BYOB at a restaurant?

by Alice

The first time I went out to dinner in Hoboken, I walked into a sushi restaurant (what else?) with a couple of girls, one of whom suddenly said, “Oh, I forgot the wine! I’ll run next door and buy some.”

I stood there nodding in agreement. Clearly it was a faux pas to neglect bring our own wine to the restaurant. (Wait, What?)

She shows up with a $7 bottle of white, which the waiter courteously pours into our glasses before placing it in a bucket of ice for us, while I look on in amazement. Turns out, we couldn’t have ordered wine there if we tried. It’s a BYOB restaurant.

This was an entirely new concept to me. We certainly don’t have BYOB restaurants in Kentucky (parties, yes, but not restaurants). And I checked with a friend who’s staying in Idaho, and though she hasn’t seen many people drinking there in general due to the large Morman population, she assured me that they have no BYOB restaurants in Idaho either.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s so much cheaper for customers like me. Although I did have an unfortunate incident the other night when I appeared at a Mexican restaurant without Tequila and had to forego my craving for Margaritas.

But how does it benefit the restaurant? Is it really that much of a hassle to get a liquor license? There must be a cap on how many liquor licenses the government can give out. As for Kentucky, maybe it’s not legal to “brown-bag” in unlicensed restaurants. Now that would be a good law to consider revising…

If you’re thirsting for the facts, here’s the NYT take on it.