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Reservations at Island Creek Oyster Bar: can they be all booked up for 7-9pm times????

My partner and I are visiting Boston from Austin Sept 15-18. We love oysters & I wanted to make a reservation at ICOB for around 7:30 on the 16th or 17th. It looks like there are only early reservations or late ones. In Austin, there are several restaurants that do not take reservations during peak times (go figure). I was wondering if ICOB also follows this policy. What are our chances of getting a table without a reservation at prime time?

Thanks for any insight!

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Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

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  1. Call the restaurant directly and you should be able to get something. Many restaurants do not list all of their prime time availability via Open Table (which I assume is where you are looking). I have been able to call and get reservations at ICOB when there were none via Open Table.

    Getting a table without a reservation will likely entail a lengthy wait and you will end up in a slot you could have reserved. You should be able to snag bar seats with a shorter wait, but you won't walk right in. Also, keep in mind they are open for brunch on Sunday.

    1. I just checked and Open Table does list tables at 7-9 for other dates. There is a Red Sox home game each of those days and if the tables are booked up that far in advance there is a good chance there is some other kind of event going on. Early fall is a busy time here with a lot of events for the new students and so forth. So I would not count on being able to walk in and get a table as it will probably be packed.

      1. Many restaurants here in Boston will also block peak hours. Generally, it pays to be willing to dine earlier (you have more selection of specials, too, and less likelihood of being made to wait by patrons who overstay their turn at a table).

        I wouldn't bother trying to wing it, unless you're into that kind of masochistic frustration....

        1 Reply
        1. re: Karl S

          Would love to go earlier, but we are in workshops everyday until 5:30!
          Thanks for the suggestion to call directly. Will give that a try.

        2. The only time I tried to walk in without a reservation for dinner at ICOB, I was told it was a 3-hour wait. I'd definitely try to call and make a reservation if you can, or be prepared to wait that long (I think they will take your cell phone number if you want to go get a drink somewhere else while you wait).

          1 Reply
          1. re: stomachofsteel

            We went the night of the WFNX Clambake as walk-ins at 7:30 p.m. and had a table in 30 minutes.

          2. I've also found that even at peak times, it's generally not too hard to get seating for two at the bar without too long a wait: full menu there, attentive service from some truly excellent bartenders.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Yes, I have found this to be true as well. The bar has always been able to accommodate me and my DC as walk-ins, even during peak times. I had fantastic service from one of the bartenders there and I wish I could remember his name to give him some credit.

              1. re: chefematician

                Agreed - walked in on Friday and promptly found seats for 2 at the bar during "peak" hours.