Suggestions Needed For Wine Friendly (BYOB) Restaurants
I am looking for some suggestions for wine friendly restaurants that will allow a group of 8-10 of us bring our own wine for a special meal?
We recently had one of these dinners at Farmhouse Cafe in the private room upstairs and it was a fantastic evening. Rochelle and Chef Olivier went above and beyond to make the whole night memorable. They allowed us to bring as many bottles of wine as we wanted and even paired them with special dishes that they created for the evening.
We will definitely be going back to Farmhouse again, but I was looking for some other suggestions to try. One of the couples does not eat meat or shellfish, but everyone else is eager to try new and interesting wine friendly dishes. We have been to and enjoyed Amaya, Market and Flavor recently (we live in North County). We understand we would need to pay a corkage fee, but many restaurants frown on tables bringing more than 2-3 bottles.
Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
In my experience, restaurants don't exactly have policies regarding corkage for groups that large. It would be handled on a case by case basis. But I know what you mean about "wine-friendly" restaurants; some are much more receptive to the idea than others. Just last week I attended a dinner for 15 in the private room at Arterra. The arrangement reached by the host with the restaurant was that he would purchase two bottles off the list, then corkage for the remaining bottles he brought in was $15, up to 5 bottles, then $30 thereafter. (I'm not saying this was a good deal; just the arrangement that was reached.) I know that Cowboy Star downtown has a nice private room, and they're pretty friendly folks and would probably work with you.
Thanks. You are correct about some restaurants being more receptive than others. We visited Cowboy Star a couple years ago and I must have been on an off night. I have read so many good reviews on this board that I've been meaning to try it again. I will give them a call.
How was the dinner at Arterra? I haven't been in over a year.
"many restaurants frown on tables bringing more than 2-3 bottles"
That's surprising to me for a couple of reasons - one, I wouldn't think they would see too much of this and two, I'm from BYOB haven, S. Jersey across the river from BYOB heaven Philadelphia. We have done wine dinners with a dozen or more bottles and the general reaction has been the more the merrier.
$30 corkage? Might as well buy from the restaurant.
Wine and beer licenses are much easier for restaurants to obtain in these parts, so they all have them. Of course they'd rather sell you their wine at a 3x-4x markup than have you bring your own in, so while they won't be openly hostile about BYOB, not many welcome it. Back east I believe there are lots of nice restuarants without licenses who have no choice but to allow BYOB. And I think those WITH licenses back East either don't allow or frown on the practice.
A $30 corkage is a bargain if you're bringing in a high end wine that costs $40 or more retail, because such a wine will always run well over $100 on the restaurant's list.