When that special bottle in your cellar deserves a top-notch meal, these exceptional spots will serve your wine gracefully, without a corkage fee—and you might just score a pour of another diner’s wine.
The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (Brooklyn, NY)
Two Michelin stars only begin to describe this unusual restaurant. The commercial stove and copper pots recall a test kitchen, and it nearly is—Chef Cesar Ramirez dishes up nearly two dozen courses, all experimental, fusing French and Asian influences. To bring a suitable vintage, talk to the staff about the night’s menu; glassware is provided for every type of wine. Book six weeks ahead.
Le Foret (New Orleans, LA)
While this elegant eatery (formerly a 19th-century cigar factory) does have its own 800-label, 2,500-bottle wine cellar—largely from high-end, small American producers like Abacus and Harlan Estate—there’s no corkage fee for guests who bring their own. “We serve wine from the heart,” says GM Danny Millan. Although the menu changes with the seasons, it usually includes Le Foret Champignons: shiitake confit with pickled onions and pâté de foie gras.
Bonsoirée Restaurant (Chicago, IL)
This French-Asian spot allows guests to bring bottles from their own cellars or to consult local wine merchants familiar with the flavor profiles of Chef Shin Thompson’s avant-garde dishes, such as Quail Lollipop with Sour Orange Curry or Coriander Butter-Poached Tasmanian Ocean Trout.
Schwa (Chicago, IL)
If you don’t mind watching your $300 Bordeaux poured for neighboring diners, come to this wild spot in Wicker Park. The “wine sharing” concept is part of Chef Michael Carlson’s M.O.; love it or hate it, like the chandeliers crafted from electrical connectors. Once you manage to secure a reservation—keep trying, they will answer the phone eventually—the evening offers a nine-course menu of quixotic dishes like the apple pie soup appetizer or short rib “smores.” Don’t be too concerned about wine pairing, it’s likely you’ll be tasting bottles from around the room.