Best BYO Wine Spots in Louisville

4 suggestions for the best places to bring your own in Kentucky


When it comes to wine, everyone has a favorite type. Reasons for bringing your own bottle of wine vary from saving a few dollars to making sure there is a wine you love available during memorable moments. Taking your own wine to outdoor venues allows you to enjoy the beautiful rolling landscape of northern Kentucky and the numerous parks and outdoor recreations that are readily available. You also have the advantage of creating a complete date while still saving money by bringing along a picnic to enjoy. Even if you choose takeout from a favorite restaurant, you’ll save the cost of tipping the server.

Louisville has several spots and events that wine enthusiasts will enjoy and to which you can bring your own bottle. Although these spots are the highlights, there are additional restaurants and venues that are reported to also allow patrons to bring their own wine along with them. If there is an establishment you wish to visit that isn’t on this list, simply phone ahead and inquire about the possibility of bringing your own wine.

Photo courtesy handcoding via Flickr/CC

Riverfront Plaza

During the spring and summer, Louisville’s Riverfront Plaza is a hub of activity. Thunder Over Louisville during Derby week brings in thousands of visitors and offers a huge fireworks display set off over the Ohio River. The park is also available year-round for strolling and picnics.

Take along your favorite bottle of wine, a picnic basket and a blanket and create a romantic spread in front of the Ohio River, with the 7-acre backdrop of the park laid out behind you. Although the park is home to many festivals and concerts throughout the year, many set a rule of no outside alcohol at their events. Refer to the Riverfront Plaza website for details on specific events to see if you can bring your own food and drinks or not.

Louisville Waterfront Park
Waterfront Development Corporation
129 East River Road
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
(502) 574-3768

Worth the Drive

Take your own wine to almost any outdoor venue and enjoy a glass or two. While you don’t want to break any laws or rules, there are a large number of parks and places in and around Louisville that are the ideal  for spending half an hour with a bottle of wine, stretched out in front of beautiful scenery.

Located to the south of downtown Louisville, Bernheim is a 20-minute drive. Once there, spend some time strolling the grounds, complete with a garden pavilion, three large lakes and over 30 miles of nature area and trails. During your stroll through the grounds, take a break and enjoy your wine.

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
P. O. Box 130         
Clermont, KY 40110-0130         
(502) 955-8512

Photo courtesy Lee Bennett via Flickr/CC

Keep it Festive

Louisville features numerous festivals throughout the year. Since many of these are held on closed off streets, you may be able to take a bottle of wine to enjoy or at least put wine into a glass and carry it around while you browse the festival. From the Kentucky Derby Festival to the Reggae Festival, there is sure to be an event that will interest every taste.

The Saint James Art Festival is one street fair that features artisans, crafts and artists from around the Louisville area. It is set in historic Old Louisville amidst beautiful Victorian homes, sprawling, tree-lined streets and museums. About 750 vendors set up, streets are blocked off and people park and walk in to see the wares for sale.

Take your own wine to the event but keep in mind that you might have to finish it before you enter establishments, such as a museum or small eatery in the area. Still, art and wine just seem to tie in together perfectly and this event is perfect for the wine lover/art enthusiast.

Saint James Court Art Show
P.O. Box 3804
Louisville, KY 40201
(502) 635-1842

A Wine Experience

Since many restaurants in the area will not allow you to bring your own bottle of wine due to fear of losing their liquor license, these other venues offer valid options for an inexpensive and pleasurable day or night on the town. Louisville has more than 18 parks in the metro area alone and the city manages dozens of other parks within driving distance. If your favorite downtown restaurant will not allow you to bring your own bottle of wine, consider getting your meal to go. From the south end of the city, stroll up the pathways in Iroquois Park until you reach the lookout at the top. Known as the “Yellowstone of Louisville,” Iroquois Park allows you to enjoy a great meal, bottle of wine and sprawling view of the downtown skyline.

Alternately, you could head to the west to Shawnee Park’s Great Lawn to enjoy your food and wine. The views from here aren’t quite as fabulous, but there are walking trails and the atmosphere is peaceful and quiet most of the time.

Cherokee Park rests to the east of the city. There is a rock designated in this park as a picnic area. It is called Big Rock and it sits in Beargrass Creek near the play area.

If none of these choices appeal to you, there are plenty of other parks and recreation areas from which to choose. The only limit is your creativity and if the area allows you to bring in outside alcoholic beverages.

Photo courtesy lyzadanger via Flickr/CC

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  • If you want fine dining and BYOB without a corkage fee then check out Philadelphia!! The state controls the liquor stores and a combination of governments make it difficult to get a liquor license for many restaurants. The result; you can walk a few blocks to a state liquor store, buy a nice wine, say $25, then have a wonderful dinner with that wine, had it been on a wine list you would have paid $65 to $75. Audrey Claire near Rittenhouse square was our favorite but there are more to be tested.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

  • Head to Tennessee! I have friends who live in Tellico Village (just outside of Knoxville and more often then not we arrive with our wine for dinner at lovely establishments. The small corkage fee is well worth the price and we enjoy amazing wine that compliments our meals paying the retail value versus the insane mark up.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 2:09 PM

  • George's Pastaria (Italian neighborhood favorite) on the west side of Houston. A $10 corking fee on Thursday thru Saturday and NO CORKING FEE Monday - Wednesday. They have a diverse wine list if you don't bring your own wine. Either way, you can enjoy good wine and still not have to cook!

    Apr 30, 2012 at 3:10 PM

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