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Best BYOBs in the City

Looking for some new byob's, not Asian though, thoughts? suggestions?

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  1. I enjoyed a recent meal at HB Home Bistro on North Halsted.

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    HB Home Bistro
    3404 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657

    1. Are you looking for best BYOB (per title) or new BYOB (per post body)? For Best BYOB, I would go for Bonsoiree. Besides awesome food and friendly (but still professional) services, they also have recommendations on which wines you should bring (to best pair with their menu).

      www.theskinnyduck.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: theskinnyduck

        meant best byob, hoping to see some new names i might have missed or forgotten about, checked old posts and they were pretty old in terms of dates so seeing if the summer has brought out any new names btw Ive been to Bonsoiree, I agree, it was fantastic

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        Bonsoiree
        2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

      2. Are you asking about byob a place without license or places that have lists and allow corkage?

        9 Replies
          1. re: ajpocp

            I've byob'd at MK, Primehouse, Naha and, Boka and Tru all at different corkage prices. Les Nomades allows one btl. no corkage on Thurs., IIRC. I have also discussed corkage with Pane Caldo, Blackbird, and Spiaggia and all were o.k. with it.

            But as always, call first and I generally get the name of the person I spoke with just in case.

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            Boka
            1729 North Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614

            Les Nomades
            222 E Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611

            Spiaggia
            980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

            Naha
            500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

            Pane Caldo
            72 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

            1. re: HoosierFoodie

              You'll definitely want to ask in advance about corkage fees (which are only legal at restaurants which have a liquor license). I've heard that some places charge as much as $35 a bottle, which could come as a shock if you haven't asked ahead of time.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                When calling for confirmation I've never had the restaurant confirm the price during the phone call.

                1. re: HoosierFoodie

                  I find that surprising. Have you actually asked and they refused to tell you? Or did you only ask whether you could bring a bottle and they just answered yes or no?

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    Wow sorry,...No, I've never had them NOT tell me the price when I've called. It seems to me that more and more places are allowing byob. Its not legal in Indiana which sucks.

                2. re: nsxtasy

                  Yeah, I agree that corkage fee can be insane. The French Laundry charges $75 per bottle.

                  www.theskinnyduck.com

                  1. re: theskinnyduck

                    Still, if one was going to order, for instance, a Premier Cru Burgundy that you can buy at the store for $100.00 it may be well over $175.00 on the restaurant list so it can still be a relative value. For me it really depends on the restaurant.

                    1. re: HoosierFoodie

                      Sometimes it's not even a matter of money, but rather, a matter of wanting a particular wine that a restaurant doesn't have on their list, either for its inherent qualities or because it's of sentimental value.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              thx nsxtasy...i found the first link before i posted but didnt see the second one which is much more recent

            2. Tango Sur. Argentine. Meat. Huge portions---we brought home not a doggie bag but a shopping bag.

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              Tango Sur
              3763 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

              1. Not nearly as fancy a BYOB option as many replies here but during the summer on their great patio I think Irazu is a great BYOB to spend an evening.

                1. I may get lambasted for this, but Schwa is, hands down, the best BYOB in the city.

                  The closest true BYOB contender is probably Bonsoiree, but is still a full step down from the quality, creativity, and execution of the food at Schwa.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: aburkavage

                    Of course, there's a significant possibility Schwa may cancel your reservation on you at the last minute, as they've done to so many others. No thanks.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      It's a small price to pay for, arguably, the most interesting dining experience in America!

                      1. re: aburkavage

                        Maybe you think it's okay for a restaurant to force its customers to go through hoops just to make a reservation, then let them make all kinds of plans to get together with friends for a special-occasion dinner, only to tell them at the last minute that they can't go, and have to change all their plans; I sure don't. Maybe you think it's okay for this to happen over and over again; I sure don't. Maybe you think it's okay for a restaurant to tell customers they have "plumbing problems" when cancelling their reservations, while the same evening a celebrity is tweeting about how much he is enjoying his dinner there; I sure don't. With 20,000 restaurants in the Chicago area, the other 19,999 of them won't treat their customers with such arrogance and inconsideration in this way, so there are plenty of alternatives. NO THANKS!!!

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          19,998 of those restaurants have food that pale in comparison to Schwa.

                          I don't condone the sketchy practice of cancelling reservations at the last minute. In fact, my very first reservation got cancelled 6 hours before we were scheduled to sit down (my birthday, mind you). I was furious! When we managed to secure another reservation – much easier this time around - I had a meal that I will truly never forget. The food was outstanding, the service was surprisingly flawless, and the chefs were truly grateful to be serving their creations to people who couldn’t wait to dig in.

                          I get it – Schwa’s not for everyone. If you choose to voice your displeasure with a restaurant by refusing to walk through its doors, you are well within your right to do so. However, the OP asked for the "Best BYOBs in the City." Toward that end, I will stand by my statement that Schwa stands head and shoulders above the rest.

                          1. re: aburkavage

                            I can't agree more! My meal at Schwa was the most memorable restaurant experience I've ever had. I also have no explanation for the sudden cancellations so many have experienced. But I can only judge from my own first hand experience with Michael Carlson and staff. I won't get into details due to the private personal nature of the situation. Though I will say my experience totally contradicts the theory that he is uncaring in regards to his customers. On the contrary, I found him to be one of the kindness and most generous people I've ever met.

                            And all jokes aside. If by chance my reservation happens to get canceled? My opinion won't change. All will not be lost as life is to short, I'll pick up a case or two of Three Floyds and start heading east back home.

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                            Three Floyds
                            Munster, Munster, IN

                              1. re: oysterspearls

                                Uh oh! Did your reservation get cancelled last minute?

                                1. re: aburkavage

                                  Yes, quite the disappointment after such a long drive. Seth called about three hours prior to our reservation stating the AC was not working properly. Went on to say food quality could not be maintained in such heat and Chef won't jeopardize standards in such case and decided to close.

                                  I think there is an air of mystery surrounding these sudden closings. And no doubt when something is unknown speculation will run rampant. At least on a positive note I can say in my case there was no underlining deception or cover up. Before leaving Chicago I stopped by and spoke to Michael the next day. It was at least 10-12 degrees cooler that day then the one before. Even so it was extremely hot and it showed. I have no doubt the cancellation could not be avoided and was truthful. I gladly will return.

                          2. re: nsxtasy

                            I will be visiting Schwa next week for the second time. In each case I had no problem making a reservation as someone picked up after only a few attempts. Though I have no doubt it was surely luck on my part.

                            If this meal is half as good as my first I will be more then happy. But by chance if anyone hears a echoing scream piercing through the city next week you will know they canceled. After driving close to 1000 miles just for dinner I doubt there will be any other option other then screaming. LOL

                      2. re: aburkavage

                        Schwa can be counted on for "interesting" and unorthodox food preparations, but in my experience and IMO, not always wonderful food. By contrast Bonsoiree is consistently superb. And, like nsxtasy, I'm not interested in Schwa's quirkiness and flakiness.

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                        Bonsoiree
                        2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

                        1. re: chicgail

                          I have nothing wrong with the food at Bonsoiree. In fact, I had a very lovely meal there recently. However, I contend that its food is not so outstanding as to distinguish itself from any number of other fine restaurants in Chicago.

                          Schwa is truly in a league of its own. I mean, who would have thought that crab, mushrooms, and plantains could taste so good together?!

                          1. re: aburkavage

                            Schwa is definitely unique. Unfortunately sometimes unique isn't best. "Food that distinguishes itself from any number of other fine restaurants in Chicago" does not always mean a great meal. At least in my world.

                            My experience at Schwa was disappointing with our meal starting out with three or four too sweet "savory" dishes. Just not in a hurry to go back. Glad you liked it.

                          2. re: chicgail

                            I can honestly say Bonsoiree is the worst michelin star restaurant I've ever experienced. To paraphrase a woody allen joke "The food is terrible and the portions are too small".

                            My wife and I had the "underground" menu a few months ago and it was a complete disaster. There wasn't one dish we really liked. The service was snotty too. To top it off we were hungry a few hours later. Blah!

                            Schwa on the other hand rocked my world.

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                            Bonsoiree
                            2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

                            1. re: PopMegaphone

                              As my mother used to say, "that's why there's chocolate and vanilla." Something for everyone.