Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 20, 2009 11:33 AM

How much would you be willing to spend on a corkage fee? [moved from Tristate board]

[NOTE: we've moved this discussion from a thread at - The Chowhound Team ]

scotty and poppy, just a market research question. How much would you be willing to spend on a corkage fee? If the wine retail is $50 would you be willing to pay $50 corkage? $25? what if the bottle were $100 retail. Just curious and jfood has no dog in this hunt.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i don't know if i would do $25, it would probably depend on the class level of the restaurant but seeing as i consider it poor form, the swankier the place the less likely i would be to do it. actually saw a guy (american, sadly) do it at the wallhouse in st. barths. the owner's face became the poster for brave smiles.

    3 Replies
    1. re: poppy

      i should probably qualify my ranting by saying bringing a wine to one's club is fine if the club permits it, of course, and ok to a restaurant on where you were personal friends of the management and it was a slow night, and they would be sharing the bottle with you.

      1. re: poppy

        thanks P and here is jfood's point. If a restaurant has a 50% margin on the bottle menu price, then the $50 would appear on the menu as $100. So the customer bringiing the $50 bottle "costs" the restaurant $50 in profit. Jfood understands the argument that people might not buy the $50 retail / $100 menu bottle and opt for a $25 retail / $50 menu bottle so the restaurant is only losing $25. Double that for the $100 retail bottle. (Not taking into consideration of wholesale purchases by restaurant).

        So until some middle ground comes up where it is net even for both customer and restaurant or at least within a stone's throw this debate will continue. Fortunately jfood is outside looking in.

        1. re: jfood

          sadly, i think the only reason people byob is b/c they have short arms and deep pockets. i say let the restauranteur earn a living.
          and btw, with all the money you're saving on the beverage portion of your check (not to mention aspirin the next day, :-) ), why not treat all ch-ers to lunch!


        this was a subthread of a subthread...the previous posts were of a specific restaurant...AND it was not a desire to create this. Mods can delete the wholethread if they want.

        1. Not much. I understand that with the food, you are paying for the rent/electricity, etc., for people to prep the food, cook the food (with skill and creativity), serve the food, wash the dishes, and on top of that the risk that the food will go bad before someone orders it. The markups on alcohol are ridiculous- unless it is a spectacular restaurant, chances are the wine is not being stored in a climate controlled wine cellar, and it doesn't take much skill to open and pour a bottle of wine. BYOB, the house isn't paying much for storage- you're paying for someone two wash those two glasses, which cost the dishwasher ~ 5 min max and he/she is probably only getting paid $5-10/hour depending on geography. By bringing my bottle of wine, I"m not costing the restaurant $25/$40/etc., because I wouldn't have purchased a bottle of wine otherwise. Most restaurants impose high corkage fees to discourage people from BYOB. If a restaurant has a high corkage fee, I won't bring a bottle, and because they mark up the wine obscenely, I'm not going to order it. I'm just going to ask for water.

          3 Replies
          1. re: QSheba

            I really don't understand the whole concept. Why bring your own bottle of wine to a restaurant that sells wine?

            1. re: winston1

              Because their wine list might be hideous.

              1. re: winston1

                You may not like their wine list, or you may have been saving a particular bottle for a special occasion... We have one bottle that we've been saving since our wedding. We got it as a gift, and we're saving it to celebrate when our baby is born (4 weeks to go!)'s been waiting for that special occasion for a few years now. It's a Bulgarian wine that was given to us by my cousin and his wife (Bulgarian) for our wedding and it may not be a fancy/rare or expensive bottle, but I'm not embarrassed to bring it to a restaurant that serves wine because it's special for us.

                That's one of the great things about PA- so many BYOB only restaurants! You're not stuck paying a 300% markup. If I go to a restaurant w/ a wine list, I'm going to get water because the markup is ridiculous and on principle, I won't pay it. See my previous post about why I have no problem paying the markup on food, but the gouging on alcohol bugs me.