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Jun 6, 2012 12:25 PM

BYOB on MS Gulf Coast

What are some BYOB restaurants in the Biloxi/Gulfport/Ocean Springs area?

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  1. the only restaurant on the coast that I'm aware of that has BYOB is Darwell's in Long Beach. Usually a live band also. The food is outstanding.

    1 Reply
    1. re: stvtunlvzn

      Phoenicia Gourmet in Ocean Springs was also BYOB. The food was excellent there, as well.

    2. Does anyone know exactly what the BYOB laws are in MS, and if different, on the Gulf Coast?

      With the ABC department, and what seems to be a very limited wine list, I am just curious.

      Looking at the Gulf Coast, it appears that the vast majority of the restaurants have the same exact wine lists, give-or-take a bottle, or two. It seemed that only Mary Mahoney had anything of real interest, and I got the impression that they may have been able to grandfather in a existing cellar, but could be wrong.



      6 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Nick Apostle of Nick's in Jackson deserves credit for relaxing some laws. Through Nick's hard work restauranteurs can sell wines that are not normally stocked by the state warehouse.
        Still, the way I read the law you may legally brown bag wine or liquor only if the establishment has a beer-only license.

        An on-premises ABC permittee shall not allow brownbagging on his licensed premises.
        However, the law does not prohibit a beer (only) permittee from allowing consumers/customers from brown-bagging legally purchased alcohol beverages at his premises if in a county wet for alcohol. (If the beer permittee is located in a dry county for alcohol, brownbagging and/or possessing alcohol beverages is illegal.) A beer (only) permittee may sell set-ups to the customer, but may not store on his premises, serve, or otherwise prepare cocktails with brown-bag alcohol beverages. A beer (only) permittee may charge a corkage fee to allow customers to brown-bag.

        1. re: AreBe

          Thank you for that info.

          With but one exception (special year 1er Cru Bdx.), I have never wanted to BYOW, since we are usually flying in, though there are days, that we drive over from NOLA, and one could pick up a special bottle, or two.

          I am more concerned with the wine lists. With but two exceptions, almost everyone seems to have gone from the ABC list, and it appears to be bleak.

          Going back pre-K, we were at a family event at the Gulfport Grand Casino. We did their steakhouse one night, and the wine list was quite good. However, we did several additional meals on property, and things went downhill. The best Chardonnay, to start the meal, was the Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve. After a few night, I complained to my wife, that we needed to go back to the steakhouse, just for better wines. Well, the last night we did the one remaining restaurant, and suddenly, K-J Vintner's Reserve looked good. At least the steakhouse had some decent wines.

          On our last trip, we did Mary Mahoney's in Biloxi, and their wine list was nice. Then, we did a half-dozen other Coast restaurants, and even some wine bars, and the list was horribly predictable - they were almost identical, and not interesting in the least. A friend, who did not move away, explained that what I had encountered was the "ABC List." They were all "the usual suspects," and from the low-end to boot. Last night, we attended an event, out on the Seaway (north side), and the club actually had some good wines, at their upper-end, and at fair restaurant prices, at least to me. They even had nice stemware!!!!! We did, however, use up all their nice glasses.

          Glad to know that things might have changed, and maybe one day, I CAN bring that one Bdx. to the Coast?

          Rather like New Orleans, going back to the late '50s, the Coast was NOT a wine area. Cocktails, and beer took center stage. However, at fine-dining (heck, at almost any) restaurants, a decent wine selection should be offered, at least IMHO. New Orleans IS getting better, and many of the restaurants, that just offered some wines as an afterthought, are now taking it seriously. I think that chef's, like John Besh, are showing others that wine CAN be part of a meal, and is worth taking seriously.

          I greatly appreciate the background, and the info. Hope that things DO change, prior to our next trip back.


          PS - though we are not naturally BYOW folk, it IS interesting to hear the local laws around the US. Though all other counties (think Islands) in Hawai`i allowed BYOW, and allowed opened bottles to be re-corked and taken away, Maui JUST allowed BYOW, like all other counties. The times, they are a'changing.

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            I don't know if things have actually changed here, or have simply remained the same. Back in the 70's I tended bar in a place that was beer only. It was always the rule that if you did not have a liquor license, then it was perfectly acceptable to byob, and many did. And of course many did it to beat the high cost of beer - $0.60 per bottle as opposed to $0.20 for a set-up!

            1. re: Clarkafella

              Thank you. I come from an earlier time.

              Back when I was growing up on the Gulf Coast, there were four liquor laws:

              No liquor could be sold, purchased or consumed, in the state of Mississippi..
              All liquor purchased had to be purchased by people, over 18.
              All liquor sold, had to be sold by people over 18.
              All liquor, purchased consumed, or sold, had to have a “black market tax” stamp, and the tariffs had to be paid to the County Tax Collector, who was the sheriff back then.

              In about 1965, everything changed, and first came the moratorium on liquor sales. Then, there was the referendum on “County Option” for liquor. That led to the institution of the ABC stores, and the “State List” for retailers, and restaurants.

              I have never been impressed with wine lists, in any ABC states, but that might just be me.

              Thank you,


            2. re: Bill Hunt

              When I still lived in Mississippi almost all of my wine came from Martin Wine Cellar or Dorignac's, yes I broke the law transporting from Louisiana into Mississippi but it was worth the risk to avoid the ABC limitation.

              Searching Wine Spectator for wine award winning restaurants in the state turns up 16, and about 5 are on the coast. That's not the best way to select a restaurant, and it won't turn up all of them with good wine lists, but it may help you on your next visit to the coast.

              1. re: AreBe

                Actually, when I head back to the Coast, that is often a "starting point," though WS has let me down horribly, in other locations.