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Ever take anything but wine or beer to a BYOB?

I think, at least in NJ, BYOBs are restricted to beer or wine. I usually prepare a Beefeater martini at home in a shaker and show up with the shaker and martini glass, besides a bottle of wine, at a BYOB restaurant. Have never experienced any resistance. Any other experiences?

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  1. I have heard the same thing regarding NJ and it only suppose to be beer and wine. I only drink Vodka however and the handful of fine dining BYOB that I frequent have never questioned me when I bring a bottle of vodka with me. Oh and I'm in New Jersey.

    1. I recently went to a BYO place with a friend from Trinidad, who brought along a bottle of rum for us to share. I thought for sure we'd get some flack from the management, but nope -- they brought us rocks glasses and a bucket of ice, and we had a very enjoyable meal. (This was in Washington State, FYI.)

      1. In my locale, NC, they have different types of byob's. Some places will let you byob liquor while others will only let you do wine or beer.

        1. We have a short list of BYOB in Pa we like enough to frequent
          from DC and frequently see ABV above 18% being served near us.

          1. In Philadelphia, we went to a Brazilian rodizio place and we brought rum (in place of cachaca) and limes and they made caipirinhas for us.

            There is also a BYO Mexican place here that will make you margaritas if you bring your own tequila.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Philly Ray

              I know this is an old post, but I once went to a BYO Brazilian place in Philly's Northeast. We brought a bottle of cachaca and a bag of limes, which we relinquished to our server upon arrival. The caipirinha-maker in the kitchen did a good job of mixing drinks for us. At the end of the evening, the bottle and unused limes were returned to us.

              1. re: Philly Ray

                There's a Thai place near us in the Philly burbs that is BYOV - they prepare pitchers of juice, you supply the vodka.

              2. Every state is different.

                Some states, for example, will let you BYOB, period. Others will let you, but ***only*** in establishments that do NOT have a liquor license. Others will only let you bring in wine and/or beer; others will let you bring in spirits, as well. And so on and so on and so on . . . .

                FWIW, I've never seen anyone -- that I can recall -- bringing in a bottle of distillate into a restaurant or bar within California. I honestly don't know if you can do it legally or not.

                1 Reply
                1. re: zin1953

                  OK, so with all this focus (below) on New Jersey, I finally got around to asking the State of California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) about the rules and regulations here . . .

                  According to the email I received from the Trade Enforcement Unit of the California ABC:

                  1) The restaurant first of all MUST hold a valid Alcoholic Beverage license issued by the State of California. These must be one or more of the following: Type 41 or 42 (on-sale beer & wine), and/or Type 47 or 48 (on-sale general [distilled spirits]).

                  2) It is UNLAWFUL to bring in your own bottle(s) into an UNLICENSED establishment, in violation of Section 25604 of the Business & Professions Code of the State of California.

                  3) If a restaurant has only a Type 41 or 42 (on-sale beer & wine) license, then ONLY bottle(s) of beer and/or wine may be brought into the establishment -- no distilled spirits.

                  4) Only in restaurants which have been issued a Type 47 or 48 (on-sale general) may patrons bring in bottle(s) of distilled spirits.

                  5) Licensed restaurants where BYOB is legal according to the above restrictions can establish their own policies regarding corkage, and can set their own limits as to the number of bottles patrons are permitted to bring in, if any.

                  One other note: Section 23396.5 of the ABC Act permits customers to leave a licensed premises with open containers of wine that have been PURCHASED FROM THE RESTAURANT (that is, you can bring your leftover wine home). However, if you BYOB, then you haven't purchased the wine from the restaurant, and you cannot bring any opened-but-unfinished bottles of wine home. Opened-but-unfinished beer and distillates (presuming the establishment has the proper licenses) cannot be brought home -- only wine.


                  Reminder: the above ONLY applies to California. Every state is different.

                2. Under New Jersey Law, it is a Disorderly Perspns offence to permit a patron to drink anything but wine or beer in an establishment that does not have a liquor license. The owner is subject to criminal punishment, as well as the possibility of losing the ability to permit the consumption of beer and wine:

                  "NJSA 2C:33-27

                  Consumption of alcohol in restaurants.
                  a. No person who owns or operates a restaurant, dining room or other public place where food or liquid refreshments are sold or served to the general public, and for which premises a license or permit authorizing the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has not been issued:
                  (1) Shall allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages, other than wine or a malt alcoholic beverage, in a portion of the premises which is open to the public; or
                  (2) Shall charge any admission fee or cover, corkage or service charge or advertise inside or outside of such premises that patrons may bring and consume their own wine or malt alcoholic beverages in a portion of the premises which is open to the public.
                  (3) Shall allow the consumption of wine or malt alcoholic beverages at times or by persons to whom the service or consumption or alcoholic beverages on licensed premises is prohibited by State or municipal law or regulation. "

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: MGZ

                    While it is illegal to allow, or consume distilled spirits in NJ in any establishment.....it really comes down to whether or not the establishment or other patron will complain or report it to the proper authorities. Enforcement is done on a local police level, and not at the state level with the ABC concerning dining patrons. If the establishment is in violation of a statute, then the ABC does get involved.

                    To add to the confusion......and bureaucracy

                    * It is illegal to advertise that you are a BYOB restaurant. If you do, you can be fined for being in violation of the ABC Guidelines...if they find out on their own, or by being reported.(cited above)

                    * As a BYOB restaurant , you cannot promote a wine event in conjunction with a food promotion with any wine company or distributor participating in the restaurant.....or in other word, no free wine with dinners.

                    * Some municipalities, Manasquan comes to mine ... charges a fee to be BYOB under the pretense and guise the police need to know where liquor is being consumed within the boundaries of the municipality...but really, they
                    are just thieves.

                    * Just because a restaurant does not own a liquor license means it is BYOB. To be BYOB, the owner of the establishment needs to allow you to bring alcohol onto his premises.....If he chooses not to allow Liquor to be consumed inside his business, you have no inherent right to do so.....Jameson's in Neptune is an example of this policy.

                    * I do not believe it has changed, but you are allowed to BYOB in any restaurant that does hold a liquor license....but the establishment MUST charge you a *Corkage Fee* if you bring in your own wine or beer. I mention it has not changed with regard to the fee for corkage. There are some restaurants with licenses that promote, e.g., BYOB nights to increase business and allow patrons they normally would not see enjoy their food.

                    For the record, I've been known to bring bottles of vodka, scotch or whiskey into restaurants and have never been denied......When I was younger and closed shop at the places I worked at, we would often go to breakfast at a diner....there we used to bring Kahlua, Bailey's and Grand Marnier for out coffee.

                    ...and yes, I knew it was illegal at the time.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Yeah, NJ has some silly laws when it comes to booze. I used to be more prone to bringing in hard drinks, but as I've gotten older I've started to feel that I'm uncomfortable putting someone else in a position to incur criminal liability.

                      On the other hand, a half pint of Cuervo sure fits nicely in the pocket when I go to the movies . . .

                      1. re: MGZ

                        You can thank the State for rewarding the NJ Residents/Veterans who served in WWII....any surviving veteran returning from service was able to receive a liquor license as gratitude for their service.....that's why each town has a limited amount of liquor licenses available and the values attached to them.....

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Sounds like the possible back story to Murphy's in Red Bank, have you ever been there Four?

                          MGZ I'm sure you have been over the years do you know what the true story behind that place is?

                          (FYI Not Murphy's the steak place in downtown I'm talking the bar / old speak easy)

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            Sorry to say I have not.....nor have heard about the place either.....

                            Is it a good spot? Three towns I generally try to stay out of are:

                            Red Bank.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              I'm not sure it rings a bell. Where was it in town?

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Where IS not was......you know where Molly Maguires is down on River Rd? A few blocks prior to Maguires you turn left towards the water (Coming from Red Bank)......directly in the middle of a residential area. (Sorry I only know the way by sight not by actual street names)

                                It's an old Cape Cod home...no sign no parking lot no nothing. My first time there I drove around past it about a dozen times before pulling over and asking someone raking leaves and they pointed it out to me. You walk down the driveway of the home to a side basement door, if the outside light is on it's open! It literally is nothing more than a finished basement....the bar seats about 12 and there is room for another 12+- people and then the place is at capacity.

                                Rumor is it was an old speak easy back during prohibition and like today if the side light was on that was the code they were open for business. When prohibition was repealed certain speak easy's were grandfathered licenses to serve alcohol. This is supposedly why they are able to operate but cannot advertise or have outside signage of any kind.

                                It's a novelty place supported mostly by Rumson locals. I'll bring a business client's there for the experience of it all but the locals are very discriminating towards "outsiders" visiting the place. One time I made the mistake of beating a local at shuffleboard and was quickly made aware my presence was no longer welcome there for the night.

                                But as I said it is literally not much more than a nicely finished basement bar you would find in many homes except it is open to the public for business....if you can find it!

                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                  The place sounds terrific, but I've never been there. Frankly, I don't think they would have been to thrilled to have an eighteen year old RBC football player walk in for several reasons. Besides, I was a kid from Manasquan. The "newer" folks in Rumson frowned upon us - as they did the third and fourth generation locals that they paid to mow their massive lawns and shovel the snow out of their driveways.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    Well like I said the place still is there I will try to make a note of its exact location next time I'm in the area. Since your not 18 anymore they will be a little more accommodating I'm sure.

                        2. re: fourunder

                          +1,000,000,000. "but really, they are just thieves."

                        3. I remember I was at Rodeio Grill (rodizio place) and this crew of guys roll in with a giant cooler full of beer and a 1.75 of Jack daniels. I am talking about a 100 quart cooler LOL

                          These guys were serious and I had no idea how long they planned to stay.

                          I have seen people bring hard liquor and I have never seen a restaurant say anything (although MGZ has pointed out it is illegal)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: corvette johnny

                            CJ, how much is the corkage on something like that ??
                            If the restaurant was say on a boardwalk somewhere, then *maybe* you could
                            pull off wheeling in a cooler, but otherwise, I think it's a depreciative thing to do.
                            I wouldn't want to be dining anywhere near those guys to be very honest with you ... especially not after they've enjoyed Jacks, beer, and an unlimited assortment of meat. Heck no.

                          2. I was at a family pizza place in Erie, PA last year and a large group of middle aged and seniors came in, around 12-14 of them. They brought 2 liter bottles of soda and 1.75 liter bottles of whiskey and rum, and made huge drinks in the 16-18 oz glasses the restaurant supplied. I guess getting totally crocked was the only way to enjoy the food.

                            I ordered their lasagna. I immediately wished I had one of thse huge whiskey and sodas in my hand. I never had lasagna that had grape jelly in the red sauce before.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JMF

                              Grape jelly in the red sauce? Maybe they let the kids cook that day.

                              I had a burger at a place in Raleigh that had blue cheese and cherry marmalade on it. Sounded odd but it was quite good. Inspired me to try some hot pepper jelly and blue cheese on a salmon burger, which also turned out to be quite good.

                            2. In addition to wines/beer l often bring an aperitif of odd provenance and strange liqueurs for after.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                I'd even be tempted to bring in some cheese from home too alongside that. :-)

                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                  l have, and been kicked out of Prune in Manhattan, but allowed in all other places l have BYOC

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Lucky you. I've been scolded twice for bringing my own cheese plate (years ago), so I stopped doing that for a while now. Surprisingly, McSorley's hasn't scolded me ever ... I guess I have BYOC there since their cheese platter is truly pitiful.

                              2. In PA it is typically restaurants without license that encourage BYOB (and despite PA's usually restrictive laws they are allowed to advertise it, probably because nobody ever thought to make a law against that). I believe they can allow it with a license as well though. Corkage if any is up to the establishment. Some will be well set with glassware, etc. if they encourage this.

                                As far as beyond wine/beer, there was at least one BYOB place in this area (Pittsburgh) that made their own mixers and encouraged you to bring vodka/gin/etc to mix in them. The place has since closed but that always seemed like a cool idea to me.

                                Another quirk: unlicensed places can give away at least wine for free, at least with a meal (another thing they probably never thought to outlaw). The same place as above used to sometimes have free sangria. I've heard of places having free wine with dinner. Nothing beyond those though, not sure if beer or spirits are allowed or not.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CrazyOne

                                  one of our local Mexican places does free Margaritas. the food is good, but we never go there because people totally take advantage of the free booze and it gets quite loud