FYI: Go BYO
A new Web site compiles information on BYO-friendly restaurants in major U.S. cities.
Should you find yourself hankering to eat out but not wishing to part ways with a prized (or perhaps inexpensive) bottle, there's GoBYO.com, a new Web site that compiles information on all BYO-friendly restaurants in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York (the entire state), Philadelphia, San Francisco and the Southeast Florida region. A cousin to the Philadelphia-based restaurant database DiningInfo.com, GoBYO, which launched last April, allows users to look up a particular establishment's policy or search via zip code for a list of all BYO-friendly restaurants in a given neighborhood. Crucial wine-policy details, such as the corkage fee, whether or not the corkage fee is waived on the first bottle, how many wines are offered by the glass and whether or not certain bottles are prohibited are also provided.
As is customary on many restaurant database sites nowadays, users can further refine their search according to more specific criteria: on GoBYO, these narrowing factors include cuisine type, corkage fee range (less than $10, less than $20, etc.), lowest entrée price, credit cards accepted, the days dinner and/or lunch and/or brunch are served and a list of 40 special features, including the romance level and whether a place has valet parking, outdoor seating, wheelchair access or even a salad bar. Thus if you're looking to bring your bottle to a pet-friendly sushi joint, GoBYO's a great starting point. (A recent search revealed an array of interesting BYO-friendly options in one Manhattan neighborhood, including a child-friendly diner with wifi and a Chinese restaurant with live music.)
Though GoBYO is updated on a regular basis, diners should, of course, still call ahead to confirm all information (and GoBYO encourages this), especially considering the number of restaurant closings in today's economic climate. Some more words of wisdom: GoBYO'S numerical wine-friendly ratings are calculated according to factors like whether a restaurant has a wine list, whether the wine list is available online and the number of wines offered by the glass and are not based on the overall quality of wine served—though when you're bringing your own, who really cares?