So you want to dine out — and bring your own bottle of wine. Sounds simple enough, right?
Yet, in order to BYOB at some of the best restaurants in the country, and particularly in cities like New York, you had better be prepared to tack on a sizeable sum to your bill in the form of a corkage fee. At celebrated and pricey eateries like Per Se and Masa, for example, BYOB service will cost you nearly $100 — per bottle.
At prices like that, one has to wonder whether it doesn't just make more sense to order off the restaurant's undoubtedly well-curated wine list. After all, most establishments discourage or flat-out prohibit customers from bringing in bottles that currently appear on their wine list, so there's no bargain to be had there.
And while it's easy to understand why restaurants of such caliber would want diners to choose from the wine lists they have worked so hard to put together, this is a service industry and there can be, also, special circumstances where BYOB is particularly appropriate.
At New York City’s swanky A Voce restaurants, for instance, wine and beverage director Olivier Flosse says, "When we accept that guests can bring wines, we do not charge any corkage. Of course when we accept, it's only for a very special occasion." The guests absolutely must call in advance to inquire whether or not their occasion merits bending of the BYOB rules. "One of our guests called me and asked if he could bring some old vintage Bordeaux from his daughter’s birthday year and asked [about] the corkage fee," says Flosse. "At this time, I told the guests that we are very pleased to break the rule, but the guests had also already ordered a few top bottles from the wine list. We are all here to please guests, but we are a business as well."
From the moderately pricey to the quite expensive, here are nine restaurants across the country where it'll cost you to BYOB.