A few years back I lived in Australia and the concept of BYOW was fairly common place. I’ve never really seen it creep into the Irish culture on any kind of grand scale. No doubt this is for the obvious reason of alcohol having a hefty mark up and subsequent profit for restaurants. Which to be fair I don’t blame them for from a business point of view.
From a customer point of view however living in the land of tightening ones belt it has become increasingly difficult to justify paying €20 for a bottle of wine in a restaurant which you see in your local Spar for €8. Yes the restaurant has to pay for staff, glassware etc but it still hurts my pocket and I don’t mind saying it. If my pocket hurts then I’m sure many others do too. With that in mind I have done a bit of research and put together a sample of some of the great BYOW options which are around Dublin at the moment.
From my own point of view I wouldn’t choose a restaurant with poor food offerings just because they had a good BYOW policy, well maybe if I was really broke I would. Some of the places listed below I have visited myself and have mentioned where appropriate. Others I list based on the BYOW policy but can’t vouch for the food personally.
Top of my list has to be The Vintage Kitchen on Poolbeg Street. I have reviewed the restaurant previously (click here) and can’t fault the food which speaks entirely for itself. Their BYOW policy is order two courses from their Dinner Menu at €25 and you are welcome to bring your own wine with you and they won’t even charge you any corkage. That kind of value is hard to find, but as mentioned it’s the food that draws you here, the BYOW policy is just a bonus as is the BYOV – or bring your own vinyl option. Yes bring along a record and they will play it for you.
Only a short stroll away you will find Gallaher & Co Bistro on the corner of D’Olier Street. Over the last couple of weeks they have come up with some great offers to entice customers through their doors. The BYOW policy here is bring your own wine all day everyday for a corkage fee of €1 per drink or €4 per bottle of wine. I have also eaten here and have to say the food and service was very good. Along with the BYOW policy they also had a buy one mains get one free running at the same time which resuted in exceptional value and quite a small bill. It’s worth keeping an eye on their website to see what offers they have coming up.
Another firm favourite which has a ‘kind of’ BYOW policy is Fish Shop in the Blackrock Market. I have been a couple of times and noticed on my last visit that this little fishy paradise had a notice over their picnic bench seating areas to advise customers they were welcome to pick up a bottle of wine in the local off licence and enjoy it with their food. Very thoughtful. The staff in Fish Shop don’t charge corkage and even have some glasses and a wine opener on hand which they are happy to let you use. A fantastic idea it has to be said and on a sunny day a crisp bottle of white with some freshly battered hake is a match made in heaven. I’m happy to report that they do serve excellent food including a gluten free option and the amount of positive reviews they receive is evidence of that.
Next on the list we have the very inventive Salt Lick. A much praised eaterie in Ranelagh which is only open Friday and Saturday nights and changes its menu to a new theme on a monthly basis. At the point of writing this the menu was Japanese themed. I haven’t eaten here myself but have read some wonderful reviews from a number of food bloggers who have given it the thumbs up.
For thier BYOW offering they have done things slightly differant. They have themed up with Redmonds Off-Licence which is close by and selected wines and craft beers to compliment the food they are offering, all of which appear to be reasonably priced too. If that wasn’t good enough for you they also have a BYOC policy which is Bring Your Own Cocktail. You bring the spirits and they will supply the mixers and provide you with a wonderful cocktail. They even go one step further and tell you exactly what spirits to bring so it’s in keeping with the food theme and how many cocktails you will get from each bottle of spirits. Not a bit of a corkage fee in sight for any of the above. I’m not sure you could actually ask anything more of them.
A sister restaurant to The Vintage Kitchen Seagrass in Portobello also has a very appealing BYOW offer. They have an Early Evening Menu which runs Sunday to Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Thursday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6.45 p.m. During this time you are welcome to bring your own wine and they won’t charge you any corkage.
In addition for their Dinner Menu if you order two courses per person you also get to avail of the BYOW policy with no corkage fee. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of dining in Seagrass but having looked at the menus it is certainly on my list of places to visit, BYOW or not!
Last on the list is il Posto on St. Stephens Green. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you are welcome to bring your own wine with you and they don’t charge any corkage. A smart way to encourage diners through the door on the quieter days of the week. I have eaten here a few times and recall the food being quite good. They have a nice early bird menu Monday to Saturday between 5.30 p.m. and 7.00. p.m. €20 for two courses and €25 for three.
It’s not a long list and I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t yet stumbled across clutching a bottle of wine so do please feel free to let me know any others.