Las Vegas Oyster Bar 101

August 22, 2019
Enjoying oysters at the Oyster Bar at Hard Rock Las Vegas.

Oysters are exotic, bizarre, sexy and provocative, and as some would say, not unlike the city of Las Vegas. So, it’s only fitting that we talk about oysters. Plus, it’s almost oyster season and oyster bars have become a mainstay at resorts and casinos across Las Vegas, yet, we have so many questions! How do you know the oyster you’re eating is fresh? Is there an oyster season? How should you eat oysters? Where should you go for the best oyster? If you’re curious about oyster bars in Las Vegas, read more. We’re answering all the questions about one of the ocean’s most flavorful offerings.

Is there an oyster season?

Yes. Since the end of April, native oysters have been left on the sea beds, but now they are ready to harvest and will remain in season as long as there’s an “R” in the month. So, get ready because September marks the beginning of native oyster season. You’ll want to note that the “R” rule really only applies to raw oysters. You can enjoy baked, broiled or fried oysters year-round.

How can you tell if an oyster is fresh?

A fresh oyster should smell of the seashore or ocean breeze, be firm in texture, brimming with the oyster’s liquor (a fancy way of saying juice) and feel ice cold. Beware of oysters that look, smell, or feel dead/fishy/bone dry.

How should you eat oysters?

Do not pour out the oyster’s liquor. This is the first and most important rule of thumb when eating oysters. When a fresh oyster is masterfully shucked, a small pool of clear liquid will remain with the oyster in the bottom half shell. It is actually filtered sea water in which the oyster lives, and it holds a robust amount of flavor. If you don’t see any liquid it may be a sign that you aren’t getting super fresh oysters or that the oyster shucker isn’t trained at retaining the liquor.

What kind of oysters should you order on the menu?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Many first timers choose to start small with an oyster that is two inches in size. It’s less intimidating and easier to eat. While at first oysters may seem confusing, there a really only five types of oysters in the world: Atlantic, Pacific, Kumamoto, Olympias and Belons. As you may have guessed, oysters are traditionally named based on their location or bay. East Coast varieties are saltier and milder while West Cost tend to be creamer and sweeter. Atlantic and Pacific oysters are the most common, while Belons are the hardest oysters to get.

How do I eat oysters?

Again, don’t panic. Start by smelling the oyster to get a feel for the freshness then use a tiny fork to release the oyster, pick up the shell and slurp. You’ll want to chew the meat to release its sweetness – don’t just swallow it. If you’re an oyster newbie, we recommend trying each kind of oyster sans condiments. You’ll get a better taste for the oyster’s unique flavor. If you must, drizzle a bit of lemon juice on it.

Where can I eat oysters?

Obviously, we’re a little bias here but the Oyster Bar at the Hard Rock Las Vegas is one of the top-rated oyster bars in Las Vegas. It’s designed for oyster fans with a wide-ranging menu and a bar area with plenty of seating. The raw bar has a selection of East and West Coast oysters that change daily so you can try a good variety. Oyster Bar at Hard Rock also offers specialties like fried oysters and pickles, shrimp and grits and calamari “fries”. Plus, Backstage Pass members can get $1 oysters every Tuesday and Thursday with the purchase of a beverage.

The Oyster Bar at the Hard Rock Las Vegas has you covered. Stop in to enjoy some of the freshest oysters on the half shell, rich pan roasts, gumbo and more. Oyster Bar is open Sunday-Thursday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.