In the City - Grand Banks Oyster Bar
Last Friday evening, I met a couple of friends for oysters and beers at Grand Banks, a new oyster bar aboard a boat docked at Pier 25 on the Hudson. The F/W Sherman Zwicker, the 142-foot sailboat that houses Grand Banks, is a piece of maritime history—it’s the last of a fleet of schooners that once fished the Grand Banks of the North Atlantic and is currently the largest wooden sailing vessel in New York City. Pair that with sweeping yellow and white striped awnings, waiters in nautical stripes, and direction from Mark Firth, the restaurateur behind Brooklyn favorites like Marlow & Sons and Diner, and you’ve got New Yorkers literally lining up for sixteen-dollar cocktails and fried squash blossoms.
I am 100% aware that Grand Banks is unequivocally gimmicky. The formula is pretty obvious: take a beautiful sailboat, dock it in Tribeca, give it a vintagey, instagram-worthy build-out, hire an attractive wait staff, dress them like characters from a Wes Anderson movie and have them serve dishes from a seasonal menu comprised of local ingredients et voila! A glass of rosé for fourteen bucks? I’ll take twelve!
In spite of all of this, I was able to ignore the little voice in my head whispering you’re falling for it! because it was a beautiful afternoon, I was drinking beers and knocking back [four dollar] oysters with two of my best friends. And what’s better than that?! So, with the tables around me filling up with bankers carrying Goldman Sachs gym bags and the line to board the boat growing longer by the minute, I looked around and thought ah what the hell, I’m having a great time.
Am I in a rush to return to Grand Banks? Not really. Is it going to be my go-to spot for after work drinks? Definitely not (It’s priced more for the finance folks who work around the corner). But am I glad I went? Absolutely. It’s something new and different. The boat is gorgeous and the space is well designed. Add good friends, nice weather, and booze and you’ve got the recipe for a lovely afternoon.
Grand Banks - Pier 25 - West Street at North Moore Street
Open (weather permitting) weekdays: 4pm - 11pm, weekends: noon - 11pm
Reservations not accepted. Tip: to avoid lines, arrive before 6pm!