Best of Brooklyn

Date night on a budget: A comprehensive list of Brooklyn’s best BYOB restaurants

Date night on a budget: A comprehensive list of Brooklyn's best BYOB restaurants
Enjoy the shinobi ramen at Shinobi Ramen with your own hand-selected booze. via Facebook

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go out to dinner and be certain that your favorite alcoholic beverages were available, for around $3 per drink? Have we got news for you: Brooklyn has some awesome BYOB restaurants, so going out to eat and drinking cheap doesn’t have to exist only in your dreams.

A BYOB restaurant is a beautiful, cost-effective option often overlooked in a city where you’re constantly stuck $12 for something you already have in your fridge and could’ve poured into your own mason jar. We’re obviously not taking any kind of anti-bar stance here, but if you have a few odd beers at your apartment and want to get rid of them, why not take them out for a night on the town at at one of Brooklyn’s best BYOB restaurants?

This post originally ran in 2014 and has been updated for 2017. 

Note: Most of these don’t have a corkage fee unless listed, but call to check beforehand if you want to be sure.

Shinobi Ramen
53 Morgan Ave. (rear building), East Williamsburg
Shinobi Ramen serves up heaping bowls of authentic ramen in their modern, laid-back space, nestled in the street-art laden landscape around the corner from the Morgan Ave. L stop. The menu, written out in its entirety on a large chalkboard, stays below the $12 range for the most part and has plenty of veggie options. Not a veggie option: the Super Miso Ramen, which we highly recommend.

261 Moore St., East Williamsburg
Yes, you can bring your own wine here, but the corkage fee is $35. East Williamsburg’s tre Brooklyn pizza darling Roberta’s has, between the celebrity spottings and the wood-fired pizzas, become known as a must-go spot for low-cost, high-quality food in a chicly burned out setting. The menu includes an extensive drink menu of its own, including quite the happy hour special, and on top of that you’re free to bring your own booze.


black iris brooklyn
Falafel, with your choice of booze. via Black Iris
Kelso Bistro Bar and Restaurant 
648 Franklin Ave., Crown Heights
Kelso is one of the only Panamanian restaurants in the city, but that’s not the reason it’s one of the best. Their fantastically flavorful Panamanian, West Indian, and Spanish comfort foods will warm your heart and soul, and the friendly staff will make you feel right at home. The menu is daunting, as enticing options like bistek picado and camarones calipso can be yours for $10 and $12, respectively, so just listen to your heart (and the nonstop salsa music.) All these things and more have kept Kelso open since 1969, which is no small feat in BK.

99 Scott Ave., Bushwick
Deep in the bowels of the Brooklyn-Queen borderlands sits a single-story shack housing this Asian street food sit-down. In the words of Bunker’s website, “good pho-king Vietnamese food”. The menu offers a variety of banh mi, noodle dishes and meat skewers as well as vegetarian Vietnamese pancake, vegan (or beef jerky) papaya salad, and Bunker original limeade, made with basil seeds, shiso, coconut sugar, and lime. For those not willing to make the trek to the original Ridgewood location, one just opened at the Bushwick address listed above, and a third a third location will be opening soon in the basement food hall at City Point.


BYOB Restaurants Vietnamese Food Bunker
Behold the Banh Xeo (there’s bacon in there). Photo via Facebook.

Kashkar Cafe
1141 Brighton Beach Ave., Brighton Beach
Just a couple of blocks from the Brighton Beach BQ, Cafe Kashkar’s menu is based on Uzbek foods from the Uyghur region of Western China. Where else can you even find such a winning combo? A: Nowhere else in the five boroughs — it’s the only Uyghur restaurant around. If you’ve never tried this cuisine before, hightail it over there because you’ve been missing out, my friend. Plenty of satiating, heaping appetizers like the fried lagman ($7.50), hearty lamb soups all around $6, and massive manti (lamb and onion dumplings, also $6!).

Black Iris
228 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene
If you’re jonesing for Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food in Fort Greene, may we direct you to Black Iris? You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu — there’s something for everyone, especially the vegan crowd. Standards like falafel, kebabs, gyros, as well as assorted combination platters are all available at low prices, and cold appetizers like tabbouleh and baba ghannouj run at $5.50. The hummus (small $5.50/large $7.50) and zaatar bread ($5) will knock your socks off.


kashkar cafe
Have some manti with your Miller. Or maybe bring a better beer, it’s up to you. via Kashkar Cafe

575 Henry St., Carroll Gardens
Straight up, Lucali makes freaking excellent pizza. Also calzones. Nothing else, and we’re more than okay with it. Upon entering the cozy, no-frills restaurant, you’ll be greeted by the aroma of wood-fired oven cooking up doughy goodness with the freshest of ingredients. Owner Mark Iacono built and renovated the entire place himself! You’ll also probably encounter a large crowd– this place is extremely popular (for good reason) and has been a favorite of power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. Definitely come here with your partner in culinary crime to split a pie ($24) or massive calzone ($10 for a “small,” $20 for a [quite] large.) According to the latest updates on Yelp, the spot no longer charges a corking fee either.

Some other options if you just can’t be parted with your 40:

The Islands (803 Washington Ave., Crown Heights)

Petite Crevette (144 Union St., Columba Waterfront District)

Bistro Petit (170 S 3rd St., Williamsburg),

Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos (271 Starr St., Bushwick),

The Food Sermon (355 Rogers Ave., Crown Heights),

Taci’s Beyti Restaurant (1953 Coney Island Ave., Midwood),

Nostro Ristorante (710 Fifth Ave., Park Slope)

Did we miss one? Add it in the comments or send it to [email protected]

Additional reporting by Hannah Frishberg.

Follow Shaylyn for more culinary adventures at @Berlewnatic

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