brisket, and ribs.
If you make a visit we’d recommend the clam chowder, lobster roll and lobster carbonara.
112 Main Street
Essex, MA 01929
If you’re looking for a chef-owned restaurant that serves only the freshest locally sourced ingredients and a small thoughtful menu that changes on a regular basis Talise may be the place for you.
Nestled the in adorable seaside village of Annisquam right on the water in Lobster Cove, Talise is an absolute hidden gem on the north shore. It offers refined dining in a casual coastal atmosphere.
At Talise you’ll find incredible seafood including Swayze Select oysters from Wellfleet that can be enjoyed with a house made cocktail sauce or mignonette. You’ll also love the locally caught lobster and tuna and some incredibly fresh fish and locally sourced meats that rotate on the menu.
The beer and wine menu is thoughtfully curated and all of the desserts are made in-house as well. It’s this attention to detail, as well as the incredible atmosphere and beautiful sunsets that keep the locals and regular customers coming back for more.
33 River Road
Gloucester, MA 01930
When visiting the north shore of Massachusetts, Newburyport is a great place to spend an afternoon. The beaches of Plum Island are beautiful, and the restaurant scene is fantastic. One of our favorite stops in Newburyport is Brine.
When it comes to seafood, Brine has you covered. From tasty tuna and Hamachi crudo to oysters and grilled octopus and creatively prepared filets there is always something interesting on the Brine menu.
In addition to the delicious menu and expertly prepared food, the environment is fun and welcoming. They recently moved to a new location and can now accommodate even more patrons which we think is a win-win. We’d recommend a visit on Thursday to take advantage of the buck a shuck oysters!
17 State Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
Last, but certainly not least, is our favorite Italian seafood restaurant in Gloucester, Tonno.
The Tonno culinary team expertly weaves together homemade fresh cut pasta dishes with delicious fresh seafood that comes straight out of Boston & Gloucester harbor. We love their Bolognese, and their meatballs are quite tasty too. But let’s get back to the star of our show: the small but mighty mollusk.
The beautiful bar at Tonno is the perfect spot to suck back a couple of cherrystones & oysters or enjoy some fresh crudo or Tonno tartare. The atmosphere is fun-loving and with a name like
Tonno, you know that the tuna is going to be as fresh as it gets.
The great news is that Tonno expanded its outdoor dining during Covid to provide even more seating. If you’re on Cape Ann we would definitely recommend spending a night out at Tonno.
2 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
So that rounds out our list of the Best Oyster Bars on the north shore of Massachusetts. When assembling this list it really made us appreciate how many fantastic seafood restaurants there are on the north shore of MA! We know that there are a few others spots to enjoy a succulent slurp, but these Top 8 Best Oyster Bars all offer a well-rounded, memorable dining experience and really stand out from the crowd.
If you’re interested in checking out some other great places to eat, check out our list of the Best Rockport MA Restaurants!