Locale Profiles: Midtown Oyster Bar

midtownWanted in Newport: a place to suck down oyster liquor, socialize, imbibe and look out over Thames Street, or onto the Bay, in Newport pop-your-collar fashion, of course.

Here we find Midtown Oyster Bar at 345 Thames. Its large windows and heavy wooden doors belie a spacious three-floor restaurant. Full of natural light with rough-hewn woods, reclaimed metalwork and ships’ ropes, this place just feels rightly nautical without being overly decorated. If you like oysters and/or the ocean, that is. If you don’t, get the hell out of Rhode Island.

An undisclosed trio of oyster-lovers snuck into Midtown Oyster Bar recently to scope out the joint. We were pleasantly surprised with the seating options: a lower bar area opening next to the raw bar, where diners can watch those shuckers shuck, shuck, shuck, baby. Upstairs the second floor feels like the interior of a large old ship with high windows, vaulted ceilings and an aged American flag floating above. This floor also boasts two deck patios and another bar. A third floor opens from second floor dining space at the peak ceiling. Note that certain guests may fight the urge stand atop that floor and fling arms wide, Evita-style, to address diners below. Okay, well maybe that was just this author. Ahem. The third floor also opens to another bar and another deck outdoors.

Basically, this place is a treasure trove of alcoves and bars. Around every corner hides another nook, table or breezy dining space. But enough about architecture and bars already (actually, there’s never enough on bars …).

Let’s get to the point. Oysters here are served several ways – dusted with cornmeal and fried, swimming in a creamy stew, but the best: raw half-shell perching on a metal ice-filled tray. The menu boasts several oysters, each with a helpful description of the oyster’s size and flavor profiles. And for the shellfish averse, the restaurant serves up myriad options from eggs Benedict at brunch to large burgers and steaks. Try the smoked bluefish appetizer any time of day. If you’re at brunch, get the coffeecake, warm, appropriately moist (yes, moist moist moist!), and swaddled up on your table in a cloth.

Drinks tend to come in large pint glasses with ice and a straw. Making a girl wish it was a warm evening and she was on the back deck watching a lazy sunset while grimacing at the plethora of pale-hued plaids and critter capris crowding those Newport walks.


Open Everyday

Lunch: Noon to 4pm

Dinner: 5 – 10pm Sun – Thurs, 5 – 11pm Fri – Sat, 11:00 – 1am Bar


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