A few miles down the road from the chain restaurants of Kemah Boardwalk, this Galveston Bay original offers an antidote to commercialism. Opened in 1987 by Phil Duke, Gilhooley’s (the restaurant uses many different spellings) is a biker bar with great oysters. The dive with the oyster shell parking lot is located in scenic San Leon, the birthplace of the Bandido motorcycle gang. Erected from used materials, Gilhooley’s was one of the first businesses to rebuild after Ike—salvaged lumber is pretty easy to find after a hurricane.
222 9th St. San Leon
The environs may be ramshackle and the company colorful, but the oysters are without equal. Misho Ivic, owner of Misho's Oyster Company, located right down the street, keeps the restaurant supplied with the very best and very freshest oysters available. Oysters Gilhooley, fresh-shucked oysters dotted with garlic butter and smoked over pecan wood, are simply the best barbecued oysters on the Gulf Coast.
Pay attention to the sign on the front door: No Kids, No Dogs. Children aren’t even allowed on the patio.