Review: 89 Fish & Grill has great happy hour oyster and drink deals

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The world is your oyster — and so is your happy hour at 89 Fish & Grill.

In case you’ve missed the boat on this Arena District seafood specialist, the great deals available at its newish happy hour (4-7 p.m., M-F; and 4:30-6 p.m. on Saturdays) are an inexpensive way to get on board. I mean, you’ve got $1.50 for delicious oysters, and 5 bucks for a carefully crafted cocktail, right?

After enjoying 89’s free valet parking, step into its welcoming space, and belly up to its roomy bar, because that’s where the HH discounts are. Around you, big windows will cast light upon a lotta warehouse-y wood and brick, and just enough swanky touches to lend 89 a pleasant-but-loose steakhouse feel. There are also chalkboards identifying both local ingredient sources and the HH-priced taps that’ll go for $3 that evening (this recently included selections from Zauber, CBC, Mt. Carmel and Founders).

Classic cocktails help set the stage for 89’s style of old-school/no-nonsense pampering. For example, its Warehouse Old Fashioned (Knob Creek, bitters, Luxardo liqueur and upscale cherry, plus burnt orange peel) outclasses most in town. Ditto for its refreshing Moscow Mule (Tito’s vodka, fresh citrus, Gosling’s ginger beer). That mule also pairs well with 89’s HH food.

Nine noshes grace 89’s self-titled “Oyster Hour” HH, and over half of those include oysters. If you love the pure flavor of fresh-tasting raw oysters, 89 offers both West Coasters and East Coasters du jour (in general, Atlantics are saltier and Pacifics exhibit desirable cucumber hints) for only $1.50 apiece, served with homemade mignonette and cocktail sauces.

If you prefer your oysters cooked, 89 rocks that out, too. As in big, rich, creamy and spinach-kissed Rockefellers (4 for $7) with pleasantly blistered asiago cheese caps. For a lighter baked presentation, try the Bacon Tabasco Butter ($1.50 each) — oysters underneath a gentle parmesan-breadcrumb crust.

For a bigger crunch, check out 89’s excellent and practically grease-free Cornmeal Fried oysters ($1.50), served with a terrific pickly homemade tartar sauce. These cornmeal-cracklin’ mollusks can also arrive in kicky slider form at the righteous rate of 2 for $7.

Photo by Tim Johnson

89 Fish & Grill

89 E. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District