Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Feb 16, 2007 09:59 AM

City Zen corkage fee: $50.00

am I behind the times? have a special occasion at City Zen that is coming up; I called to ask them about a corkage fee, and they said it was $50.00.

which is fine and all, but is this normal for restaurants in DC?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Extremely high for a DC restaurant. But Zen doesn't want folks bringing in wine and this is their way of discouraging it. The normal corkage fee in DC restaurants is about $20, with some lower, and some actually waiving it if you buy something off the list too. There are some places that have free corkage on certain nights, usually Sunday or Monday, but not places of the par with Zen. I don't think I've ever spend more than $20 on corkage in DC, but then there are places like Citronelle that do not permit corkage at all. (as is their right)

    1. whew, that seems high. And yes I know..."you're paying for the service, the crystal, the decanting..."

      If I'm bringing my own, I'll stick with Charlie Palmer Steak and their $0 corkage fee for domestics.

      1. It's high, but I can't imagine bringing a $30.00 bottle of wine to a nice restaurant- I'd rather just buy something off the list. If I'm bringing a 3-400 dollar bottle of wine I'm not going to be too opposed to paying that much in corkage.

        1. My real gripe about CityZen is that not only do they have a very high corkage (I always buy a bottle from the house when I bring something nice from my cellar); but also that their wine markup on moderate wines is more than three times retail. (Given that they pay wholesale that is a 400%+ margin). Unfortunately this gives me indigestion, so I don't eat there. I would prefer they raise there food prices rather than make me feel like wine is way over priced. There are many high end places in DC with excellent food and reasonable wine mark-ups.

          1 Reply
          1. in dc legal corkage fee limit is 20$. more than 20$ is not.

            3 Replies
                1. re: mousse T

                  I'm going to call BS on this post in that I can find no law whatsoever to prove this- though if you can I'll gladly recant.