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Can someone explain the BYOB laws in MA for me? I gather you can't BYOB and pay a corkage fee if the place has a liquor license. What if it doesn't? I can remember being at get togethers at Chinese and sushi places where someone brought their own, but I wasn't sure if it was legal.

Any good places that qualify (decent food that might go with wine)?

My cellar is over-flowing and I need more excuses to drink some!


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  1. Actually did a board search and found a few threads. Sounds like Sweet Basil in Needham is a good bet.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Tir_na_nOg

      I have been told by friends who have a good wine cellar that they often BYOB to Aquataine Bis in Chestnut Hill.

    2. Based on some quick research, and notwithstanding posts on this board suggesting otherwise, Massachusetts law appears not to regulate the ability of a restaurant or other estabishment to permit patrons to BYOB, although specific cities and towns may have adopted local ordinances regulating it.

      Here, for example, is a recent article about an establishment in Lunenberg that wants to permit it:


      1 Reply
      1. re: Blumie

        My response may not be entirely accurate. The following is from the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission:

        "Can anyone bring their own beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages into an establishment (so-called "BYOB")?

        "Not if the establishment has a liquor license. If the establishment has a liquor license, then no one can carry onto the premises their own beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages for their own private consumption (so-called "BYOB" or "brown-bagging").

        "If the establishment does not have a liquor license, then one must check with the city/town in which the establishment is located to learn if there is any local law dealing with bringing one's own beer onto an establishment for personal consumption."


      2. For Italian, there's Alia and DiParma's in Winthrop, for Seafood Causeway in Gloucester to name a few.

        1. If i had a lot of good bottles of wine and wanted to go to a few BYOB places, I'd take a weekend trip to the Vineyard, where you have to bring your own if you are eating in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, Chilmark, Aquinnah or Menemsha. (Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are not BYOB.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: mvi

            Folks, please help us keep this board focused on sharing tips about BYOBs in the immediate Boston area. Thanks.

          2. There are places with a liquor license that allow BYOB, though they might not advertise it. You would have to call them and ask whether you can do so. For example, Ruth Chris's Steak house in Boston allows BYOB with a $25 corkage fee. It is not mentioned on their website but I called them and they told me about their policy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RichardA

              As indicated in one of my posts above, the Mass ABC takes the position that an establishment with a liquor license cannot permit BYOB. It's pretty clear, however, that this is a vaguely regulated area of the law, so I suspect the Mass ABC naturally takes the most puritanical position (as they're wont to do).

            2. It is up to the town to regulate this. I asked this question recently of the Brookline town counsel (we have a handy-dandy town Web site for things like this), and got this reply: "It is my understanding that the Town does not allow this." Which sounds pretty vague, kind of like she didn't bother to actually check.

              That being said, there is at least one Brookline restaurant that regularly allows brown-bagging (and they don't have a license of their own). Without mentioning names, it's the one usually voted "best Thai" on this board.

              1. Is Angelo's in Stoneham still BYO? I haven't been there in a few years, but they had very good food.

                3 Replies
                1. re: franksnbeans

                  I am not sure if Angelo's allows BYOB but I do know they sell wine and beer now.

                  1. re: franksnbeans

                    Not for a long time, I sure do miss that, still like their food.

                    1. re: treb

                      Gaa! Serves me right for not getting there more often for BYOB.
                      Good to know the food's still worth it though.

                  2. Pasta Lina (or Pastalina, depending on which sign you're reading) in Medford is BYOB. I would recommend calling ahead of time to see what's on the menu, though. Last time I was there, for example, the owner/chef (who makes everything except desserts from scratch each day) had not made pesto or a few types of pasta, and had not had time to fetch dessert. I am always up for a surprise and trying new dishes, so it didn't bother me, but I know a lot of people want what they want and nothing else. Also, calling ahead would help you decide which vino to bring along. No corkage fee, either!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: PersnicketyChicky

                      Il Forno on Route 9 in Westboro in the shoppping plaza allows you to bring in
                      wine and opens it and provides glasses at no charge. This is by no means a "fancy" restaurant but I had a very pleasant experience there. The people I was going with suggested that we meet there and after reading some reviews I went with great trepidation. Even though it was a Saturday night and there were several large parties...one of 20 and one of 30, our waitress was most pleasant and efficient and the food was beyond my expectations which were not very high. The chicken marsala was quite good and a huge portion for a very reasonable price.

                      1. re: edgewater

                        I love Il Forno in Fitchburg! I'm sure Westboro is similar. I grew up on their huge portions and generous hand with garlic. The Chicken Scarperello and Seafood Il Forno are my favorites. The BYOB policy and family style dishes make it a great place to go with a group.

                    2. Several BROBs....

                      Sweet Basil In Needham.
                      Jimmy's in Wellesley.
                      King Fung (in CT) and King Fung II (Brookline).
                      Eurotaste in Needham was BYO, not sure if Gabriella's Bistro (the restaurant in the same space with same owners) is as well.
                      Bollywood Cafe in Lexington used to be BYO - not sure currently.