Wine & Food

Snooth User: Philip James

Corkage fees?

Posted by Philip James, Mar 25, 2008.

Whats reasonable for such a 'service'? I tend not to worry until its over $15 per bottle, but I've seen $25 a few times. Some places are actually, shock horror, FREE, which is a nice change.

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Reply by Chris Carpita, Apr 4, 2008.

There's a difference between what is actually reasonable, and what we might expect. I think $5 is reasonable if the place doesn't serve their own wine, because they will open it for you, clean up, etc. $15 would be fair if they actually served good wine, or the same wine, and you were denying them profit, but if they just had 2-buck chuck, that figure is outrageous. $25 would make sense if you don't care about money, and are even proud to pay that much.

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Reply by oceank8, Apr 12, 2008.

I have never seen one free. There is a steak place we love that is $4, which I think is awsome. As far as reasonable, I think it should reflect the price of there cheapest bottle of wine. That way they are making the same they would if you bought their wine. In general, if they have a wine list, I don't bring anything in, just feel it's not worth it.

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Reply by Philip James, Apr 17, 2008.

In New York a lot of tiny restaurants open up (8-20 seats) and they often do so before they get their liquor license. They make up a lot of New York's BYOB joints, and generally dont charge corkage fees which is nice. It would be rather weird if they did as they have no way of providing alcohol and if they expect me to eat dinner there I need wine!

I havent really seen this practice elsewhere, but its a nice bonus to some already cute restaurants

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Reply by VRider, Apr 17, 2008.

Is it common for restaurants to deny you right to bring your own wine? Something like "if you want your wine, go drink it somewhere else" ?

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Reply by Chris Carpita, Apr 17, 2008.

Unless you're brownbagging it under the table, most restaurants don't allow outside wine if they sell their own at a steep markup, it's just business. Unfortunately, American states generally do not recognize the right to drink whatever we want on someone else's property.

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Reply by VRider, Apr 17, 2008.

To be honest, I am more surprised that someone _is_ letting you to bring your bottle, then denying that. But, for $25, I guess it is easier for them to close their eyes. :-)

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, Apr 17, 2008.

It's mostly the restaurants that either don't have a liquor license or are waiting on the list to get one. If they can't sell booze it behooves them to allow folks to bring their own. They'll sell less overexpensive sugar-water but will get more customers in general.

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Reply by VRider, Apr 17, 2008.

Well, here in Serbia, when you open a restaurant, tavern, or anything else, you have liquor license by default.

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Reply by kalani, May 10, 2008.

In Hawaii, most finer restaurants are $25 corkage...pretty outrageous, however considering these establishments never have a bottle of wine for $25, I tend not to mind the fee if I'm bringing what I want and usually not on the wine list instead of chosing an inferior wine stritcly for price. Another favorite restaurant (Grand Cafe & Bakery) seems to be more reasonable by charging $2.50 a glass. Also, technically how can an establishment charge you for corkage if it's a screw top that you open. Gotta love the Chinese restaurants here that charge nothing. Happy sipping!

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Reply by Philip James, May 11, 2008.

Kalani - I'd like to see you negotiate on corkage when its a screw cap. I've heard restaurants say its also to cover the wear and tear / cleaning / breakages to the glassware, but its obviously to make up for lost profits on selling wine at 3x retail price.

We have the same in New York though. A restaurant that doesnt have a liquor license wont charge any corkage fee, which is great

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Reply by muddyrudder, May 11, 2008.

I have yet to dine where there is a cork fee! This thread has given me some warning and preparation of what to expect. I plan on visiting Spokane, WA and dine at a place where you bring your own wine. Any POI's out in Spokane? It is in Washington state and I know some good wines are made out there!

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, May 12, 2008.

Philip, however, the legality of BYOBs in NY state is still in question. Its kind of a gray area in our byzantine liquor code.

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Reply by Philip James, May 13, 2008.

RBoulanger - I just assumed it was illegal, but that no one cared.

New York also has some incredibly complex laws on bringing a bottle of wine purchased in a restaurant back home: http://www.bookofjoe.com/2004/09/wa...

"New York's law requires restaurants to reseal or recork the wine, place it in a "one-time-use tamper-proof transparent bag," and then securely seal the bag." In addition you need to carry the restaurant receipt that shows where you purchased the wine from and the cork needs to be flush with the neck - ie. fully inserted.

PS. I've yet to see a "1 time tamper proof" bag

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, May 13, 2008.

I remember all the news in the blogosphere about tamper-proof bags and how that was going to change the restaurant wine industry in NYC because we all weren't order wine in restaurants because we couldn't take what we didn't drink in a "to go" cup!

I don't remember any of this ever happening either.

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Reply by oceank8, May 14, 2008.

In California you can take the wine as long as it is in a bag (doesn't need to be tamper proof). However, there are plenty times where I have had to argue with the wait staff and get a manager involved before they let me. Seems silly that some people would rather you down the rest of the bottle before getting on the road rather than being responsible and taking it to go.

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Reply by Philip James, May 14, 2008.

Ocean - you speaking of downing the bottle before you walk out the restaurant reminded me of this story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22219861/

To avoid paying duty on his bottle of vodka, and to avoid the liquid limits for carry ons , the dude stood in the security line and chugged the whole liter bottle (1 liter which is 2 pints to those pre-metric peeps).

Obviously, after proving his point and gaining serious awe from onlookers, he collapsed, was taken to hospital and had his stomach pumped. I'm sure he thought he taught the airport security workers a lesson that day!

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Reply by rkymud, May 14, 2008.

I have only experienced this one time while eating out. And this how I dealt with the situation. There was an older couple sitting across from me and when I ordered the bottle I noticed they were quite interested in the wine I had ordered. So I politely asked if they would like to try a glass. Next thing I know they ordered a bottle and offered me a glass. I made some new friends and there is nothing more enjoyable than sharing good food and wine with new friends.

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Reply by Philip James, May 15, 2008.

I know NYC is an oddity in the US, is it true that across most of the country the majority of restaurants are very open to BYOB?

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Reply by oceank8, May 15, 2008.

Around here most places allow it but almost no one encourages it. You don't see it all that often and some places charge the huge corkage fees to keep you from doing it. But yeah, if you want to, you generally can.

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Reply by andreadawn83, Sep 11, 2008.

I manage a restaurant and we charge $15 for a corkage fee. It's not very often that people bring in their own wines but when they do it is usually a very special bottle for a special occasion so they don't mind paying the extra $15 dollars. Most people expect to pay a little extra to have someone serve them their wine. I think it is a reasonable expectation that the restaurant should still profit because we are the ones paying the servers who are opening and pouring the wine.

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