The Art of BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) to Restaurants: Etiquette, Tips and Guidelines

CorkRules | Jan 18, 2024

As wine enthusiasts and gourmands alike know, the right bottle can significantly enhance a dining experience. While many restaurants offer extensive wine lists, sometimes you may wish to bring a particular vintage from your own collection. This is where the concept of Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) comes into play.

However, bringing your own bottle to a restaurant isn't as simple as just walking in with it under your arm. There are certain etiquettes that need to be followed – after all, you wouldn’t walk into an eatery carrying your own chicken! Here’s everything you need to know about making the most out of BYOB while respecting both restaurant policies and good manners.

1. Call Ahead or Check Corkage Policies:

Before planning on bringing your own bottle, call ahead or check online if the restaurant allows it at all. Many establishments have their corkage policy listed on their website; also check the CorkRules app as we’ve begun collecting that information.

2. Understand What Corkage Entails:

Corkage refers to the fee charged by restaurants when guests bring their own wine bottles instead of purchasing from them directly - essentially charging for opening and serving someone else's beverage within their establishment.

This cost varies widely depending upon location and type of venue but typically ranges between $10-$75 per bottle.

3. Look at Wine List Beforehand:

One unwritten rule about BYOB is not bringing something already available on the restaurant's menu – this can be perceived as disrespectful towards their curated selection.

Therefore always look over an establishment’s wine list before deciding what you will carry along. If the wine you are brought is on the list, buy the wine from the restaurant.

4. The Age Factor Matters:

Typically older wines which have been aged appropriately are preferred when opting for BYOB because they might not be readily available in most restaurants due its high storage costs involved in ageing wines properly.

5. Bring a Bottle, Buy a Bottle:

A polite way to approach BYOB is by also purchasing a bottle from the restaurant's list. This not only supports their business but can lead to an exciting opportunity for pairing different wines with your meal. You could also consider pre/post cocktails as well.

6. Don’t Bring Cheap Wine:

While there’s no need to break the bank, it’s generally considered bad form to bring very cheap wine when opting for BYOB. The idea behind bringing your own bottle is usually about sharing something special that isn't readily available in most restaurants.

7. Share Your Wine:

If you have brought along an exceptional or unusual vintage, consider offering a taste of it to the sommelier or chef if they are interested. They will appreciate this gesture and may even provide additional insights into its characteristics.

8. Tip Generously:

When calculating gratuity at the end of your meal, be sure to tip as though you had purchased the wine directly from them assuming service was good. After all, staff still took time and effort serving and attending on your brought beverage just like any other drink ordered off their menu.


BYOB offers patrons an avenue through which they can personalize their dining experience while enjoying some of their favorite vintages in new settings. However remember - with privilege comes responsibility; therefore always ensure that you're being respectful towards both establishment policies and general etiquette when deciding on bringing along your own bottle! #drinkwhatyoulove

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CorkRules makes it easier to discover and drink what you love at your favorite restaurants. Coming soon to Apple iOS devices.

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