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Charlene Leonard

BYO Wine and Corkage

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I know this thread was started back in 2002 (interesting to see how much things have changed - The Capital for one no longer allows corkage). If anyone is interested in an update, I have just posted a list of top London restaurants with BYO (including corkage fees) - http://gourmettraveller.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/london-bring-your-own-restaurant-list/

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Wow, a blast from the past! Some things change, some stay the same..still charging £7 corkage.Mybe i should go to £10? lol

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I was discussing this issue a couple of days ago with some friends/former colleagues. We've all worked in a few restaurants, some allow BYO, some don't. One thing almost all have in common is that for special occasions it is allowed with no corkage. There was a perfect example upthread - an anniversary where the couple would like to drink the wine they were given as a wedding gift.

I did the same thing myself last week and I don't even run a restaurant, it's a cocktail bar. Nevertheless I was happy to let a couple of regular customers bring their own champagne on their 1st anniversary before they departed to their restaurant of choice. They didn't spend a penny but I know they'll be back.

An interesting take on this is the story a friend told me about a restaurant he used to work at. The owner is making more money since he started pushing BYO with no corkage. He was able to free up enough space for another 4-top by knocking through his store room and has a far lower stock holding. He's reduced the wine list to 4 each of red and white, however he is fortunate enough to have a very good off license next door who are stocking wines they wouldn't have done previously... I should hasten to add this is by no means a Michelin starred place, just a very good family run local restaurant.

I was going to comment on the GP aspect of this debate, but that's almost literally all I've been thinking about for the last week so I'll leave it for another day...

Cheers,

Matt

edited to correct typos, bet I've still missed one or two though!


Edited by Mattmvb (log)

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And one other thing...

The most sensible policy I've heard is this:

If you're bringing a bottle with you and the staff will just be taking the cork out and pouring it for you then the corkage is house wine price. If you're dropping the bottle round in advance and it'll be decanted before service then the corkage is house wine +50%. Seems just right to me.

Cheers,

Matt

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Matt, that would indeed be a good policy to have.

With regards to BYO for special occasions that seems to be the view quite a number of restaurants I spoke to have. They did not necessarily want to charge a fellow wine lover corkage, but at the same time did not want to encourage customers to bring their own. Hence many were happy to accomodate me when I asked if it's possible to bring a bottle, but when I made it known I was actually looking for their corkage policy in general they did not want to advertise no corkage.

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Interesting that the Eastside Inn is happy to advertise zero corkage - it has one of the most overpriced wine menus I've seen in London for a while.

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