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A list of restaurants in NYC that are BYOB-friendly

A list of restaurants in NYC that are BYOB-friendly.

Reader comments

michel du ventouxFeb 13, 2004 at 10:37AM

byob.... me alcoholic frog, be puzzled... be your own boss ? , build your own browser ?, bring your own bottle ? (in a restaurant ? why not your own food ?, is it still a restaurant ? for beverages just as for food, i like a restaurant to be tasty and creative, with fair pricing, if you chop off one leg, the restaurant has a limp... but i'm not a new yorker and i live deep into wineyard country... côte du rhône, à votre santé !

jkottkeFeb 13, 2004 at 11:04AM

BYOB = Bring your own bottle.

i live deep into wineyard country... côte du rhône

Lucky you!

bobFeb 13, 2004 at 1:20PM

wooo! party time

MacDaraFeb 13, 2004 at 1:45PM

Am I the only one who thinks of that joke from The Simpsons whenever I see the term BYOB? You know the one: "The extra B is for BYOBB." Ah, the hilarity!

mendelFeb 14, 2004 at 8:09PM

For those who don't encounter it very often: I lived in Montreal for nearly a decade, and a lot of very good restaurants have signs reading apportez votre vin, bring your wine. There are a few things working in parallel that lead to a BYOB policy: the first and simplest is that it is a lot easier to get a license to serve than it is a license to sell. Related to that is that a lot of the restaurants are small and new or are neighbourhood standards and trying to maintain their own cellar would be an economic disadvantage. I can't think of any see-and-be-seen restaurants with that policy.

This doesn't mean you have to stop and buy wine on the drive there. These sorts of places tend to show up in clumps (and thus the economic disadvantage increases -- there's less incentive is there to maintain a cellar if your competitors don't incur that expense), and with those clumps you usually not only get a few depanneurs with a decent wine selection and very friendly hours, but you also tend to get an SAQ, the Quebec government-operated liquor store, which pretty much exists in those locations to provide wine for patrons of the restaurants.

The service in the restaurant is identical to if you'd bought wine there; you give the bottle to the server who then treats it as if you bought it there. If you're there with enough people and for long enough that you bring more than one bottle, then the unopened ones seldom stay at the table, and unopened whites will be kept chilled for you, and so forth. It would be declassé to bring alcohol that was not wine to a restaurant, although some of the patios in the touristy areas won't complain about bringing beer instead.

What it ends up with is that only being licensed to serve instead of sell doesn't really end up saying anything about the quality of the restaurant. "Why not bring your own food?" Because you're going there for the food, and if you're familiar with wines and with the restaurant, you'll end up better off choosing something from the wider selection at an SAQ in the area or from your own cellar than from the stock a startup restaurant in a BYOB sort of area would have maintaining their own cellar. If nothing else, you get to have wine with dinner in a restaurant which might not yet have the resources to maintain a selection that would satisfy you.

Of course, there are also lower-quality restaurants (usually neighbourhood standards in European-immigrant neighbourhoods) which have the policy more out of laziness than out of strict business decision.

I couldn't tell you if Montreal's apportez votre vin restaurants are the same as New York City's, but I suspect the same thing developed there.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.