Max's Oyster Bar

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Max's Oyster BarMax's Oyster Bar

Type: Bar, Eatery

964 Farmington Ave
West Hartford, Connecticut, 06107-2102
United States

(860) 236-6299 | map

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Added by pbrian

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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 5
Photo of Roguer
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%

First off, this is a relatively fancy, upscale restaurant. Make a reservation!

Now, the food: excellent, really excellent food. Very fresh seafood, with a menu updating daily for fish and oysters. Everything was quite good.

The beer selection on tap is limited, but very good and appropriate for the food. My one trip I enjoyed a Saison Dupont and a NEBCO Sea Hag on tap. They have some other bottles that are complementary, as well (e.g. Chimay).

They have a decent wine selection, as well, if that's what you'd prefer to pair with your seafood.

It's definitely on the pricey side; drinks and entrees for two ran into 3 figures; appetizers could easily and quickly add on.

If you're looking for a slightly upscale spot, this is a nice place to go to dinner, and the beer selection is appropriate. If you're only looking for a good spot for beer, go somewhere cheaper, with a larger tap list.

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Photo of DA84
3.5/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of JRFresh
5/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of brewcifix
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Edit: I wrote this review over three years ago, and decided it needed an update. The beer selection here is now fantastic, with more draft lines and bottle selections. The variety of styles is also even better now. The service is really knowledgable about the beers they carry, and they have usually tried everything on the menu.

Max's Oyster Bar is one of my favorites. The beer selection isn't big and it isn't put together for variety, but is chosen to compliment the food they have. And as an added bonus, the small, carefully chosen beer selection allows them to use the proper glassware, which is usually branded. The bottle selection is tight, with Duvel, Chimay, Samuel Smith Porter, Stone Smoked Porter and Arrogant Bastard for beers worthy of food pairing, and I may have missed some. The taps are typical, Sam Adams, Stella, and most importantly Guinness for your classic oyster pairings. The servers usually know the beers and if you ask something they don't know, they go to the chef. My server told me they do tastings with both beer and wine so they know what to recommend.

The food here is world class. They usually have about half a dozen oysters available which are always fresh and tasty. The seafood menu is always changing, and I've had some real gems. The last time I was here I had pretzel encrusted swordfish, which was incredible. They also have had some non seafood choices as well. One time I had a combo meal with gumbo and a sirloin steak. The key lime pie here is also excellent.

The atmosphere is upscale. Prices are high, but you get what you pay for. Entrees are in the $30 range.

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Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 5

Everything that's been said about the food and the service at this place is absolutely true. But that's the Max brand - visit any restaurant in the Max Restaurant group and you can be sure of great food, attentive service, and quality drinks.

However, when it comes to beer, I don't agree that any of the Max restaurants should be on the BA database. It is true that they usually have a handful of interesting micros available on draft and in bottles, but that's about it. It's good to know that you can get a good beer with your outstanding meal, but this is not a beer bar and is not a beer destination.

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Photo of packetknife
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

West Hartford Center has some really nice resturants and each of them tries to have some decent beers available. Arugala's probably has the least selection but the rarest beers regularly. Max's is a nice place, almost as nice as his Trumbell St. Cafe. The beer selection is moderate to good but nothing special really. The taps always seem fresh though and they don't skimp with the table visits and customer care. The food is flad-out outstanding, near perfect, but the pricing is unreasonable in all of West Hartford. It's the type of place a beer lover can take anybody and love their meal and beer without having to worry about the other person enjoying themselves. It's hard not to like Max's (or Grant's, Elbow Room, or Arugala's all on the same street).

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Photo of pbrian
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

There's no denying what this place really is: a hip, upscale martini-bar/restaurant in the upscale Center of the upscale town of West Hartford. That being said, it's a good place for what it is. The food is excellent(expensive though) and there's actually some good beer to be had while you watch balding, black sweater/mock t-neck wearing men try to pick up middle-aged, tight leather pant wearing JAPs.

Located on prime real estate on Farmington Avenue, there's sidewalk seating in the warmer months. As you walk into the cavernous, flatiron-like space, the bar is on the right, taking up about a third of the space, restaurant seating on the left, separated by a half wall that has booths on the left for the restauranteurs and a padded bench with high tables on the right for the bar hoppers. Small raw bar in the back right corner.

The food is excellent. It's an "Oyster Bar" so the menu is obviously seafood heavy. I recently had the Paella that was chock full of huge shrimp, prawns, scallops, clams, mussels, chicken, smoked sausage, etc. I won't go into much detail about the rest of the items as you can pull up the menu from the website above. Service was very attentive.

Liquids: there are about 8-10 taps but at least four of them are Sam Adams, Guinness, Long Trail Ale and Anchor Liberty Ale. (You can guess which one I ordered) And the bottled list had a couple Sam Smiths, Unibroue La Fin du Mode and Maudite, Chimay and a couple of other decent ones. There is of course a book of different martinis you can order along with a good selection of single malts, etc.

If you're from the Hartford area, you know what you're getting into when you go to a "Max's." (There's a cain of them, each with a different focus) but at least you know the food will be good and you can accompany it with a good beer, if not from a very extensive list.

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Max's Oyster Bar in West Hartford, CT
4.22 out of 5 based on 8 ratings.
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