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Everything You Need to Know About BYOB Restaurants

Bringing your own bottle is a fun and affordable option with some advance preparation.

When you first encountered the phrase “BYOB” in a restaurant, you might have been a little perplexed. What does it mean, and how does it work?

Male group clinking glass bottles of beer

All you need to know about BYOB, including its definition and advantages and disadvantages, will be covered in this blog post.


What is BYOB?

BYOB, which stands for “bring your own bottle” or “bring your own booze,” is a term used by pubs and restaurants to refer to the practice of letting patrons bring their own alcoholic drinks to enjoy with a meal.

Group of young men drinking at

Many restaurants and bars, especially those without liquor licenses, allow patrons to bring their own alcohol to save money and give them more freedom, however not every institution gives this choice.


How Does BYOB Work?

The first step to take if you want to bring your own booze to a restaurant or bar is to phone ahead to make sure they allow it.

Handsome bearded man smiling while drinking beer

There may be limitations on the types of alcohol you can bring into some locations, or they may demand a corkage fee (more on that later).

Assuming the venue permits BYOB, the procedure is rather simple. You must provide your own booze as well as any mixers or garnishes that may be required.

If the restaurant doesn’t supply glassware, you’ll also need to bring your own.

You will show your booze to the waitress or bartender once you arrive at the restaurant or bar. Usually, they’ll open the bottle for you and offer glasses if you need them.

You can be charged a corkage fee, which is a price for opening and serving your alcohol, depending on the institution.

It is vital to inquire in advance about this price because it might range from a few dollars to over $100.


Pros of BYOBs

There are several benefits to bringing your own alcohol to a restaurant or bar.

Hand is holding Corona Extra beer

Here are a few:

1. Cost savings: Buying alcohol at a restaurant or bar can be expensive, especially if you’re dining with a group. BYOB allows you to save money by bringing your own alcohol.

2. Flexibility: Some restaurants and bars might have limited drink menus, but BYOB allows you to bring whatever you like.

You can also bring the exact amount you want to consume, which reduces waste.

3. Special occasions: If you’re celebrating a special occasion, bringing your own bottle of wine or champagne can make the evening feel more special.


Cons of BYOB

While there are many benefits to BYOB, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Man holds beer in his hands

Here are a few:

1. Corkage fees: Some restaurants and bars charge a corkage fee for opening and serving your alcohol. This fee can range from a few dollars to over $100, so it’s important to ask about it beforehand.

2. Limited selection: If you’re particular about the type of alcohol you drink, you might be limited by what’s available at the restaurant or bar. Bringing your own alcohol solves this problem, but it requires some planning ahead.

3. Glassware: If the establishment doesn’t provide glassware, you’ll need to bring your own.   This can be cumbersome, especially if you’re bringing a large group.


Frequently Asked Questions

Cropped image of friends with beer bottles and chips

Are there any restrictions on what types of alcohol I can bring?

It depends on the establishment. Some restaurants and bars might have restrictions on what types of alcohol you can bring, so it’s important to call ahead and ask.

Some places only allow you to bring wine or beer, while others allow liquor.

Do I need to bring my own glassware?

It depends on the establishment. Some places provide glassware, while others might require you to bring your own. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to call ahead and ask.

Do I need to bring my own mixers and garnishes?

Yes, if you want to have a mixed drink, you’ll need to bring your own mixers and garnishes. Some restaurants and bars might have basic mixers like soda and tonic water, but it’s always best to come prepared.

How much should I expect to pay for a corkage fee?

Corkage fees can vary widely, depending on the establishment. Some places might not charge a corkage fee at all, while others might charge upwards of $100. It’s important to ask about the corkage fee before bringing your own alcohol to avoid any surprises.

Can I bring my own beer or just wine?

Most restaurants and bars that allow BYOB will allow you to bring any type of alcohol, including beer, wine, and spirits. However, it’s always best to call ahead and ask about any restrictions.

Can I take any leftover alcohol home with me?

It depends on the establishment and local laws. In some states, it’s illegal to take leftover alcohol home with you, even if you brought it yourself. It’s always best to ask the server or bartender if it’s okay to take any leftovers home.

happy male friends drinking beer at bar

Conclusion

For individuals wishing to save money or bring their own favorite drinks to a restaurant or pub, BYOB might be a terrific alternative.

Before bringing your own alcohol, it’s crucial to phone ahead and inquire about any regulations or corkage costs. BYOB dining may be a fun and affordable option with some advance preparation.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.