The John Dory Oyster Bar
Where we've featured it
Of the various hanging out establishments in the Ace Hotel on 29th, the John Dory is our favorite. There’s great food, and it’s generally less of a madhouse compared to The Breslin and the lobby bar.
The Deal: $10 Cocktails; $2 Oysters, $7 Prosecco; $5 Oyster Shooters
When: Weekdays, 5-7pm; Weekends, 12-7
There’s something nice about the tables outside at John Dory. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re on a busy stretch of Broadway, and you can watch confused tourists try to find the Empire State Building while you drink happy-hour wine. Another plus is the discount oysters. They specialize in seafood here, and you can trust that your shellfish will be top-notch. This place is also in the bottom of the Ace Hotel, so you can pass out on a couch in the lobby if you drink too much. Although probably don’t do that.
Thanks to its shellfish and cocktails-heavy menu, John Dory probably isn’t your first thought for brunch, but we’d urge you to reconsider – it’s definitely a better option than the packed-but-not-that-great Breslin on the other side of The Ace Hotel. Get the Carte de Musica (a super thin cracker topped with butter, chili, and bottarga), some oysters, and a lobster roll or lobster scramble.
This is more of a restaurant than a bar, and you can, in fact, have a full meal here. We wouldn’t really suggest it though. Not that the food isn’t good - it’s just better to share some small plates and drink your way through the cocktail list. John Dory gets decently busy, but it stays tame enough for your parents, and it’s also pretty good-looking. When the drinking session is over, you’ll also be in a convenient enough position to make some moves downtown.
This places does more than just oysters, but is pretty much all seafood. Crudo, clam chowder, chorizo-stuffed squid - those are the sort of things you eat at John Dory. We like it best as an early evening spot where you can eat a bunch of things that used to live in the ocean while you catch up with a friend. There are great cocktails, and a good wine selection, however, so feel free to hang out all night.
When: Weekdays, 5-7pm
The Deal: $10 Select Cocktails; $2 Oysters and Clams, $6 Select Beer, $7 Riesling; $5 Oyster Shooters
There aren’t many pleasurable things in the Penn Station/Herald Square nexus from hell, so The John Dory Oyster Bar is a glorious escape from the reality of a couple blocks north. Whether you’re fleeing that area or work in Nomad/Flatiron, The John Dory is our favorite place to hang out in this part of town. They may not have the cheapest oyster deal, at $2 a pop, but they also offer more than just Blue Points.