I'm not going to lie: I was pretty sad when Half Shell Oyster House on Main Street closed. Located right across the street from my newsroom, it was super convenient. And being next to the movie theater, it made a great spot to start off a date night. I recently made the trek out to University Parkway to visit the restaurant's reincarnation – Half Shell Seafood House. And (yay!) they still have all my favorites – including their delicious daily happy hour.
The drink specials: $2 off mixed drinks, specialty drinks, martinis, wines by the glass and draft beer, as well as $2 domestic bottles and $3 premium bottles.
Now, I enjoy and appreciate a glass of fine wine, but I have to admit, I'm a sucker for moscato. It's like juice, but better. And Half Shell has a smooth and sweet moscato, St. Supery Moscato (California), on their menu that I will happily guzzle for $4.95 (a glass is normally $6.95). Even more sinful is Half Shell's wide array of specialty drinks and martinis. My favorites are the wild berry infusion martini — the vodka is infused in-house — and the key lime martini tastes like dessert in a cup! And if you feel like REALLY embracing the fact that you live in paradise, try the "Walk Me Down the Beach" – Ketel One Citroen, Patron Silver Tequila, Bacardi Silver Rum, Blue Curacao, fresh homemade sweet and sour mix and grenadine. Doesn't get any more tropical than that.
The food specials: Half Shell also offers a menu of $5 plates. These include the crab cake sliders, voodoo chicken or shrimp, fried green tomatoes and crab cakes and tempura battered asparagus.
Your server will probably recommend the fried green tomatoes and crab cakes, and for good reason. These are definitely my favorite plate on the happy hour menu. The combination of two of my favorite dishes is just awesome, and it's made bright and lively by homemade lemon aioli.
The bottom line: Lasting from 3 to 6 p.m., and being located on University Parkway, this happy hour can be a little challenging to get to after work if you're based in downtown Sarasota. My recommendation: check out Half Shell Seafood House for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Grab some crab cakes and a martini, or if you choose to wander off the happy hour menu, the charbroiled oysters are my absolute favorite. It's definitely worth the trek up north.
Half Shell Seafood House is located at 5231 University Parkway, Suite 109 / 952-9400