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Lower Connecticut BYO, Corkage, and Wine Lists


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Since we alluded to the subject in an unrelated chain, I thought best to start anew.

Especially in Fairfield County, but let's say the southwest corner of CT in general, I'd love to hear other opinions on...

Best BYO restaurants.

Best restaurants with progressive corkage policies.

Wine lists so good that corkage is unnecessary.

Neanderthal approaches to wine.

A few things come to mind...

Paci's 'premium' wine-by-the-glass program is really terrific. While they have always had a fine Italian wine list, Dave Squires has taken them up a further notch - and this program is wonderful (in addition to five or so typically available wines by the glass, they have an additional, revolving number of choices for which one is charged one-quarter the cost of the bottle for a 187.5 ml glass).

As I posted elsewhere, in what is otherwise a fav, at Carole Peck's Good News Cafe, they allow no BYO, corkage or no, and the list is not especially good. Great food, but the policy doesn't sit well.

I love the thorough Spanish lists at both Meigas and Mecca - wouldn't dream of bringing a bottle to either. Nor Paci, above.

Other thoughts?...

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Pasta Nostra has a great list, at both the high and low end.

BYO'd once to Match after calling beforehand. Was told on the phone that corkage was $10 and after opening 3 bottles, was billed $75 on the check. Ended up speaking to the manager and the chef-owner before they agreed to reduce the charge, just for that night.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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  • 3 months later...

Answering my own question, I've found a terrific BYO restaurant in New Haven, Nini's Bistro.

$29.95 for a four course prix fixe. Northern Italian. Very good. (Lost my notes, but enjoyed the dinner.)

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Just came home from napa where the highest corkage fee I found was $20. Most restaurants were $10. Why can't the east coast do the same??

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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Got this list (about three times removed from the original compiler), but it's a good start.... Some have already been mentioned, here or in other threads, but I will note that I really like Buon Appetito (Canton) and have heard RAVE reviews from everyone who has been to Nini's Bistro.

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough

117 Pearl Street

Noank, CT 06340

Tel: 860-536-7719

Fax: 860-536-4608

Noank, CT


Lenny and Joe's Fish Tail

Madison, CT


Buon Apetito

50 Albany Turnpike

Canton, CT


Note: Excellent gourmet Italian cuisine, b.y.o.b.



195 West Main St (behind Tweeter’s)

Avon, CT



East Shore Road

New Preston, CT 06777

860-868-1787 BYOB


Lake Warramaug

New Preston, CT 06777

860-868-9415 BYOB


Hunan Cafe

228 Town Green

Wilton, Ct. 06897

Telephone: 203-761-8991 Fax: 203-761-8998

Web-site - http://www.culinarymenus.com/hunancafe.htm


223 Main St

Lakeville, CT 06039

860-435-1011 BYOB


16 Snyder Rd.

East Haddam, CT

(860) 345-2994 BYOB

Center Deli and Catering Company

Lynne and Ray Paulson

3 Huntington Plaza

Shelton, CT

Penang Grill

55 Lewis St

greenwich, Ct 06830

Phone 203-861-0003

Nini’s Bistro

40 Orange Street

New Haven, CT.(Ninth Square District)



Paperback Café

Old Saybrook

(860/388-9718; pbcafe.com)

The Place

901 Boston Post Rd. (Rte. 1)



Café Mis en Place

230 Farmington Ave

Farmington, CT 06032-1916

Cross Street: Talcott Notch Road

Phone: (860) 677-7869

Bamboo Grill

50 Albany Turnpike

Canton, CT 06019

Phone: 860-693-4144

Costello's Clam Company

140 Pearl Street

Noank, CT 06340

Phone: 860-572-2779

Rainbow Cafe

1022 Chapel St

New Haven, CT 06510

Phone: 203-777-2390

Fax: 203-773-1471

Susan's Coffeehouse - Cafe

10 Hartford Avenue

Route 189

Granby, CT 06035

Phone: 860-653-6600

Uncle Willie's

1101 Huntingdon Ave

Waterbury, CT 06704

Phone: 203-596-7677

Fax: 203-596-9778

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, AES, for the list. I went to Nini's with a group of 6 last week, and we had a great time. The food and the room are a little more upscale than most BYO places.

I have three modest additions to the list:

Pazzo, in Glastonbury (80 Hebron Ave). This is a small, casual Italian place. I think it's pretty well known in the Hartford area as a BYO option. The food is fine, not spectacular, but good and fairly priced. It gets really crowded.

Half Moon Cafe, in Wallingford (Main and Center). This is an even more casual place - you order at the counter and find yourself a table. The menu leans towards Italian, with some really nice house-made pastas, and some surprisingly fresh seafood, as well as non standard pizzas and sandwiches. I think it's an underrated place to taste some wines with a group, because you can order big or small, and share easily. Although the food can be inconsistent, at its best it's darn good.

House of Chao, in New Haven (890 Whalley Ave). This isn't a real classic wine place, because the best dishes go better with beer, but I haven't seen it mentioned in any of the discussions here on CT chinese places, so I'm slipping it in here. It's been around a while (at least since the mid 70's), and the menu hasn't changed at all, so it loses innovation points, but the food is consistently good. The steamed dumplings are legendary.

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  • 1 month later...

Two BYOB's in Norwalk:

Shacojazz (very cheap corkage, couple of bucks)


21 North Main Street

South Norwalk, CT


Pane e Panini (also cheap I believe)

79 Washington St

South Norwalk, CT


Of course, neither have their liquor license, but they're quite good.

I agree with an above reader about pasta nostra, but I'm surprised Fat Cat Pie Company's wine list has not been mentioned. It's very good. I'd leave da pietro's information because they do have a great wine list, but at their prices they ought to.

Fat Cat Pie Company

9-11 Wall St.

Norwalk, CT

(203) 523-0389

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