6 Best BYOB Eateries
Restaurant menus and wine lists are inherently limited. And while you wouldn’t bring your own fish to fry,these fine restaurants go the extra mile to accommodate customers’ rare or sentimental bottles.
If you’re going to BYOB, follow some simple guidelines: call ahead; don’t bring a wine already represented on a restaurant’s list; stick to a reasonable number of bottles; and make the wine do justice to the chef’s cuisine.
These restaurants have solid wine lists and great food, and generous corkage policies that add to their appeal.
Corkage: Free within reason, and for a taste
At Amali, it’s all about sharing the (wine) love. “We gladly waive corkage for wines that are unique or exceptional, all we ask for is a taste,” says James Mallios, a managing partner. So what counts as unique and exceptional? “Ideally, bottles from a personal collection not readily available in stores,” he says.
Besides having one of the best wine lists—not to mention views—in the Pacific Northwest (2,500 choices), this classic Seattle landmark run by five sommeliers lets you bring your own special bottle for pocket change.
The Central Coast’s year-round growing season serves as inspiration to Chef Mike Duffy’s menu. The corkage is waived with each purchase from a list that includes a wide selection from nearby Paso Robles and Edna Valley wineries.
This is Southern hospitality embodied. Celebrity Chef John Besh’s (pictured) luxe Crescent City restaurant features fastidiously sourced local ingredients made into modern French-Creole masterworks—like crawfish and crisp lamb belly with artichoke, curry and sugar cane—and his generous mindset is reflected in no corkage fee.
Corkage: Free for first Sonoma bottle, otherwise $20
At Sonoma’s inventive Spoonbar, area farmers grow specialty ingredients and livestock for Chef Louis Maldonado, which then turn up in dishes like mesquite-grilled black cod with baby turnips and nori vinaigrette. Corkage is $20 with a purchase from their California-heavy wine list of 160-plus selections.
Corkage: $15 per bottle for first three bottles
Underbelly is known for edgy, global menu items. Try the Korean-influenced braised goat and dumplings, or the slow-cooked pork roast with sugar snap peas and Thai rice served family style (it feeds 4–6 people). Just as fun? The illustrated wine list, which eschews corporate producers for small, family-owned wineries, “people I can call direct to chat about their wine,” says Matthew Pridgen, Underbelly’s wine director.
- 5Restaurant August