Food & Drink

Where to pour: BK’s best BYOB

byob truck
Bring some wine. We have a big table.

As we’re pretty staunch proponents of imbibing on the cheap and, of course, we like good food, we’d be remiss not to highlight the perfect marriage of the two: BYOB restaurants. Here’s a guide to Brooklyn’s best, so you’ll no longer have to fork over an exorbitant sum for a carafe of “house red” that tastes suspiciously like Carlo Rossi.  And even better: It seems that pesky corkage fee is a rare animal in these parts.

Bistro Lafayette (338 Franklin Ave. between Greene Ave. & Lexington Ave.) serves up affordable American fare ($10-$14), and a “special coupon offer” slashes 10% off your meal if you mention that you saw it on their website.

Get your nom (and glug) on at Umi Nom
Get your nom (and glug) on at Umi Nom

For a critically-beloved bite of Thai ($8-$12), check out the comfort food of Umi Nom (433 Dekalb Ave. between Classon Ave. & Taafe Pl.). Sidenote: the restaurant only allows sake, beer or wine—so leave the Schlitz Malt Liquor at home.

If you’re craving Mexican, Aztecaville (91 Wyckoff Ave. between Suydam St. & Hart St.) packs an authentic punch ($10-$20).

Sushi joint Ozu Japanese Cuisine & Lounge (78 Clark St. between Hicks St. & Henry St.) employs some of the warmest and most genuine staff around (seriously, call them up, just for kicks—you’ll be hopping the subway in their general direction right quick) and their seafood is super-fresh.

For your Middle Eastern fix ($4-$9), drop by Tutt Café (47 Hicks St. between Cranberry St. & Middagh St.). Just remember to bring your own beer or wine glasses (unless the restaurant’s no-frills water cups are sufficient for your discerning palate).

And our vegetarian and vegan contingent need not dismay—Vegetarian Ginger (128 Montague St. between Clinton St. & Henry St.) will fulfill all your tofu-centric desires ($5-$12).

We’re pretty sure that Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t have to call ahead when they visit preferred pizza parlor Lucali (575 Henry St. between Carroll St. & Summit St.), but you non-celeb plebs better do so. It’s worth the wait, though, even for the pricey pies (>$20) and the $4 corkage fee.

If it’s solidly consistent Thai you’re in the mood for, Ghang Thai (204 Smith St. between Baltic St. & Butler St.) will do the trick ($8-$18).

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

For Caribbean fare, check out Petite Crevette (144 Union St. at Hicks St.), but expect a $5 corkage fee.

Or make a decidedly low-key night of it ($3.50-$8) at the casual-yet-satisfying Ultimate Burgers and Dogs (243 Degraw St. between Clinton St. & Tompkins Pl.), where the manager’s reaction to our booze-opening charge query was, “Are you kidding? That makes no sense!” Touché, Sir.

For organic veggies and fresh-off-the-hook seafood, Kevin’s (277A Van Brunt St.) can’t be beat. This place is a Brokelyn splurge ($18-$21), but that does sort of dull the pain of the $5 corkage fee.

The owner of Park Slope’s Athena Mediterranean Cuisine (535 Sixth Ave. at 14th St.) said he’s considering filing for a beer and wine license in the next couple months, but he heartily promised, “If you bring in a bottle—even after I have the papers—I won’t turn you away.” And what of a corkage fee? “Never!” he exclaimed. “Who does that?” Who, indeed. ($10-$24, with a $20.10 prix fixe).

For a lower-key Mediterranean spot in the nabe ($6.50-$13), check out Olive Vine Café (54 Seventh Ave. between Lincoln Pl. & St John’s Pl.).

For exquisite French-African fare ($9-$26) in an understated setting, check out abistro (154 Carlton Ave. between Myrtle Ave. & Willoughby Ave.).

Kaz An Nou
Kaz An Nou

A relative newcomer to Prospect Heights, Kaz An Nou (53 Sixth Ave. between Dean St. & Bergen St.) is already a favored purveyor of Caribbean eats ($10-$15) in the area.

And continuing the Caribbean theme, The Islands (803 Washington Ave. between Sterling Pl. & St. Johns Pl.) is another solid spot ($8-$20).

Or if it’s Indian cuisine you’re craving, King of Tandoor (600 Flatbush Ave. between Midwood St. & Rutland Rd.) is your best bet ($8-$15).

Manhattan Ave’s go-to Thai stop ($7-$13) is Amarin Café (617 Manhattan Ave. between Driggs Ave. & Nassau Ave.).

La Taverna (946 Manhattan Ave between Kent St. & Java St.) dishes out Italian food ($7-$14) in a quaint, homey setting. For the pizzeria-trattoria experience, hit up La Nonna (237 Bedford Ave. between N.3 & N. 4th Sts.). We hear the house-made pizza and pasta sauces ($6-$12) are outta this world.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!


  1. caroline

    Waterfalls, on Atlantic between Henry and Clinton. Cheap, amazing middle-eastern food with lots of vegetarian options and no corkage fee. I’m surprised you overlooked it.

  2. Petite Crevette is one of the BEST places to byob, as the fare is actually great, but I don’t know if I’d call it Caribbean. Lots of fresh fish, prepared simply and beautifully. More French/mediterranean than Caribbean!

  3. Allison

    Get Fresh Table and Market in Park Slope on 5th Ave between 5th and 6th is an awesome BYOB place. Wine with dinner or bring some champagne to brunch and pair with their fresh squeezed OJ!

  4. Black Iris on DeKalb and Clermont is amazing! Huge helpings of delicious reasonably priced food, BYOB policy with no corkage fee, and wonderful service, plus a cute outdoor area that allows you to people watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood.

  5. Don’t forget Palmyra on Court right next to Scotto’s Wine Cellar. Nothing better than BYOB next to a GREAT Wine place (and not far from Smith & Vine which has great sub $15 bottles too)

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