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Mar 10, 2009 05:39 PM

BYOB in Denver?

What's the story on BYOB in Denver? Legal? If so, any recs (mid or upscale)?


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  1. Not legal. Although there was a law passed where you can have the rest of the bottle re-corked to take home with you.

    6 Replies
    1. re: rlm

      That is good to know. A lot of areas are allowing this and it is worthwhile, at least with wines, especially with fine wines. Glad to hear that Denver has gotten on that band wagon.


      1. re: Bill Hunt

        As far as I know, such policies are not municipal ordinances but are statewide -- like a recent law finally permitting Sunday alcohol sales.

        1. re: ClaireWalter

          Thank you. That is good to know. In many other areas of the US, it is first by state, then county and finally by munacipality, with the restauranteur making the final call. Being statewide keeps it simpler.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Well, I suspect it is the same in Colorado, the state sets the "ceiling", but a county could still presumably limit alcohol regulations further, as could a municipality. They can't be more liberal than state law allows, of course, but I am guessing that they can be more restrictive.

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            Yeah, the law was passed as part of a compromise for lowering the BAC level for drunk driving. Restaurants complained that the level would be too low for 2 people to share a bottle of wine with dinner, so the compromise was that you can cork the bottle and walk out. Before Sunday liquor sales were allowed, I heard that on Sundays some people would buy a bottle of wine, have it opened, cork it, and walk out. :-)

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. There is a paragraph in the Colorado Department of Revenue that states that is is illegal to bring alcohol within 100 feet of an establishment that serves alcohol. We found this out the hard way at a local restaurant after lugging in a special bottle for my wife's birthday. After a very rude confrontation with the restaurant owner we were told that we were no longer welcome in the restaurant due to our actions. What made it this the last visit to this establishment was that we asked both the hostess and the bartender if it was allowed and were told that it was fine and there would be no corkage fee. Colorado is still very much behind the times when it comes to their liquor laws.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Brickman

              What an unfortunate note on what should have been a celebratory dinner. What I don't understand, however, is why the restaurant owner would have been rude rather than sympathetic. If you had been nicely told about the law, which he should not have expected a customer to know, you probably would have taken your bottle home and bought one from the restauarnt -- even if not as special as the bottle your brought. Care to share the name of the restaurant?

              1. re: ClaireWalter

                Perhaps the restaurant owner was nervous about a liquor license violation since this guest brought a bottle of wine into his/her establishment without checking first. It's never an excuse for being rude but, as Brickman notes above, that is illegal and the restaurant runs the risk of losing its license or incurring a substantial fine.

                I agree that Colorado is behind the times with very arcane liquor laws.

                1. re: Pastajohn

                  Several years ago (before Sunday sales were legalized in Colorado) my husband and I were staying in a cottage in a small town up river from Baton Rouge. We went out first thing Sunday morning to shop for breakfast fixings. I remembered that Louisiana allowed liquor sales in grocery stores but I'd forgotten that they can sell it just about any old time they please.

                  In the small neighborhood grocery store at the end of the block, I noticed a fellow shopper whose own cart contained a dozen eggs, a loaf of French bread, a pint of picked crab meat and a fifth of Jack Daniels. Talk about your one-stop shopping! We followed his excellent example and mentioned to the check out clerk that we lived in a state where alcohol couldn't be sold on Sunday and okra cost $6 a pound. Her shocked reply: "Why honey -- who'd evah wanna live in a playce lak tha-ut?"