I love going out to eat in Atlanta! So many delicious restaurants, many of which take pride in using local ingredients and developing incredible wine lists. I have to admit, however, that every time I look over a wine list, I slightly cringe at the cost for a glass of wine as I think through all of the delicious bottles collected over time sitting in our pantry. $11 for a glass of chardonnay? I could pay $15 and get a whole bottle of equally delicious chardonnay! (Only that involves me cooking and on Friday nights, I do not cook. I unwind.)
Luckily, a friend recently reminded me of a perfect solution! Finding restaurants with no corkage fees!
I experimented last night by bringing a bottle of Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer to Murphy’s in the Virginia Highlands. As predicted, they have no corkage fee for the first bottle as long as they don’t serve the same wine in their store/restaurant (so call ahead and check!). They happily brought glasses and a bucket of ice to keep our wine cool while we caught up and enjoyed our dinner. And it’s even better if you have a special bottle that you are saving for a certain occasion, but want to just enjoy instead of gulp while you sprint back and forth through the kitchen. It was heavenly!
So, a few tips for you Atlanta folks, and a useful website for you non-Atlantans. Here, I have found that Murphy’s, One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks, Antico Pizza, D.B.A. BBQ, and Parish all allow you to bring the first bottle of wine in with no corkage fee. Local Three charges $10 (which is on the cheaper end and one of my favorite restaurants).
Don’t live in Atlanta? Check out this website: Go BYO and find restaurants near you. Call and check before you go to make sure they haven’t changed their policy, as I found to be the case on a few occasions!
Etiquette when bringing your own bottle? Some restaurants recommend that you offer a taste to the chef as a “thank you”. They might also suggest that you tip your server as if you had ordered a bottle of wine, since they are still opening the bottle, bringing the glasses over, and topping off your drinks.
In any case, get out there, enjoy some food and you bring the wine!