Wine 101: Corkage [Infographic]

What to expect when you BYOB


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  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    NYC has a lot of unlicensed restaurants who thankfully charge $0 for corkage. The East and West Villages seem to specialize in little hole in the wall places like that.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 2:03 PM

  • Snooth User: babiko
    188678 13

    I only know restaurants in the northern part of NJ, but most are free of any corkage fee. Some bring blah glasses, others give you nice ones and an ice bucket, still with no fees. If I'm going to a new BYOB place, I usually bring my own glasses and ice 'bucket' (the BYO Chiller from Wine Enthusiast) just in case the restaurant doesn't offer any. Ridgewood seems to have the biggest hit rate for a decent and often upscale restaurant that offers BYOB with no corkage fee.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 2:34 PM

  • Snooth User: babiko
    188678 13

    I forgot to add that I always leave a few dollars ($3 - $10, depending on level of service, i.e., basic glasses, nice glasses, ice bucket, decanter, etc.) on top of the final tip to show my appreciation to the accommodating restaurant and wait person. The only exception is if I have an unpleasant experience with the wait person, such as an attitude or inattentiveness, in which case I most likely won’t return to the restaurant, so I don’t need to ‘leave an impression (or extra $)’ in my favor for my next visit.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM

  • In Atlanta we have several restaurants that charge anywhere from $10 - $35 with the average being around $20 bottle. Many do waive it when you give your server a taste which we always offer as it's a fun way to share a neat wine that you've been waiting to try. Some restaurants will even waive the fee if you buy a bottle from them which we do from time to time.

    We totally agree on your rules - always calling up and finding out if it's really acceptable or if they are just grudgingly offering their customers this service. We definitely tip the waiter extra since they are bringing us the glasses and usually offering to decant our wine. We do find in many cases, the waiter is pleasantly surprised that we've added in an extra tip which leads us to believe that many others do not give extra dollars...

    Jul 14, 2010 at 3:08 PM

  • Consumers in Texas often get confused about whether a restaurant allows BYOB and, if not, why not. Texas law is that BYOB is not allowed unless there is no liquor by the drink served. Therefore, only restaurants without a bar are permitted to allow it. Because such restaurants rely more heavily on wine sales (e.g., can't fall back on liquor by the drink), many are hesitant to allow corkage fees. There are quite a few restaurants with no alcohol license, who are very willing to support their patrons without corkage fees although they won't refuse if one is offerred.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 3:39 PM

  • Snooth User: isoarch
    72191 3

    I personally think the "bring a bottle, buy a bottle" policy I unfortunately rarely see is a really good compromise, which makes paying >200% markup a lot easier.

    Jul 14, 2010 at 5:20 PM

  • Snooth User: ChipDWood
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    83884 1,013

    isarch said, and I agree with, the following principle:

    "I personally think the "bring a bottle, buy a bottle" policy I unfortunately rarely see is a really good compromise, which makes paying >200% markup a lot easier."

    If I'm going to be charged a healthy corkage fee (north of $20)- Usually I'll plan on buying one of theirs' to cover the appetizers, beginning of the meal- and bring something special to follow it with to get the most out of that corkage fee.

    This was a good article. Very useful.

    Sep 07, 2010 at 5:26 AM

  • Snooth User: wrxman
    161408 8

    As a restaurant worker, I can say I agree with the break down on Snooth, except I would add a caveat by simply stating you need to order at least one entree or app/salad,etc. Restaurants are a place of business and yes hospitality is our business, but people need to be aware of the fact that the tipped employees are paid a very LOW hourly wage and survive on mainly tips, and a 2 hour wine dinner is not very lucrative for the server unless there is some corkage, thus paying for the service, and the top being occupied in his/her section. Even at Starbucks people purchase an over priced caffe latte before they camp in front of their laptops.

    Oct 04, 2010 at 2:18 PM

  • The restaurant where I work has a great policy. We waive the corkage for any bottle or 1/2 bottle ordered from our list. Why wouldn't you start with a split of Veuve Clicquot or end the meal with a dessert wine if that were the case?

    Although if it were me, I'd get a bottle of port (bleu cheese crumbles on the side, of course) and cork what I don't finish to take home.

    Oct 04, 2010 at 7:03 PM

  • The perpetual comments relating to 200% mark ups from wholesale to wine list as being perceived inappropriate moves me to remind the dining and drinking out public of the things that may not be part of that picture! The restaurant has to pay an annual fee for the wine and/or liquor licensing, and the overhead of running the restaurant, from the cost of that wineglass and the continual breakage and replacements, the machine and the person who washes that glass, that nice waiter who opens the bottle, the napkin on your lap, candle on your table, menu you hold, fork in your hand, the electric and gas bill and SO MUCH MORE including the annual property tax we business owners pay for the luxury of owning all those items, that table you sit at, the chair you sit on, the carpet under your feet, the art on the wall, the ambiance you love, the computer we do business on, the lamp on our desk, the office environment, the toilet paper in the bathroom, hand soap, towels, cleanser to scrub the sink and toilet and a person to do it, the list goes on and on, the liability we pay in case you slip or trip, or cut your lip on a tiny chip; then there is the kitchen and all the costs in there, the butcher, the baker, the burners, the knives, the spoons, the laundry service and the nice white chef's coats, the cutting boards, the refrigeration, the repair to the refrigeration, supplies and someone(s) to wash the floors and sanitize everything everyday, benefits and competitive wages to keep the staff, the plumber and the health dept annual fee, did I mention workers compensation rates; to bring the restaurant owner to the finale of the year, because if, IF the restaurant operation is a healthy one, which is tough in this sliding downhill economy, there could be a profit as high as 5%!! FIVE PERCENT PROFIT, a nationwide standard!! And watch the restaurants fold, like dominoes at times, and always the new ones opening!

    One of my personal favorites is that we the owner, pay the credit card companies the processing fee so that the waiters collect their tips and the guest collects their card rewards!

    Thank you for taking a moment to read this! I still love the business!

    Oct 05, 2010 at 3:09 AM

  • This is the way we can really rely on to get the credit card number generator at and it has been such a easy way for me.

    Sep 23, 2018 at 1:31 AM

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