February 1st, 2010
Bring Your Own Wine to These Cincinnati Restaurants
I love a restaurant where I can bring my own wine if I choose. I’ll even go a bit out of my way to visit a restaurant with a reasonable corkage fee (a restaurant’s charge to open and serve your wine) or a straight-up bring your own policy.
Now don’t get me wrong, I also love to patronize a restaurant with a fabulous wine list and choose from the great stuff they already offer, but sometimes the mood strikes to bring my own. Maybe I want to pull a bottle from my getting-to-big-for-my-kitchen collection, or a special occasion with friends or family calls for a particular bottle I’ve been saving. Bottom line is…I love to have the option.
In the Cincinnati area it’s tough to find the restaurants where you can be sure bringing your own bottle won’t elicit disappointing stares from restaurant management. To help ease your fears I’ve started a list below that I hope you’ll help add to.
Slims – Northside
Slims is one of my favorite Cincinnati restaurant experiences, because it truly is an experience (and usually not a short one…it’s part of the laid-back vibe). Amazing food, warm atmosphere and a BYOB policy with no corkage fee.
Hamilton Avenue in Northside – 513.681.6500 – Website
Otto’s – MainStrasse
Located in Covington’s historic MainStrasse district, Otto’s knows how to do simple food really, really well. The Greek Flatbread appetizer should be illegal. Pair it with whatever wine you want to bring for only a $15 corkage fee, or select from their wine list.
Main Street in MainStrasse/Covington – 859.491.6678 – Website
Suzie Wong’s – East Walnut Hills
Located where Seny used to be in East Walnut Hills, Suzie Wong’s so far has been getting great reviews for their take on Asian cuisine (check out Polly Campbell’s review on Cincinnati.com). They’ve applied for a liquor license but for now you can bring-your-own wine for a $5 corkage fee.
Madison Avenue in East Walnut Hills – 513.751.3333 – Website
Dilly Deli – Mariemont
Dilly Deli is such a fun place to have lunch or dinner…music in the evenings, kind of a sports bar during the day on weekends, and always really good food. Dilly Deli is a restaurant and wine store, carrying close to 1000 bottles. Although not an official bring-your-own wine spot, you can purchase one of their many bottles and enjoy with dinner for just a modest service fee vs. the standard 20-40% mark up at many other restaurants.
Wooster Pike in the Mariemont Strand – 513.561.5233 – Website
Vitor’s Bistro – Cheviot
Their take on french toast is what Vitor’s is best known for, but their dinner menu is pretty darn good as well. Vitor’s is completely BYOB with just a $6 corkage fee.
Harrison Avenue in Cheviot – 866.455.1020 – Website
Asiana – Oakley
Known for good sushi and noodle dishes, Asiana is one of those places you can drive by a hundred times and never notice. It’s a few doors down from The Wine Merchant if that helps. You can grab a bottle there and enjoy it at Asiana with no corkage fee.
Edwards Avenue in Oakley – 513.351.0999
It’s also good to be aware of good “bring-your-own-wine” etiquette before putting yourself in an awkward situation. The Food & Wine blog highlights a few great tips:
- Call the restaurant ahead of time just to be sure, especially if you’re bringing a large group and multiple bottles.
- Inquire about the fee, because corkage can get expensive.
- Never bring a cheap wine, especially not one that’s cheaper than the least expensive wine on the list.
- Offer the sommelier a taste out of respect.
- Buy a bottle for every bottle you bring at places that have a list.
I’m sure there are more great Cincinnati-area restaurants with a bring-your-own or corkage fee policy, so please help build a comprehensive list by adding a comment below.
So drink up at our great local restaurants…and then call a cab!