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Places that allow corkage


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#1 sara

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:14 PM

Hi

I'd like to get a thread going here that contains a very specific listing of DC restaurants that allow corkage--the nights it is allowed, how much the corkage fee is, and any specific qualifications (i.e. no wines from the existing list; American only, etc).

I know we've discussed this on other threads to some degree, and we've noted that many places will allow it if requested, but having a list with specifics all in one place would be really helpful. So please feel free to 'repeat yourself' here. And if you know a place has no official policy but will do it if asked, list that too.

Thanks
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#2 DonRocks

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:19 PM

Here's Elliot Staren's list of DC-area restaurants that do allow patrons to bring their own wines and pay a corkage. No details are given as to particular policies, so you MUST call the restaurant in advance to arrange it:

http://www.wideworld...t/corkage.shtml

#3 sara

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:20 PM

1. Sushi-Ko. $15 per bottle. Any night. Recommendations: Red or white Burgundy.

2. Charlie Palmer. $25 per bottle. Any night. No charge for American wines.

3. Lavandou. Free corkage on Monday nights.

4. Melrose. Free corkage on Wednesday nights.

5. Equinox. $20 per bottle. Any night.

6. Bistro Francais. $15 per bottle.

7. La Chaumiere. $15 per bottle.

8. The Caucus Room. Tends to waive corkage.

9. Laboratorio. $15 per bottle.

10. 1789. $20 per bottle.

11. Palena. $20 per bottle.

12. Zatinya. $15 per bottle.

13. Cafe Atlantico. Corkage NO LONGER allowed.

14. Komi. $15 per bottle.

15. Gerard's Place. $40 per bottle.

Edited by sara, 15 June 2004 - 12:40 PM.

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#4 sara

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:21 PM

Here's Elliot Staren's list of DC-area restaurants that do allow patrons to bring their own wines and pay a corkage. No details are given as to particular policies, so you MUST call the restaurant in advance to arrange it:

http://www.wideworld...t/corkage.shtml

Yes, I have this. But this is why I want to get a more specific list together, to avoid all that calling and to help with planning wine dinners out. Plus I have a sense that this list may be outdated.
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#5 txaggie

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:32 PM

Lavandou -- You can bring your own wine on Mondays and there is no corkage fee.

#6 DonRocks

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:34 PM

I was chatting with my friend the other night, talking about corkage being "illegal" in Virginia, yet we both know of places that let you bring your own wine (not to be mentioned on this forum, by the way!)

I've heard for years that it is "against the law" to do this in Virginia, but has anyone actually seen a statute, or absent that, can anyone confirm it with certainty?

#7 FunJohnny

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 12:39 PM

News to me and I regularly take advantage at several establishments of the Asian ilk. (Why is it that Chinese restaurants if they even carry wine only stock cat p#**?) What I DO like about VA is that if you order a bottle or three and are unable to finish one, you may replace the cork and take it home with you -- kinda reverse corkage. :biggrin:
Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!
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#8 morela

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:07 PM

Virginia ABC 123





Q: Can a restaurant conduct a private function and allow participants to bring in their own alcoholic beverages

A: Yes, only in a private room that is separate from the public. If the establishment has only one room then the entire restaurant must be closed to the general public.

Edited by morela, 15 June 2004 - 01:08 PM.

...

#9 FunJohnny

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:21 PM

Virginia ABC 123





Q:  Can a restaurant conduct a private function and allow participants to bring in their own alcoholic beverages

A:  Yes, only in a private room that is separate from the public. If the establishment has only one room then the entire restaurant must be closed to the general public.

OK, but that is in the context of a "private function." I'm not sure that this disposes of the question of whether a customer partaking of the regular service in a restaurant in VA amidst other customers may bring in his/her own bottle of vino. Maybe I'm just being too literal...

Edited by FunJohnny, 15 June 2004 - 01:23 PM.

Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!
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#10 morela

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:27 PM

OK, but that is in the context of a "private function." I'm not sure that this disposes of the question of whether a customer partaking of the regular service in a restaurant in VA amidst other customers may bring in his/her own bottle of vino. Maybe I'm just being too literal...

Good Luck, Buddy! Ever take the LSATs?
...

#11 sextons

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:33 PM

Virginia ABC 123





Q:  Can a restaurant conduct a private function and allow participants to bring in their own alcoholic beverages

A:  Yes, only in a private room that is separate from the public. If the establishment has only one room then the entire restaurant must be closed to the general public.

ABC law 4.1-315 "prohibits anyone from possessing alcohol on a licensed premises except that alcohol owned by the licensee and purchased under the owner's license. The only exception is for private parties conducted by legitimate groups in private rooms not accessible to the public. Only then may the licensee allow the group to possess and consume their own lawfully acquired alcohol. The practice of charging a customer a "corkage fee" for personally owned alcohol in not allowed in Virginia."

Bringing alcohol into a private room is not as simple as it may sound here. We discussed this with an ABC agent and the problem with allowing a private party to bring in their own alcohol is that at no time can their alcohol come anywhere near the restaurant's alcohol. :wacko: So say a private group brings their own wine in they can't order any other alcoholic beverages through us - no appertifs, after dinner drinks, etc. Very strange law ....
Some say the glass is half empty, some say the glass is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

#12 Minister of Drink

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:35 PM

No details are given as to particular policies, so you MUST call the restaurant in advance to arrange it:

Definitely call a restaurant to inquire about corkage specifics. Most establishments place a limit on the number of bottles you can bring (often it is only 1 or 2).

A few other thoughts on corkage.... While I am not against it, I believe a restaurant's corkage policy should not be abused, but rather used very sparingly by all -- namely, for those truly special anniversaries (10 years, 25 years, etc...). Most fine restaurants take pride in their wine lists and many offer good juice the public can't always get. On that note, if you do bring your own, make sure it is a killer bottle.... and not your run of the mill plonk -- I know of an incident at a fine DC restaurant that had the misfortune of having a bunch of rubes come in and pull out numerous bottles of garbage for corkage -- a total insult to this establishment's excellent wine selection.

Finally, I don't know if this is the right protocol, but I think you should tip according to the value of the bottle(s) you rolled in with. Maybe it's just me, but as the Minister of Drink, I take all booze matters seriously.

Edited by Minister of Drink, 15 June 2004 - 01:36 PM.

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#13 FunJohnny

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 01:50 PM

Virginia ABC 123





Q:  Can a restaurant conduct a private function and allow participants to bring in their own alcoholic beverages

A:  Yes, only in a private room that is separate from the public. If the establishment has only one room then the entire restaurant must be closed to the general public.

ABC law 4.1-315 "prohibits anyone from possessing alcohol on a licensed premises except that alcohol owned by the licensee and purchased under the owner's license. The only exception is for private parties conducted by legitimate groups in private rooms not accessible to the public. Only then may the licensee allow the group to possess and consume their own lawfully acquired alcohol. The practice of charging a customer a "corkage fee" for personally owned alcohol in not allowed in Virginia."

Bringing alcohol into a private room is not as simple as it may sound here. We discussed this with an ABC agent and the problem with allowing a private party to bring in their own alcohol is that at no time can their alcohol come anywhere near the restaurant's alcohol. :wacko: So say a private group brings their own wine in they can't order any other alcoholic beverages through us - no appertifs, after dinner drinks, etc. Very strange law ....

WoW! This certainly is a bummer. Certainly don't want to get anyone in trouble, but the only reason I would bring in my own wine is if the wine available at the restaurant is sub-par. Althought the wine at those establishments to which I would bring my own bottle is poor, the food is not, but having a good meal without good wine to go along is... well it's a glass half empty :sad:
Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!
- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

#14 Miguelito

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Posted 15 June 2004 - 02:44 PM

A couple more steak places in addition to CP and Caucus Room:

Back when it was good, Nick & Stef's waived their corkage fee for me on more than one occasion -- nice bottles for special occasions where a taste was offered to the staff. Since it has gone downhill, it is no longer in the running for the special occasions in my life anymore, unfortunately.

Ruth's Chris allows corkage for $15 or $20. (I am of two minds on whether the melted butter amounts to cheating, but that has nothing to do with corkage.)

Since I find it difficult to predict in advance what wine I would want when dining at non-steak places, I generally do not bringmy own to other types of establishments.

#15 mhberk

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 06:17 AM

If you're ever in Columbia, there is a place called Iron Bridge Wine Company . It's a wine store/cafe. For the restaurant portion, they offer cheese and fruit trays, soups, salads, sandwiches, and 5 or 6 fairly creative entrees (as well as desserts). They are also a full retail wine store as well (the bottles are on shelves along the outside of the restaurant portion of the building). What makes this place unique is that it is that you can buy a bottle of wine at retail, and for a $5 fee, you can drink it with your meal. They provide the proper glasswear.

It's worth checking out if you're in the area.
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

#16 Al_Dente

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 07:01 AM

If you're ever in Columbia, there is a place called Iron Bridge Wine Company . It's worth checking out if you're in the area.

The staff is friendly too! They do various wine flights and serve up some good cheese plates.
peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...
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#17 mhberk

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Posted 16 June 2004 - 09:17 AM

If you're ever in Columbia, there is a place called Iron Bridge Wine Company .  It's worth checking out if you're in the area.

The staff is friendly too! They do various wine flights and serve up some good cheese plates.

Wow, you DO get around!! :biggrin:
(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me
Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?
Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.
Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

#18 sextons

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 11:08 AM

WoW! This certainly is a bummer. Certainly don't want to get anyone in trouble, but the only reason I would bring in my own wine is if the wine available at the restaurant is sub-par. Althought the wine at those establishments to which I would bring my own bottle is poor, the food is not, but having a good meal without good wine to go along is... well it's a glass half empty :sad:

In spite of the laws there are some Virginia restaurants that will allow you to bring in your own wine. Especially if you're a regular or it's a special occasion, quiet night, etc. I will never understand some of these ABC laws ...
Some say the glass is half empty, some say the glass is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

#19 FunJohnny

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 11:43 AM

Sure, I suppose one can continue to take advantage of either their ignorance of this particular technicality or willful violation, and let the chips fall.
Since this regulation doesn't seem to be serving any public good that I can imagine, assume it's serving special interests, i.e. the wine distributors of VA. Even if that's the case it still seems pretty silly since most people bringing a bottle into a VA licensed establishment would probably have obtained their wine from a store in VA also served by the distributors. :hmmm:
Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!
- From the South Park Mexican Starring Frog from South Sri Lanka episode

#20 sdelgato

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 02:34 PM

one things gripes me about bringing wine into restaurants... restaurants, especially in our current economic up and downs, are in the business of selling food and drink. why do people get so uppity when they are told they cannot bring their own bottle? Why would you want to pay someone 20 bucks to "open and pour"? That to me seems more ridiculous and a bigger waste of money. There are restaurants everywhere with affordable wine lists. Seek them out and frequent them. Reward them for not gouging the dining public. Off my soap box now. You may resume your regular programming.
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#21 sara

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 03:02 PM

I was trying to get a simple list going and it devolved into a big debate...ah, well...

Look, BYO is very common in wine-friendly states, especially California, where they often don't even charge a corkage. I really don't see this is as a slight to restaurants, but rather a nice way to enjoy a better bottle of wine and/or save a little money. I'd much rather pay $20 corkage to bring a $30 bottle of wine than pay $70-80 or up for that same bottle. The huge markups at many restaurants is thus the main deterrent. In other cases, it's simply the choices--there's something I'd rather drink, and that's my prerogative. What's the big deal? In states where liquor licenses are especially expensive and/or hard to get, this is also common, like Philly, where I've been living and loving the BYO situation.

Anyways, I'm sure there will be more debate on this, but please don't think that a desire to bring a bottle of my own wine to a restaurant equates with insulting sommeliers, waiters, or whole restaurants. sldelgato, I do frequent restaurants with more reasonably priced wine lists more often than not, but there's not a plethora of them in DC that also have good food. Mark S has gone into the reasons for the big markups in the past, but it still doesn't make it easier to stomach a $35 sticker price on an $8 bottle of wine!

Sara
Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.
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#22 sdelgato

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 03:19 PM

What if you brought a couple of t-bones in and asked the chef, for a fee, to cook them for you... Where does it end? I just think it's a waste to pay someone for the privilige of opening your bottle. Didn't mean to offend...
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
—George W. Bush in Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

#23 sara

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 03:22 PM

Didn't offend at all. Of course I wouldn't bring food in and ask the chef to cook it for me! But at a restaurant, the chef is creating the food. The sommelier, sorry Mark, isn't MAKING the wine, he's creating the list and serving it sure, but it's not the same thing. A chop is different, cooked at home or at a restaurant. The bottle of wine is the same. The price is the only difference. And the wine glasses.

Edited by sara, 17 June 2004 - 03:23 PM.

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#24 sara

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 07:50 PM

Some amendments and additions to my list:

Melrose allows corkage Sunday nights only.

Saveur allows it on Tuesdays.

Caucus Room is Friday and Saturday nights only.
Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.
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#25 FunJohnny

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 05:52 AM

Sara and sdelgato have neatly framed the issue, but I'll add my two cents: For me, when I'm deciding where to dine out the primary issue is the food -- what kind and quality of preparation. If I know that a place that I've decided upon has a good wine selection, so much the better. But, as I mentioned earlier, the problem with many Chinese places that my family frequents for convenience and for good, inexpensive eats, either don't serve wine at all or have a poor selection.

Sometimes, however, I will decide go to an establishment simply on the strength of its wine list, and then, of course I wouldn't be taking my own wine with me. Nectar anyone? :biggrin: (I'm not implying that the only reason to go to Nectar is the wine list, but another major attraction!)
Oh, J[esus]. You may be omnipotent, but you are SO naive!
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#26 Mark Sommelier

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 07:37 AM

My thoughts on this subject are well known and well documented. I get paid a salary to create and MAINTAIN the list and wine cellar - this means taking in 2-300 cases of wine a month, stocking the cellar and keeping the winelist current daily, plus training the staff. I get paid a commission for selling the wine. BYO negates half my income and the restaurant's profit. 'Nuff said.

Edited by Mark Sommelier, 18 June 2004 - 07:39 AM.

Mark

#27 liamdc

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:00 AM

Sometimes, however, I will decide go to an establishment simply on the strength of its wine list, and then, of course I wouldn't be taking my own wine with me. Nectar anyone? :biggrin: (I'm not implying that the only reason to go to Nectar is the wine list, but another major attraction!)

The other nice thing about Nectar is the availability of each of their wines by the glass. Granted, it is a small, but a unique and well-balanced list.

I will admit that I am one who considers an establishment's wine list when making a dining decision. Not all of the time and not in all classes of places, but some of the time.
Liam

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Have a big dinner, have a light snack
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#28 liamdc

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 08:17 AM

My thoughts on this subject are well known and well documented. I get paid a salary to create and MAINTAIN the list and wine cellar - this means taking in 2-300 cases of wine a month, stocking the cellar and keeping the winelist current daily, plus training the staff. I get paid a commission for selling the wine. BYO negates half my income and the restaurant's profit. 'Nuff said.

I appreciate your point, Mark. I'm not willing to concede that BYOs shouldn't be an option for diners, but I understand the appropriateness of restaurants marking up their wines--to a point--to cover the cost of professional services such as you offer as a sommelier and to turn a reasonable profit from wine sales. And I understand the decision of some restaurants--particularly those with high-quality wine lists--to not allow corkage. It only really makes me frustrated at those times when I encounter an establishment with a mediocre wine list (and one with a limited or uninspiring by-the-glass selection) that marks its wine up 3 times or more.

But it is nice to have the option of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant. For instance, during a recent trip to California, I picked up some craft wines and wines that are hard, if not impossible, to get in the DC area. Certainly, I could choose to drink all at home. But inevitably, there will be an occasion when I would want to enjoy them with a meal in a restaurant.

In corkage-friendly restaurants, it certainly behooves a customer to not abuse the privilege. Do *not* bring in a bottle of Reunite or a box of Turning Leaf. Do *not* bring in a wine that is on the restaurant's wine list or that closely resembles something that it offers. Do offer the sommelier or owner a taste. Do consider the service provided in opening your wine and bringing the appropriate glasses when tipping, especially if there is no corkage fee charged or the fee is minimal.

By the way, this all reminds me that Sara and I need to take up your invitation to visit Citronelle in the near future!
Liam

Eat it, eat it
If it's gettin' cold, reheat it
Have a big dinner, have a light snack
If you don't like it, you can't send it back
Just eat it -- Weird Al Yankovic

#29 otello

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 04:06 PM

Either a restaurant lets you bring wine, or it doesn't. If it does, IMO you can bring whatever wine you want, even if it's cheap or on the list.

#30 DonRocks

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 08:43 AM

Last night at The Caucus Room, our table had some of the best wine service I've seen in Washington. Everything about the way we were treated was just about perfect: for starters, there was our wonderful server Rachael, who was as cordial and friendly as she was professional and organized. We had multiple bottles, sometimes several going at once, and she showed a remarkable talent in pouring everything at the right time and keeping all the glasses in order. The stemware they use is first rate, the wines were decanted correctly (the head sommelier even came over and gently decanted an older Hermitage through a candle), and our entire party left thinking that the $15 corkage fee per bottle ($90 for a total of six bottles) was well-deserved, so much so that extra cash was left for our server on top of a 20% tip. Kudos to Rachael and The Caucus Room for a wonderful dining experience.

Cheers,
Rocks.