I'm driving up from DC Friday to Philly to rendezvous with five other out-of-town friends.
We're going out to dinner and and I have been tasked with bring the wine/beer etc. to a yet to be named BYO restaurant. It will not be a dive.
I've read the archives but still am confused about what the etiquette is. As I don't know what the restaurant is and what people are likely to order, I'm not sure what to bring. On top of that, I'm sure at least two of the people will want beer rather than wine.
I'm afraid I'll look like a fool carting in 2-3 bottles of wine and a couple of six packs of beer.
I assume the white wine and beer must be brought in cold, if one wants to drink it that way. Do I need to bring a corkscrew?
If we run out of one type of beverage, it it safe to assume that there won't be an offsale location near by but I could go to the car and get more? What happens if a particular bottle of wine is not finished? Can I take it home without be guilty of an open-container offense?
well, i've never gone to dinner and not finished my wine, so i can't help you there...
no, nothing wrong with bringing in your arsenal of alcohol... have some people help you carry! might look a little weird hauling in a case of beer, but 6 packs and wine bottles should be fine. i usually just bring them in in the store's bag.
a word or a hundred of advice... you can't buy wine and beer at the same store here in PA... i would suggest stopping on your way up from DC at total wine in DE just before the PA border... don't leave it til right before dinner to get your wine AND your beer - the selection varies at the state wine stores and there's not always one within a couple blocks. then for 6-packs just run into a bar right before dinner (not the cheapest option), so it's nice and cold. many bars here have 6 pack takeout permits. the big beer warehouses tend to sell by the case and mostly warm (even the stuff that's been in the fridge). also, there are two beer store locations called the foodery, look them up to see if they're close to where you go; a fascinating selection of beers there. you can mix n match your 6 packs.
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From the standpoint of logistics, I think you might want to buy your booze before you leave home. Save you having to wonder around in a new city/area after a 2-3 hour drive. Pack the six pacs in a cooler with some ice and they'll be nice and cold for dinner. You probably wouldn't want to take the coolers into the restaurant. I usually use a book bag to transport wine into a restaurant. You know, canvas bag, no top, handles. It would probably work for the six pacs, too. Keep your eye on the corks for possible re-capping later. You're in a tough spot, not knowing who's going to drink how much of what, where you're going to eat, or what anyone is going to order. Maybe the best bet is to just buy what you like. If they don't like it, they won't give you this detail next time.
The "etiquette" is quite simple -- carry your beer or wine into the restaurant in whatever way makes the most sense. It's not at all unusual, for example, for people to bring six-packs of beer into a Mexican restaurant in a cooler. You don't need to bring a corkscrew or stemware for your wine, but you might want to bring a bottle opener (if one is needed) for your beer.
As for not knowing what to bring because you don't know what people will be ordering, it's very okay to bring in a selection of wines, and then choose to open whatever is appropriate for your meal. I'd suggest that you chill your whites ahead of time, so they'll be drinkable sooner than if they're room temp when you come in. And yes, ice buckets will be supplied if necessary, although sometimes you may need to ask for one.
In my experience, the more upscale the restaurant, the greater the amenities. The better restaurants sometimes (but not always) provide better quality stemware.
DO take rabidog's advice and buy your wine and beer before you cross into PA. The selection and prices will be better, and you won't be forced to play along with PA's arcane liquor laws, which require that you purchase a full case of beer, unless you're buying from a tavern, in which case you cannot buy more than 2 six-packs. If you're coming up I-95, you'd do well to detour into Wilmington to shop at Moore Brothers (http://www.wineaccess.com/store/moore...) for your wine.
And, if you do happen to have an unfinished bottle of wine that you want to take home with you (I'll admit, that's NEVER happened to me), just cork it and stow it in the trunk of your car. I've never heard of anyone getting into trouble for having an open bottle of wine in their car. In fact, I know people who make a habit of opening and sampling every bottle of wine they bring along, prior to leaving home, just to make sure they're not bringing a spoiled (corked) bottle.
I think the abundance of BYO restaurants is one of the best things about PA's dining scene. Enjoy!
May sound a bit redundant but I would like to convey that the info you're recieving is correct. Definatly buy out of state because the laws here will confuse you, and as far as showing up w/ booze of any sort. Act just as you would attending a friends upscale dinner party. No one here will think twice with you coming or going. Enjoy your meal! (and your wine!)