Vintage Michael Perlis: BYOB (Post originally ran 07/09)

I’m a firm believer in bringing my own wine to restaurants, for several reasons.

Many restaurant owners have spent the time, effort and money on developing good wine lists. Many others choose not to focus on this area. That is, of course, their prerogative. But, whether they do or don’t, I find that the wine selection often doesn’t appeal to my particular tastes. [This is of course, understandable, as the list should be developed to appeal to as many people as possible.]

I’ve spent the last 20 years drinking wine seriously [probably much too seriously], and I find I really prefer certain specific varietals: Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Petite Sirah, and a few others, as well as specific producers. Our wine collection has been developed focusing on these varietals and producers and the fact is if restaurants didn’t allow me to bring my own wine, I’d probably just spend less time [and money] at restaurants and more time at home drinking my wine.

All that being said, I really appreciate that restaurants allow me to bring my own wine. They certainly don’t have to! And I don’t mind paying a reasonable corkage, especially if the stemware is appropriate. [Although I am very grateful for no corkage or waived corkage.] And, if the glassware isn’t up to snuff, I have no problem bringing my own. [Some people think that the glasses aren’t all that important. Well, for me, they are. Fortunately, I’ve acquired a nifty (albeit somewhat bulky) case for schlepping a bottle and a couple of glasses.]

One last thing about BYOB – share! We tend to share our wine with the owner, server and anybody else who happens to be around. If this means bringing an extra bottle so there is enough to go around, so be it. Remember, the restaurant owner does not have to allow you to bring your own bottle, so show your appreciation. And, tip appropriately – your server should not be punished because you brought a bottle instead of buying wine from the restaurant.

(Editor’s note: I know that Cavi Cucina has a Thursday no-corkage charge and Backwood’s Inn is only $5. If readers have any other restaurant corkage fees, that are worthy of advertising on this blog, please e-mail them to me at or comment on this blog post so that we may all benefit from BYOB.)

10 thoughts on “Vintage Michael Perlis: BYOB (Post originally ran 07/09)

  1. Eve, if you are ever in the Fairfax/West Hollywood area, check-out Cobras & Matadors. Steven Arroyo makes some fantastic tapas, and he owns the wine store next door to the restaurant (which equates to NO CORKAGE)! He has another restaurant (with the same name) in the Los Feliz area.

  2. Chad, so Cobras and Matadors for NO CORKAGE – sounds great! Thanks!

    Anyone else have a suggestion?

  3. To clarify, I assume no corkage at C&M if you buy the wine next door, right?

    Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks and Pasadena is $2.

    Michael Perlis

  4. From Zagat Reviews:

    1. This used to be one of my faves, but was turned away recently when we were told they could no longer allow drinking inside the restaurant. If we wanted to enjoy the bottle of wine we brought, we would have to sit outside (it was freezing). 6-09

    2. cool, sexy place. wine next door.

    "This property is closed" in regards to La Brea location.

    From Yelp: You really can't go wrong with BYOB and no corkage fee.

    (And the no corkage part comes up in 48 of their reviews so I doubt you have to buy it next door but you may have to drink it outside. EB)

  5. Thanks for the update Eve.

    Another one for the list: Pinot Bistro in Studio City — zero corkage and good stemware.

    Is it possible to start a permanent list on your site of corkage info?

  6. Yes, but I was hoping for some local input on who has no corkage…maybe then I can advertise it in a future Dear Wine Friend e-blast. (This week's is full.)

  7. Hi Eve!

    Roman Holiday waives the $15 corkage if you purchase a bottle here to either drink or even take home. Our bottle prices start at $19 but we often have specials for $15 so it’s a wash!

    If you spend more than $50, the corkage is waived entirely.

    Hope you are having a great day!

    Thanks, Jen

    1. Jen, Gotta love that you took the time to comment! It will be on the top of the newsletter next Friday, under “Wine News”. Hope to see you soon – at my favorite place for lunch on Fridays! Yours, in wine and out, Eve

  8. Great article Mike, My feelings are the same as yours. One cavaet is if a restaurant has the wine wine on their list that I am bringing I keep mine in the bag and open the restaurants. My biggest issue at restaurants is proper glassware. I never thought of bringing my own.

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