Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West

If you’re looking for a genuine Key West seafood experience, Half Shell Raw Bar is your destination. This iconic waterfront spot serves up the freshest local catch daily—right from the boat to your plate. With its laid-back atmosphere and historic charm, it’s a favorite for both locals and visitors. Every time we make it to Key West, we make it a point to spend some time at this legendary raw bar.

Key Takeaways

  • Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West is a seafood lover’s paradise, offering a taste of old Key West with an authentic experience that includes watching fishermen unload the day’s catch.
  • The menu is bursting with fresh local seafood, like the chilled Key West peel and eat shrimp and broiled garlic oysters, all within a quaint, open-air setup that’s a stone’s throw from the water.
  • Daily happy hours from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM with drink and appetizer specials make it a hotspot for local crowds looking for quality seafood at a great value.

Why Half Shell Raw Bar Reviews RAVE About This Place

Half Shell Raw Bar

Half Shell Raw Bar is more than just a seafood restaurant; it’s a slice of old Key West, where you step into a world of nostalgia, sea-salt, and the freshest catch of the day. The authenticity of this place lies in its very core, in the direct views of the fishermen unloading their daily catch, providing a unique experience that’s hard to come by. This open-air seafood restaurant, with no air conditioning, offers an unvarnished taste of Key West life, making it a favorite amongst locals and travelers alike.

But what sets Half Shell Raw Bar apart is its history. It’s not just a restaurant; it’s a tale of transformation, of a shrimp warehouse that evolved into a beloved eatery.

History of This Key West Raw Bar

In the early 70s, as the shrimp industry migrated to Stock Island, a warehouse was left empty. This vacant space soon found a new purpose and came to life as the Half Shell Raw Bar in 1972. From its humble beginnings as a shrimp warehouse, Half Shell Raw Bar quickly became a favored spot for fishing captains and locals, embedding itself into the fabric of the community.

Today, Half Shell Raw Bar is more than just a restaurant; it’s a Key West icon, a testament to its enduring popularity and the timeless appeal of its seafood offerings.

Waterfront Views and Laid-Back Atmosphere

Half Shell Raw Bar Oysters
Screw the views! I come here for the oysters!

Imagine dining under the open skies, the sun casting its golden glow on the water as boats gently bob in the historic seaport. At Half Shell Raw Bar, this isn’t just a figment of your imagination, but a daily reality. The coastal ambiance is enhanced by the sight of pelicans gliding overhead or resting on dock pilings, making for an unforgettable waterfront dining experience.

The laid-back atmosphere is complemented by the freshness of the fresh seafood offerings. Whether it’s the chilled Key West peel and eat shrimp or the broiled garlic oysters, each dish is a testament to the original Key West seafood experience.

Savor the Freshest Seafood

At Half Shell Raw Bar, the menu is a tribute to the ocean’s bounty. From oysters and shrimp to fish and steamed middleneck clams, each dish features the freshest local seafood, delivered from the sea to your plate. Don’t miss out on our delicious oyster po boy, a customer favorite.

Daily specials spotlight the catch of the day, ensuring a gastronomic delight with every visit.

Chilled Key West Peel and Eat Shrimp

One of the signature dishes that patrons rave about is the chilled Key West peel and eat shrimp. Delightfully refreshing, these shrimp are served chilled, making them perfect for peeling and eating on a hot summer day. But the real charm lies in the optional beer-steaming and seasoning with Old Bay, a process that infuses the shrimp with a flavor that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Broiled Garlic Oysters

Then, there are the broiled garlic oysters – a customer favorite that showcases the restaurant’s commitment to serving only the freshest seafood. These oysters, broiled to perfection and bursting with the flavors of garlic, are a testament to Half Shell Raw Bar’s culinary prowess.

Conch Fritters and Ceviche

The conch fritters and half shell’s conch ceviche at Half Shell Raw Bar are another highlight. The fritters, a blend of finely chopped conch meat, peppers, and onions, are served with a tangy cocktail sauce that perfectly complements the subtle flavors of the conch.

The conch ceviche is a refreshing treat that includes:

  • Fresh diced conch marinated in lime
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • A blend of spices

Served with crispy tortilla chips, this dish is the ultimate treat, offering such delights.

One of Key West’s Best Happy Hours

But the culinary delight doesn’t end with the main menu. Half Shell Raw Bar is equally famed for its happy hour menu during happy hour, which takes place every day from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. From discounted drinks to special deals on fresh Florida seafood, the happy hour at Half Shell Raw Bar is a hit with the local crowds.

Drink Specials

When it comes to drinks, Half Shell Raw Bar doesn’t disappoint. The happy hour drink specials include well liquors, house wine, and all varieties of beer, available at 50% off their regular price. Whether you’re a beer buff or a wine connoisseur, there’s something for everyone to savor.

Appetizer Discounts

And let’s not forget the appetizers. During happy hour, you can enjoy a range of fresh Florida seafood at reduced prices. For instance, oyster specials include a half-dozen available for just $5.99 and a dozen for $10.99. These appetizer discounts are just another reason why Half Shell Raw Bar’s happy hour is a local favorite.

Witness the Boats Arrive

The allure of Half Shell Raw Bar extends beyond the menu. Here, guests can enjoy:

  • Watching as boats dock in the harbor, bringing in the daily seafood catch
  • The direct observation of the freshness of your meal, from boat to plate
  • A unique experience that adds to the overall charm of dining at Half Shell Raw Bar.

Customer Reviews and Experiences

When it comes to customer reviews, Half Shell Raw Bar scores high on many fronts. From the freshness of the seafood to the friendly and knowledgeable service, many customers rate their dining experience highly. However, like any restaurant, they also have areas of improvement, like seasoning and happy hour variety.

Praise for the Staff

One aspect that consistently receives high praise is the staff service. Patrons often highlight the friendly and knowledgeable service, particularly from Toni at the bar. Her approachable demeanor and expertise amplify the overall dining experience, making each visit to Half Shell Raw Bar not just a meal, but a memorable event.

While your down here, check out Cruisin Tiki’s!  You can float around on a pontoon bar and enjoy the sunset!


Half Shell Raw Bar isn’t just a seafood restaurant; it’s an experience. From the moment you step in, you’re swept up in the charm of old Key West – the waterfront views, the freshness of the seafood, the friendliness of the staff, and the unique opportunity to witness the daily seafood catch. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, but one thing’s certain: a visit to Half Shell Raw Bar is a gastronomic adventure you won’t soon forget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time is Half Shell Raw Bar’s happy hour?

Half Shell Raw Bar’s happy hour takes place every day from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. So, make sure to stop by during those hours!

What are some of the popular dishes at Half Shell Raw Bar?

Some popular dishes at Half Shell Raw Bar include chilled Key West peel and eat shrimp, broiled garlic oysters, conch fritters, and ceviche. You should definitely give them a try if you visit!

Can I watch the seafood being brought in at Half Shell Raw Bar?

Yes, you can watch the seafood being brought in at Half Shell Raw Bar as boats enter the harbor with the daily catch. Enjoy the view!

What are the drink specials during happy hour?

During happy hour, you can enjoy 50% off well liquors, house wine, and all beer varieties. Cheers!

What kind of service can I expect at Half Shell Raw Bar?

You can expect great and friendly service at Half Shell Raw Bar, with staff members like Toni being praised for their friendliness and knowledge.

Rate this post


Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

Leave a Comment