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Nov 30, 2009 02:04 PM

BYOB in Kansas City

What is the deal? Where are the BYOB's in KC? Are there any? Is it against the law?

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  1. My sense is that it is relatively easy to get a beer & wine license in KC and not many places try to operate without one, hence few BYOB places as compared to Chicago for instance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BChow

      Yes! We moved from Chicago 2 years ago - and I'm like - where are all the BYOB's! Oh nice to get cheap drinks when you're out and about. Thanks, BChow!

    2. Not BYOB, but Extra Virgin has half price on wine up to $100 on Mondays.
      Michael Smiths has half price on wine up to $100 on Wednesdays.
      The American has half price on wine over $200 on Tuesdays.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alsamuelson

        half price bottles at La Cucina di Mamma Tues/Weds (brookside) and their bottles are pretty reasonable already - $12 or so half price.

        1. re: alsamuelson

          Looks like you can get half-priced bottles almost any weeknight in KC! Grand Street Cafe has 'em on Thursdays on bottles, I believe, up to $80

          Grand Street Cafe
          100 N Grand St, Clarence, MO 63437

        2. Zest in Leawood/Mission Farms lets you bring your own wine and there is a $20 corkage fee per bottle. They have changed chefs since they opened and the dinner I had there last week was excellent. Fantastic butternut squash salad.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SFLisa

            Good to know. I was underwhelmed for the price when I first went, but may give them another try now. It's going to be difficult to go there instead of Room 39, though!

          2. I've been told by various restaurant owners that it is illegal in the State of Missouri. Don't know about Kansas law.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kanders54

              Yes, it is illegal in KC,MO. You can byob in the suburbs, just not in KC itself. If caught, the restaurant gets a $15,000 fine and loses it liquor license. Why some places still do it is beyond me! Can't tell you how many arguments we have w/customers about this.

            2. It'd be nice to see things go to way of no corkage fee, at least on certain evenings. Two of the hottest restaurants in Des Moines, Django ( and Azalea ( don't charge corkage fees at all. Others like Centro ( do no corkage on Sunday nights. Any places do that in the 'burbs?

              1007 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

              Django Restaurant
              210 10th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

              13 Replies
              1. re: jhojati

                I don't understand this. As a long time resident of NE JoCo, I would LOVE to patronize a restaurant that would NOT charge a fee for opening my wine bottle (I can do that just fine at my table, thank you) on off nights when they are trying to increase business. I love cooking so we mostly eat-in; but I'd love to patronize restaurants that would allow us to bring the wines we've carted in from around the world to the dinners. Sheez.

                1. re: sara722003

                  I am waiting to here from Ks restaurants, WHY exactly they won't permit a BYOB on slow nights. Seems like MO laws require it, but NOT KS, so what gives?

                  Are there restaurants out there NOT wanting to bring in foodies who would genuinely appreciate a break from the kitchen on a sunday or monday night?? Help please.

                  1. re: sara722003

                    KC, Mo has a law against byob. Kansas is apparently more wishy washy on the legality, which may account for some restaurants reticence, but I'm guessing here. I found this, but it's mostly about a notorious spot in Lawrence:

                    I've heard, and I have no personal experience at this restaurant, that Westchase Grill in Leawood allows byob with no corkage Sundays and Mondays. I used to like the space when it was 40 Sardines...

                    1. re: amyzan

                      amyzan, you've GOTTA be kidding. It can't be so opaque that normal folks can't understand the rules. ????!!!xxxx@@! Who do I need to lean on to clear this up in the KS legislature?? (like I can, but I have a huge social network that will help ;-)

                      1. re: sara722003

                        I'm not here to argue the feasibility or ethics of BYOB. But, I find it quirky that you're so surprised that KS law is unclear on the issue. Perhaps you haven't lived here long? The KS legislature is well known for being FAR from progressive and or even obtuse on many issues. It's common for legislators to shy away from any legislation that might threaten their constituency's support. All I can say is "Good luck" if you take this one on...

                    2. re: sara722003

                      I understand and fully support restaurateurs who don't offer it on principle. Beverages and the bar make up a large portion of a restaurant's income. You don't get to take your own soup with you either. I don't like the whole concept of BYOB to save a few bucks. If you don't want to pay the restaurant's prices, then vote with your pocketbook and don't go at all.

                      That being said, I think restaurants are very stupid with ridiculous markups on wine sometimes. I rolled my eyes recently when I saw a bottle of Walnut Crest marked up to $30. Its retail price is normally $5 around here (and it's terrible). That is simply obscene and stupid on the restaurant's part.

                      Lidia's has a $28 list with some very drinkable bottles, all at about a 100 - 120% markup over retail (probably something like 200% for their wholesale price). And I hear from someone who works there that they sell a lot more bottles per table than the other places she's worked. Same strategy would be smart for desserts, in my opinion. I know a place in Atlanta where all the desserts are $2, 2- or 3-bite servings, and they sell the heck out of them. Now that many fine dining desserts are breaking the $10 mark, I don't go for them often myself any longer.

                      1. re: dmd_kc

                        I agree that it shouldn't be an expectation - I don't necessarily think that taking your wine to save money should be a norm. I'd like to see people using more discretion in bringing wine, as in bringing bottles you absolutely love but can't find, or something that is from/for a special occasion. That said, I think no corkage fee days are a great way to attract new customers/bulk up business on slow nights.

                        And although a little off topic, I do agree with you about the mini-desserts (even unfortunate chains like PF Changs have picked up on this) - I'd much rather have a bite or two of one or two things than have a 2 lb. piece of chocolate cake brought and have only 1/4 of it eaten.

                        1. re: jhojati

                          No one is discussing bringing 'soup' to a restaurant where you compete with something the chefs actually worked on! And while many people use it as a gesture to save $$ on a meal, many of us want to bring wines that we love from our own cellars, to pair with some excellent cuisine. I rarely eat out, and when I do, I'm always searching for someplace that will either charge a very small corkage fee or per chance nothing to BYOB, and then I've found a restaurant I'll support on ANY AND ALL of their slow nights. This is a niche that simply isn't being pursued.

                          1. re: sara722003

                            If you want to "support" a restaurant, you purchase its products. Again, beverages supply a huge, huge part of its operating revenues. You keep it in business by paying money for the things it sells. Pretty simple.

                            And also again, BYOB is illegal in KCMO and questionable on the Kansas side (where they aren't known for their lenient stances on alcohol), so you are looking at something risky for the restaurant you wish to "support." They can lose their liquor license by letting you consume your carry-in beverage.

                            Restaurants charge a lot for soda, too, so do you bring in your Walmart 99-cent two-liter when you get a hamburger? After all, Coke does taste best out of a plastic bottle -- far better than from a tap. I make coffee much better than anyplace in town other than Room 39 and Webster House. I don't ask for a cup to pour my thermos out into.

                            And if it's so important to you that you drink the magical wine from home, are you really, really annoyed by a fee in the $20 range, which is about the max I've ever encountered? After all, you're asking them to let you use their glassware, in addition to losing the revenue.

                            Room 39
                            1719 West 39th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111

                            Webster House
                            1644 Wyandotte St, Kansas City, MO 64108

                            1. re: dmd_kc

                              So if it's as cut and dried as you say, dmd, why did Beth at Succotash have us as her regular clients for years in City Mkt (in MO) on Wed evenings, for YEARS, while she did the cooking, and then had her servers bring us glasses and allow us to serve ourselves wine that we'd brought from our own homes?? We were joined by legions of KC folks who obviously thought the same way.

                              I haven't been to their new site yet, (letting the dust settle), but I still search out chefs who want us to try their FOOD, not fizzy water, tap water, wine or champagne to accompany our meal. Just the BASICS. Like I said, I'm an accomplished 'chef' myself. I'll indulge in other's cuisine when they help me out!

                              1. re: sara722003

                                First of all, I was rude -- and I apologize very sincerely.

                                I know lots of restaurateurs let people bring in wine. I had some very nice meals at Sun Ray Cafe with my own bottles (though the owner did indeed pour himself a glass every once in a while -- not charming to me).

                                I can't speak for why anyone would take the chance, because losing a liquor license can be a kiss of death. (Did the old Succotash even have a license? I don't think they did. I don't know if they'll have one in the new location, but I'm not fond of the food or especially the service, so I won't be trying it.)

                                I've just never understood the concept except in a place such as Montreal where it's the rule. My sister's best friend is a waiter at one of the high-end steakhouses, where the average tab pushes very close to $100 per person. And she has had patrons actually ask her to open a bottle of Yellow Tail shiraz. I feel if you can't afford to enjoy the meal you want at a restaurant, you should either save till you can do it as you like, or merely content yourself by nursing a single glass through your entree to keep the costs under control.

                                Again, I am appalled by the markup at many restaurants, and think it's bad business. I'm in no way defending the 300% and 400% over retail that I've seen often.

                                I do shop at Walmart, all the time. A good half of my grocery dollars are spent there and at Aldi.

                                Sun Ray
                                813 W 17th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

                                1. re: dmd_kc

                                  As much as I love 801 Chop House, they are guilty of exorbitant markups on wine.

                                  801 Chop House
                                  71 East 14th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105

                              2. re: dmd_kc

                                PS, dmd, I've never graced the doors of a Walmart my entire life. And I hope never to do so.