Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster Bar


Tiny Spot for Quality Oysters & a Solid Craft Beer Happy Hour

Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster restaurant

About Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster Bar

 & why it made the Carpe City list

  •  Cozy Upstate is a favorite stop for happy hour as well as a casual seafood meal.
  • Upstate’s popular happy hour is a deal, six oysters and a craft beer for $12.
  • They offer a small but nice wine selection as well.
  • The oysters are the draw here, with a large selection from both coasts, but other menu items are not to be missed.
  • Upstate sources locally and serves what’s fresh. They don’t have a freezer! Other than the oysters, the menu is small but is always excellent.
  • Upstate is mostly a walk-in spot. Happy hour gets crowded, so unless you arrive early, prepare for a wait.
  • The space is snug. We prefer to sit at the bar so we can continually pepper the bartender with our latest oyster and craft beer questions.
  • You’ll see tables, a few of which fit four people. If you have a group of four, they do take reservations.
  • If it isn’t already, put Upstate as one of the tops in your East Village rotation.

Carpe City Trivia

What is the right way to eat an oyster?

Step 1: Pick up the oyster, keeping it level, careful not to lose any of that delicious, briny juice.

Step 2: Using the cocktail fork, move the oyster around, making sure it disconnects from the shell.

Step 3: Add your condiments. (Oyster purists recommend skipping the condiments and eating it naked as to best savor the flavor but for those of us who like a little lemon, mignonette or cocktail sauce, do so sparingly.)

Step 4: Slurp away! Oysters are a hand food. Put down that cocktail fork and tip the edge into your mouth and let it slide right in.

Step 5: Chew! If you just swallow the oyster, you miss all of the flavor!

Step 6: When finished, return the shell to the ice and, to be helpful, flip it over, so your server knows it’s done.

New York City was once the oyster capital of the world

We admit to being history nerds and when a book came out about the history of New York told through the evolution of these briny bivalves, we, of course, raced down to our local bookstore. The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky is now one of our New York history bookshelf favorites. In the 1700s and 1800s, oysters were everywhere in the city. From pushcarts to “boatcarts” to oyster cellars, they were ubiquitous and, almost unbelievably, huge! Oysters from this time could measure up to 10 inches, and some records say a foot long! Biologists estimate that during this time the Hudson river had over 350 square miles of oyster beds and thus contained half of the world’s oysters. As a good source of protein and easily accessed, oysters became a primary food source for the rich and the poor. Visitors from other countries would comment on how New Yorkers ate so many oysters and at all hours and even in the streets. By the early 1900s, over-harvesting and pollution led to the demise of the NY oyster, and by 1927 all of the commercial beds were closed. In1972, efforts began to clean up New York’s waters. The Billion Oyster Project is restoring New York Harbor by distributing one billion live oysters to 100 acres of reefs in hopes of helping the area reclaim is status as the world’s oyster capital by 2035. You can participate in or donate to the Billion Oyster Project here.

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell on Amazon


By: Christi Scofield

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