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Aug 21, 2008 07:07 AM

Casual BYOBs near Rittenhouse Square

As I'm going through old posts, I notice that there are a lot of mention of BYOB in Philly. First can you tell me what is it about the liquor laws that makes it different and seems to spawn all these restaurants that allow BYOB?

Second, I'm visiting from out of town, and staying just a few blocks north of Rittenhouse Square (I'm not familiar with area names) without a car, so I'm dependent on public transportation and walking. Can you suggest some good, casual BYOBs that is easy access to that area? I noticed Farmicia and liked the menu, but if you can think of other places, I'm open to suggestions. Thank you!

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  1. Basically, an eating establishment in PA must have a liquor license in order to sell alcohol. These licenses are very expensive. Restaurants are allowed to open and not serve alcohol, but allow customers to BYO. There maybe more to it than that, but that's the layman's understanding.

    I am a big fan of Matyson, which is right off Rittenhouse.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DanielleM

      The other part of it is that the license merely allows you to serve alcohol - you still must buy it through the state store system and they offer NO DISCOUNTS to resellers (or to customers who buy full cases). So you go into the restaurant and pay 2x the cost of the bottle. a 100% mark up is not uncommon anywhere, but it is much easier to swallow if the restauranteur is getting a resellers discount first (thus you are only paying 50 or 60% more than if you bought the bottle directly). Since they must buy through the state system they are also limited to what the state brings in. Patrons of BYOBs can bring in the lovely gift bottle that Aunt Mabel brought them from Delaware (we NEVER cross state line to buy better wine)

    2. I've only been to Farmicia for breakfast, and really *really* liked it, but it's not really that walkable from Rittenhouse Square. Probably a good, brisk 30 minute walk. It's more convenient via public transportation, but there are so many good places up by Rittenhouse you may be better off staying closer. Matyson is a good rec. Don't forget to stop at Capogiro for dessert!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: gwebber

        Matyson, for sure. Caffe Casta Diva. Bronzino. La Viola. All within easy walking distance of Rittenhouse Square.

        Mercato. A bit of a longer walk, but by no means a long walk.

        All much-discussed on this board. All have web sites, I believe.

        Anyone remember where the new location of Melograno is? And if they're open yet?


        1. re: kagoo

          Theoretically, Melograno will be opening in September at 2010 Sansom Street.