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The Claw Bar

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

221 9th Street South, Naples, Florida

Originally posted October 6, 2021

Went to The Claw Bar last night for an early dinner/vague happy hour. To my surprise, the name does not refer to the hands of a specific type of clientele that frequent eating and drinking establishment in Naples, but rather to the appendages of the crustaceans that are served....who knows?

First things first, the vibe of the place is fantastic. It's dark, with a nice cosmopolitan vibe that's equal parts New Orleans and New York, but not so dark that you feel claustrophobic, plus the open ended bar outside is a nice touch that helps open the spot up.

I ordered a Hendrick's Martini straight up with a twist and it came out shockingly fast. Not sure where you all stand in the "should you have to ask for vermouth in your martini" debate, but whether he put it in or not (I don't think he did) it was refreshing and cold and fast. Good start. In this order, out came our cornbread, which was tasty but VERY crumbly and the butter was unsalted, which doesn't contrast with the sweetness of the cornbread (btw, speaking of crumbly, am I the only one who drops food on the floor at friend's houses and forgets to clean it up because theres no dog around?). Next came the oysters. Very good, clean, fresh. Sadly, the Oysters Rockefeller were not an option because of the bacon and my dining companion being a non-meat eater. Next came our crispy cauliflower. Good, crispy, fairly typical but not too oily and generally was well-prepared.

I would have liked to have said "next came out our blackened shrimp and grits" but clearly next was subjective this night. It took about a half hour and me asking to wonder where the entree was. In the meantime, I ordered a pretty tasty malbec. I'm still baffled at the 6 or 9 ounce pour question here. Naples is the only place I've ever been asked that. And has anyone EVER opted for the 6 here?

Finally the shrimp and grits came out and I'm baffled as to why it took so long because they clearly weren't taking the time to add flavor. The shrimp was fine. Tasted ok, but nothing special the but grits seemed like they had no butter and no salt in them and there wasn't nearly enough sauce on the shrimp to compensate.

All in all, I quite like this spot for drinks and maybe an app. The mains just aren't there yet, which is too bad because I love southern food because butter is delicious.

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