Oyster Bah: Brunch on Ice

We’d decided to branch out to the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, Oyster Bah, for several reasons: seafood, a weekend happy hour, and a generous gift card from a former student of Becky’s. Thanks, kiddo!

Setting the Scene

It was a blustery, chilly day, with snow coming down sideways. We bundled up and hopped on the #8 to Oyster Bah. Nudged along by the wind, we entered the cozy, well-decorated restaurant. The brunch proper was swinging to a close, with families and young people filling most of the tables. The sound system was playing a smooth station that included a lot of R&B and Sade: perfect mellow tunes for brunch. The vibe it created, plus the alleged aphrodisiac effects of seafood made us wonder if they rented out the upstairs rooms for by the hour in addition to parties.


The decor was what Jodie dubbed the “cool Grandpa” style: there were the obvious mounted fish and shell-based ornaments, but more subtle pieces, like the family photos downstairs, and the clever wall paintings. The downstairs bar, used for private events, was a cozy and well-appointed den right out of the 70s.

Amenities and Accessibility

While the two doors leading into the bar are connected by a ramp, the restrooms are down a steep flight of stairs. The downstairs lounge and upstairs private dining areas also do not appear to have access for folks with difficulty getting around. Granted, we didn’t explore further back into the dining room proper, so there may be something that allows access. Any input from our readers would be greatly appreciated!

Food and Drink

We arrived about 10 minutes before the end of brunch at 2pm, due to traffic. So little time to consider our options! The brunch menu was compact, but our bartender Miguel informed us that items from the lunch menu were also available. While we were tempted by the wider range of options on the lunch menu, we decided to stay true to our brunch agenda.
We settled on the fried oyster benedict (from the brunch menu) and the poke poke (an appetizer from the lunch menu). We also both ordered bloody maries, Jodie got hers with an Anchor Steam back.

Bloody with shrimp and Anchor Steam back

The bloodies were spicy and thick, garnished with a shrimp cocktail, citrus, and a tender heart of celery. The Anchor Steam pony was creamy and smooth, a perfect counterpoint to richness of the bloody.

Magical poke poke

The poke poke was beautifully presented. It offered both salmon and tuna poke, and arrived quickly after our initial order. The salmon was subtle and understated, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The robust tuna was bold, pairing well with the slightly sweet sesame ginger dressing. The same dressing was used for both portions, but partnered better with the tuna. The salmon got a little lost in all the flavors.

Fried oysters – yum!

The fried oyster benedict arrived midway through our poke poke experience. Though we asked for the tabasco butter sauce on the side, it came out bathed in it. (The hanger had set in, so we were ok with the saucy presence.) While a little soggy from the sauce, the fried oysters were generously-sized and creamy, and the egg was poached perfectly, with a decadent yolk. The muffin was crispy, but ultimately succumbed to the saucy ravages of the tabasco butter. The benedict came with a side salad of pickled red onion and arugula, lightly dressed in a sweet oil and vinagrette. It was a bright accent to an otherwise rich dish.


Happy Hour every day! See the Pro Tips below.

The awesome, friendly, and helpful staff. We could not be more pleased with the first-class treatment we received sitting at the Oyster Bah bar!

The quality of the food. Superb.

The amazing decor in the entire restaurant, bar, and basement. It really made us feel at home, yet close to the coast 😉

Easy access by public transportation, whether bus or train. Even though it was freezing out, we had no hesitation about getting here to try it out.

So many cute surrounding area businesses. Yes, we know it is Lincoln Park, but it still has gems to offer the casual guest.

Mimosa Rating

Our brunch at Oyster Bah was a spectacular experience. In fact, it brought us back for Happy Hour the following weekend because of the great oyster and drink deals. The appeal of the food is undeniable and the atmosphere amazing. However, we do have some important notes:

The prices for brunch food and drinks, as well as the regular menus outside of Happy Hour, are pretty pricey. This was definitely a “treat-ourselves” brunch, inspired by the fact that we had a very generous gift card to spend. In terms of brunch, we doubt this will become a regular spot (we love brunch deals), but it will for sure become a Happy Hour destination for oysters and half-price drinks.

The accessibility issues appear problematic, but we would love feedback from our readers and will inquire upon our next visit.

With all of these things in mind, we give Oyster Bah’s brunch experience an 8 out of 10. We clearly enjoyed all that they had to offer, but we seek out dining for the average sweatpants-ed individual on a budget.

Pro Tips – Optimize Your Experience

  • Come for brunch, hang out for happy hour. If you’re not a fan of early brunch, or just want to avoid the typical brunch crowd, it’s well worth it to come later. Oyster Bah has Happy Hour all week, from 5-6 Monday through Thursday, and a generous 3-6pm Friday through Sunday. They offer select half-price oysters, appetizers, and drinks. The oyster selection is constantly changing, so we are excited for the chance to expand our oyster knowledge.
  • Join the rewards program to rack up points at every LEYE location. A very well-designed app, it allows you to search for restuarants near you, check gift card balances, make reservations, and earn rewards for each dollar spent. Jodie even got a $15 gift for her birthday month.
  • If you can’t get enough of kitsch, head up Halsted street to Parrot’s Bar and Grill, at Halsted and Wellington. It’s a cozy dive bar with stellar decor, great drink specials and games galore.



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