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You ever been charged a "corkage" for BYOS?

As in Bringing Your Own Stemware?

Specifically, when you are buying the wine from the restaurant, but would prefer to use your own stemware set.

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  1. BYOS corkage? No way.
    I do it routinely, never had any problem.
    Actually, most restos with poor or no stemware do like it.

    18 Replies
    1. re: RicRios

      RicRios, do you really do this routinely? Why? Maybe I don't understand--do you actually bring your own wine glasses to the restaurant? This is something new to me, and a little unsettling. If they sell wine, surely they provide the glasses from which to drink it.

      1. re: Marsha

        I friend who is pretty anal about bringing her own stemware -- granted, her set probably costs more than the price of the dinner most times.

        1. re: Marsha

          Most restaurants have HORRIBLE STEMWARE, excluding the Highend , Big fine Wine Inventory places.
          The reason for poor Wine Glasses is normally the Breakage that the finer Crystal experiences. The costs can be staggering to a restaurants budget.
          WE CARRY OUR OWN STEMWARE EVERYWHERE(in our winebag), including flights overseas. Nothing beats drinking Good to Fine Wine out of a fine Wine Glass.

            1. re: RicRios

              My wife and I were dining at one of our regular restaurants which has a wine shop attached. The owner brought out a pair of Reidel wine glasses for us to compare to their regular stemware. Unbelievable! The difference in flavor is incrediable. He explained that it is something about the thinner glass letting the wine hit your tastebuds in the front of your tongue. I don't know, but now I do know that good stemware is a must for good wine. Kirkland brand at Costco is reasonable and excellent. Incidentally, we bought those Reidel glasses on the spot.

              1. re: BN1

                A Fine Inexpensive Glass(Cab shape) (made by Reidel) is the O series which is much stronger than Vinum, around $5-7 ea.

              1. re: froggio

                Not to some of us?
                Stemware is critical for a perfect Wine experience.
                Many of our Serious Wine friends wouldn't think of leaving the house without their Stems.

            2. re: Marsha

              Many people do it routinely, including many people I know personally. I do not, but then again, when I am going out for what I would term a "serious" dinner -- serious, in terms of great food accompanied by great wines -- the restauratns I go to generally have excellent glassware.

              I live in Berkeley, and I will say that I have been more disappointed by the quality of stemware in restaurants outside of the immediate SF Bay Area (Big Generalization Here), for example in Boston, New York, New Orleans, Seattle. Even California -- finding quality glassware in places like Monterey, Santa Barbara and San Diego can be more problematic.

              Then agan, maybe I'm just "lucky" in my choices for dining out.

              1. re: zin1953

                I'm skeptical that many people do this. I eat out a lot and have never seen it.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Agree that it's not something many people do. I often lug glasses to a couple of local BYOBs that have great food but wholly inadequate stemware, especially for serious wines to be consumed in the company of other wine geeks. While at some places the staff doesn't bat an eyelid, at others the reaction ranges from bemusement to dropped jaws. The owner of one resto even took offence.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    As I said Robert, I've seen lots of people do this but the quality of the glassware in most "serious" restaurants here in Berkeley/SF means one doesn't have to . . .

                    But for me, it's a bit like BYOB. Being in the trade, BYOB is something I have done frequently, but I rarely do it the first time I go to a restaurant (the exceptions are if they don't have a license at all, or unless it's for an offline).

                    As carswell said, if the stemware is inadequate . . .

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I've seen it down in several places in and around Boston, where I've attended offlines. Several places, too, in Manhattan, where I've been for the same reason.

                            In California, I've seen it happen at the Paradise Cafe in Santa Barbara, O'Mei in Santa Cruz, a couple of places in San Diego (I went there in the copany of friends -- they brought the glasses), and others, including the old Speidini's in Walnut Creek (now closed).

                            I do NOT see it in most of the places I eat in regularly in the SF-Berkeley area, because most of these places have adequate glassware. But I wouldn't hesitate to do it myself if I went to a place that didn't!

                            1. re: zin1953

                              Robert, here in the Bay Area, there are a large group of wine nuts from the Robert Parker board who schedule "offlines" (i.e., group tastings). I have attended a handful of these dinners and in all cases, everyone brings their own glassware.

                              This is done when 10 or 12 tasters are all sampling Pinot and the special-shaped glass is integral to the tasting experience. The only offline I've been to where we didn't need to bring glassware was held at Cafe Rouge.

                              The other reason is because of the size of these offlines. With 10 or 12 people opening and tasting upwards of 30 or 40 wines, many want to taste and compare more than one glass at one time and not a lot of restaurants have that large of a supply. Bringing along 6 of your own glasses is easier...

                              1. re: Carrie 218

                                Two minor -- and I stress "minor" -- points: a) it's not only people from the Parker/Squires board who have offlines; b) it's not only at offlines that people bring their own glassware.

                                Speaking personally, I've pretty much ceased attending such offlines (which were put together through boards other than Parker/Squires), because I don't enjoy the wine(s) as much -- too much "hurrying through to get to the next one" means you EITHER have some huge number of glasses in front of you, or you're rushing to drink THIS wine in order not to miss THAT wine.

                                This, of course, is not meant to say I don't go out to dinner with a group of friends and drink a lot of wine, but I'm personally "done" with the 16-20+ groups with dozens of bottles flying . . . I'd rather keep it smaller, have fewer wines, and be able to enjoy them -- and the company -- more.

                                And -- along with Cafe Rouge -- places like Oliveto's, Lalime's, etc. generally have really good quality glassware (and enough that we can have two each).

            3. As with Russ, we regularly pack our own stems. Reidel makes a very nice carrier for four stems that looks like a moderate sized padded briefcase. Goes along with our insulated 6 bottle wine carriers. Yes, it's true, we bring luggage to dinner - :).

              1. Are you saying that they charged you for using your own glasses to drink wine off the list, or that you expected them to waive the corkage and they didn't?

                1 Reply
                1. This sounds so joyless :(

                  I do admit that when given the choice I like the thinnest glass possible...but come on.

                  Having said that, disagreeable or not there should be absolutely no reason to charge for the glassware.

                  1. What? You were charged a fee for saving them from glasswashing?

                    I'm assuming that you brought your own stemware because the resto has bad stuff, or..... more importantly, to avoid the disgusting sanitizer that restaurats have to use that is not wine friendly.

                    But even if you brought it because you're creepy about germs, there is no reason that you should be charged for bringing your own glasses, especially if you pack it dirty and take it home.

                    I'd register complaint, and I'd never return unless there was satisfactory resolution.

                    Now, what's this place?

                    1. Is that true? You brought your own stems, bought a bottle of wine from the restaurant, used your own glasses and they charged you a corkage fee for using your own glasses to drink wine you purchased from the restaurant? They CHARGED you for this?

                      Did you ask them to do anything special to the glasses or were there any other circumstances that are germane? This just doesn't make sense. I have to agree with the above, that sounds pretty outrageous. How can a restaurant charge for something that is normally provided without additional cost?

                      1. I've never been charged a fee for using my own stemware. However, at Chez Panisse Cafe when I called to inquire about the corkage policy a few years ago, I was told that they had a new policy of not allowing customers to use their own stemware. It had been too much of a financial liability when their servers break customers' glasses.

                        OTOH, every other restaurant I can think of welcomes the practice when I've suggested it. At Syrah in Santa Rosa, we showed up with racks of Riedels, the use of which was donated by Riedel USA for a special tasting. The staff collected the used glasses as we progressed through the tasting and meal, ran them through their own dishwasher, and has almost all of them clean by the time I departed. Likewise at The Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen and at The Girl and The Fig in Sonoma when we brought our own stemware for special tastings running though a dozen stems for each person.

                        1. I read above the word "liability". Well, the tacit assumption under BYOS is: it's my glass, it's my risk. And I will be more than happy to sign a disclaimer, if I ever see an attempt to charge me for it.
                          However, tongue in cheek, one might ask "What if my glass breaks, and somebody else gets hurt with its shards?"
                          But I'll leave that sort of Talmudic questions to the AFLI (American Frivolous Lawsuits Industry).

                          1. Now this I like...

                            I often BYOB, and often BYOC (bring your own cheese), but haven't thought about bringing my own glasses yet!

                            But honestly, I'll settle for about anything, after all i'm at a restaurant and i'm more interested in the food/wine matchup than the wine by itself...

                              1. Now I've heard everything.

                                A restaurant should NEVER charge for bringing your own glasses. It's bad enough that you had to bring your own glasses, to charge is an insult. A place that thinks this way will not be around very long. Next they will start charging for tap water.


                                4 Replies
                                1. re: WineTravel

                                  Believe it or not there are Restaurants in LA who don't offer Tap Water so your stuck ordering FLAT or SPARKLING for a fee.

                                  1. re: russkar

                                    I realize restaurants don't automatically serve water in many places for conservation reasons, but they do serve it upon request. You implied that they don't serve tap water, period... only bottled. That is INSANE. Truth is, in most places I order bottled water anyway, but it should be the customer's choice.
                                    Do they have an attendant in the rest rooms to make sure you don't take a swig in there? No, don't tell me... they charge you to use the restrooms?

                                    What's up with these people?

                                    1. re: WineTravel

                                      What's up with these people?

                                      Can't you hear Joel Grey and Liza Minelli singing,

                                      "Money, money, money, money,
                                      Money, money, money, money,
                                      A mark a yen a buck or a pound . . . "

                                      1. re: WineTravel

                                        No Attendant in the Restroom.
                                        250- ea when you sit down just for food, and worth it!
                                        Best Food(of it's type) in LA, no Tap Water Available.

                                  2. Ok, must be Urasawa. Now it makes more sense. Haven't been there since it was Ginza Sushiko, which was great. Not your typical restaurant. At a place like this they should automatically serve bottled water included in the price of the menu. Some restaurants do this. I think Charlie Trotter's in Chicago is the only place that doesn't charge for ANY extras (ie. bottled water, coffees, teas)... which is amazing since that can really add up... and his tasting menu is not extravagantly priced compared to other places on that level... think its 125 or 130.

                                    Tried MASA in NY?... even more than Urasawa. Can't remember their water policy... but at least the water in NYC is good. In LA Urasawa is probably doing the customer a favor.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: WineTravel

                                      Urasawa and Masa are completely different.
                                      Ginza Sushi Ko specialized in Sushi, featuring Fugu.
                                      Urasawa is focused on a Complete Meal including some Sushi but highlighting Shabu Shabu, REAL Kobe Beef(lightly bbq'ed, while you watch)and lots of other delicacies. A fantastic Deal for what you get!
                                      For Sushi Only Masa is still the King. 500-ea

                                      1. re: russkar

                                        Wow. Didn't realize that. I always figured he just followed in Masa's footsteps. Thanks a lot for the head up on that. I must try it on my next LA visit.

                                        Do they have a wine list? I suspect they do now. At Ginza S. we always had to bring along something.

                                        1. re: WineTravel

                                          Urasawa has a small list. NO CORKAGE CHARGE so we normally bring some nice Burgundy and buy some Kubota "Manjyu" off the Sake List. Base food price 250- plus EVIAN WATER you won't leave hungry and it takes about 3-4 hrs. Awesome!

                                    2. Im psyched!! Will go sometime around Mar/Apr and will report back.