Joburg's Shucked Oyster Bar is the sort of place 'Don Draper would hang out'

Shucked is a sophisticated spot to enjoy a mellow night out with a classic cocktail in hand, writes Catherine Black

17 October 2019 - 00:00 By CATHERINE BLACK
Enjoy your oysters grilled or raw, and with a choice 14 toppings at Shucked - An Oyster Bar.
Enjoy your oysters grilled or raw, and with a choice 14 toppings at Shucked - An Oyster Bar.
Image: Supplied

From the team behind The Royale in Craighall Park, Joburg, comes Shucked - An Oyster Bar.

Compared to The Royale, Shucked is a little smaller, a little quieter, and a little bit more understated – though it keeps that same signature playful interior style.

Pink walls, plush pink fabric bench seating, hanging plants and crisp pressed ceilings give way to an elegant dark wood bar area on one side serving a solid wine list (including a good range of MCCs and champagnes) and all the old cocktail classics.

“We did a lot of research into New York bars from the 1930s through to the 1950s – the types of places where Don Draper [the lead character in the hit series Mad Men] would hang out,” says co-owner Marcel Cronje.

In fact, look closely and you’ll see Don and his ex-wife, Betty's, faces on the back wall behind the wooden bar shelves.

As its name suggests, Shucked is all about oysters, all of which are sourced directly from farms in Saldanha Bay.

Order them grilled or raw, and with their 14 toppings, you can get seriously creative with how you enjoy them. Choose from options like soy sauce, orange and coriander; sesame seeds, sesame oil, spring onion and lime; raspberry granita and mint; or classic options like Maldon salt and lemon or a mignonette dressing of shallots and white wine vinegar.

Shucked's menu isn't limited to oysters.
Shucked's menu isn't limited to oysters.
Image: Supplied

If oysters aren’t your thing, there are lots of other menu choices, such as ribeye on the bone with marrow bone compound butter, French onion soup, fried chicken and pomme puree, or good old battered fish and chips – but with kingklip rather than hake.

“It’s all of our favourite food done really well, allowing us to o­ffer fine dining that’s accessible,” says Marcel.

Shucked is open four days a week from Wednesdays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner. On Sundays, they give their Joburg answer to the New York brunch obsession: from 10.30am to 2pm, eat and drink all you can from a set menu priced at R350 a head.

O­ffering a slightly more upmarket, intimate take on The Royale, Shucked is bound to draw a sophisticated crowd who are looking for something slightly more mellow.

“We opened this place for us,” says Marcel. “We still want to go out at night, we still want to have a good time, but things are not as hectic as when we were younger.”

Visit Shucked Oyster Bar at 357 Jan Smuts Ave, Craighall. See

Image: Supplied

This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit