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Please recc your favorite (higher end) BYOB

I'm taking my husband to Philly in late March for his birthday and his best friend and his wife are going to meet us. I'm looking for a great BYOB where we can actually have a conversation. I'd like the food to be American, New American, seafood, steakhouse or some sort of asian or asian/fusion. Since we will be able to bring our own wine, pricing isn't really an issue. We are staying in downtown Philly, so I'd like to eat downtown as well.

We will probably go to Tria for drinks beforehand.

I did a chowhound search and didn't see anything on thsi topic, but if I missed a post/thread, please post the link. A few places I'm looking at are: Matyson, Pumpkin, Fond, Cochon, and Bistro 7

Also, a question for a BYOB newbie - can you only bring wine, or can you bring hard alcohol in a flask as well?

Thanks!

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  1. Drinks before at Tria? Matyson is around the corner. Done and done.

    1. I know that places like Lolita encourage you to bring tequila and provide mixers. That said, the issue may more be with PA open container laws. If you are driving with an open bottle of wine or liquor, you will not get into trouble with the police if you put it in your trunk. I am not sure if a flask would be considered an open container or not, but driving I would err on the side of caution and put it in your trunk.

      I second the recommendation for Matyson. I am heading there tonight for their lobster tasting . If you are in Philadelphia on a Monday-Thursday, the Matyson tasting menu which usually ranges around $45 - $55 dollars is a great value. Small space that you can definitely hear yourself think, with good service and creative food.

      1. I like Matyson but wouldn't recommend it as a place out-of-towners must visit. Fond is the best place on that list, I'd say Bistro 7 and Pumpkin are tied for second (out of the places the OP listed), Matyson is slightly below those two. Some people find Fond to be too noisy, I've never had a problem though. It's not downtown, it's in South Philly. Cochon doesn't belong on the list, it's pretty French and if you're going to a French BYO you want to go to Bibou.

        You can bring any alcohol you want to a BYO but why would you want to bring hard alcohol? It doesn't exactly pair with food, and very few places offer mixers to go with it.

        My favorite BYOs in the city, cuisine type notwithstanding, are Bibou, Fond, Kanella, Koo Zee Doo, Han Dynasty, and Modo Mio. Kanella is the closest to where you'll be (I'm guessing, "downtown" isn't that exact).

        6 Replies
        1. re: Buckethead

          Thanks for your great comments Buckethead. What do you like about Pumpkin? I never have had the pleasure going there. The menus look like they source locally, but the menus never struck me as that "ingenious." Have you been there recently?

          1. re: cwdonald

            I was there maybe 8 months ago. I agree the food is simple, but they do a good job of picking good ingredients and not screwing them up. I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite BYOs in the city (I've only been there maybe three times over the years) but the OP mentioned it by name. It's also very small and quiet.

          2. re: Buckethead

            An after dinner cognac would be nice!

            1. re: Bigley9

              You're right! I guess I forgot about the pre- and after-dinner drink possibility. And I've definitely seen a few people practically bring their own bar into a BYO, 750ml bottles of vodka, mixers, etc.

            2. re: Buckethead

              There have been occasions when we've brought cognac, or vin santo, or Moscato d'Asti to have with dessert or a cheese course after dinner.

              1. re: Buckethead

                l feel Cochon is very good, yes Bibou is as well, l will going there tonight, but Cochon, Modo Mio, Bibou and Han Dynasty would be my list. The trouble is, of those Han is the only one with just minor transportation concerns.

              2. I would rate Matyson above Pumpkin or Bistro 7. Consistently good and creative.
                We went to Bistro 7 recently and were very disappointed. My husband doesn't care for Pumpkin.
                Heard great things about Fond but it is not downtown.

                If you won't be drinking a lot by the time you have dinner, perhaps you should consider a place that is not byob. Meritage is one of our favorites, and fits all the other criteria. Take a look at their menu.

                1. For higher end, fond is a great choice. And a new cocktail bar called Stateside just opened up across the street. However, i think the best overall is cochon, tho it's a little louder perhaps. And for cocktails beforehand, Southwark is very close and fantastic. But u can't go wrong with any of your choices. Have fun!