BYOB: the first rule of barbecues and dinner parties, but a restaurant no-no. Most respectable establishments will slap a whopping corkage fee at the very sniff of a smuggled Jacob’s Creek. And for good reason, restaurants benefit from a pretty sizeable mark-up from their wine lists and, they’d add, you also benefit from the experience of a sommelier and the wine list they’ve carefully assembled without the contamination of Jacob, or his creek… But once in a while restaurants come along that let you B your own B and suddenly you’ve the chance to either bring along something truly special that you’ve been saving for that perfect meal or occasion, or else something truly cheap that makes getting the bill more palatable. Either way, here’s a list of the London BYOB joints we rate.
What: Neighbourhood brasseries with excellent steak
Why: Bring a nice bottle of red and feast on Foxlow’s excellent steaks on BYO Tuesdays. The neighbourhood brasserie restaurants are located in Soho, Chiswick, Balham and Clerkenwell and do an awesome roast dinner.
Where: 8-10 Lower James Street, Soho , W1F 9EL
What: Community Veggie and Vegan
Why: This charming cafe just a short walk from Vauxhall Station is the very hub of the community around Bonnington Square. Run by the locals it specialists in vegetarian and vegan food. They don’t charge corkage and they only take cash.
Where: 11 Vauxhall Grove, Vauxhall, SW8 1TD
Hix Oyster And Chop House
What: Bring something special for BYOB Mondays
Why: Grab a bottle of something special and head down to Hix on Mondays, when BYOB rules the house. Founded by chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix the food is exquisite, perfect for that wine you’ve had waiting on the wine rack for just the right occasion.
Where: 36-37 Greenhill Rents, Cowcross Street, EC1M 6BN
The Breakfast Club
What: Is it okay to drink with breakfast?
Why: Celebrating everything 1980s (it’s named after the John Hughes film) they do a pretty mean breakfast, but unless you’re a committed wino then you might rather bring YOB for a long weekend brunch or dinner.
Where: 33 D’Arblay Street, Soho, W1F 8EU
What: Best Indian in Tooting
Why: It wouldn’t be a true list of BYOBs without a decent Indian restaurant. Tooting may be known as the latest foodie destination for it’s varied popups in the markets, but it’s also the home of the Indian restaurant with most of the high street given over to Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. And the best of a very large bunch has to be Masaledar.
Where: 121 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, SW17 7TJ
Band Of Burgers
What: Burgers and your own beer
Why: Burgers are all the rage right now, and one of our favourites has to be Band Of Burgers in Camden. Desperately cool, they serve a pretty mean, charcoal grilled burger and you can wash it down with whatever you fancy from home.
Where: 23 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7JE
What: The cocktails are on you
Why: This speakeasy style cocktail bar has a twist: you bring the booze. Patrons pay £30 on the door and let BOYC’s expert mixologists do the rest. They provide the venue and a range of homemade ingredients to bring your cocktails to life.
Where: 11-13 Camden High Street, Kings Cross, NW1 7JE