Royster with the Oyster

Oct 27, 2008


For anyone who has never been to Shaw’s Crab House’s annual Royster with the Oyster celebration, you are hereby served notice that you must put it on next year’s calendar. Where else can you enjoy not just an evening but a full week’s worth of oyster-themed mayhem, including nightly slurping contests (and those Chicago boys are some hefty, hardcore slurpers), half-price oysters on the halfshell, and, of course, live Chicago blues.

The oyster bar at Shaw’s has a feel like no other. It may be because the bar itself is an island in the middle of the room, with people milling all around it, coming and going from the dining room next door and the street outside (not to mention the Oyster Hall of Fame Room), meaning a constant pulse of energy and intrigue flows through the bar. The fact that it’s always packed helps, too. The world-class blues and 1940s art deco atmosphere convinces you that you are cooler than you probably are, a notion maintained by flowing taps of local Goose Island beer and endless plates of Island Creek oysters (a mainstay at Shaw’s and the favorite of most servers I spoke with).


The festivities culminate in the Friday night tent party, when everyone spills out of Shaw’s onto Hubbard Street for a headliner band and the World Slurping Championship. We’re talking shoulder-to-shoulder, standing-room-only crowds on a scale not seen elsewhere in the oyster universe. It’s fun; it’s downtown Chicago; and did I mention that the oysters are half-price?

Got your 2009 ticket yet?

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