Bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant can be an acceptable practice if you keep in mind the following criteria: It has to be legal, the restaurant must have a policy that allows BYOB, and you have to not be a total jerk about it.
The legality of allowing diners to bring their own bottles of wine into restaurants varies from state to state but fortunately in Nevada there is no state law governing it, so it’s only a matter of finding your preferred BYOB spot. In Las Vegas there are many, and when you do find one (suggestions below), it is imperative that you consider the restaurant’s own policies regarding corkage. Do not confuse legality with rights; it is entirely at the discretion of the restaurant to allow you to bring in outside bottles. Call the restaurant ahead of your arrival and ask permission; that magic word your parent’s taught you still has power. Typically, if it’s allowed, a restaurant will charge a corkage fee that is often comparable to the caliber of restaurant, i.e. don’t be surprised if it costs more to drink your bottle out of crystal glassware overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard than it does at your neighborhood café.
But which bottle will you bring? Definitely something that’s not already on the restaurant’s wine list. Corkage is best utilized when you opt to bring a special, rare and/or expensive bottle from home. When you arrive let your server or sommelier know that you’ve brought your own wine and feel free to provide any necessary instructions as to decant, when you’d like the wine served and temperature considerations. Obviously wine glasses will be provided but in a very casual setting do be prepared to pour your own wine. Perhaps most importantly of all, seriously consider ordering from the restaurant’s wine list, whether it’s a few glasses of sparkling wine to start out or a bottle of white for the first course; this goes a long way toward demonstrating your restaurant culture etiquette. After all, these lists not only offer a selection of wines for everyone’s tastes, but also selections that particularly pair with their menu offerings.
Finally, don’t forget to provide gratuity to reflect the convenience offered to you on top of the corkage charge you’re paying. And leave feeling good that you navigated BYOB in style.
Here are five spots to try with reasonable corkage fees and tasty food:
Echo & Rig
Bavette with Brandied Mushroom Sauce
A butcher’s best-kept secret, the bavette steak is an extension of the T-bone and Porterhouse steaks. Also known as loin flap meat, it’s officially part of the short loin section. Carved from the center of the sirloin and closer to the belly of the animal, it’s a highly marbled and prized steak. Echo & Rig at Tivoli Village simply sprinkles it with sea salt and black pepper. But if you’re into sauces, there are some options, such as the brandied mushroom sauce—veal stock based with mushrooms and brandy, finished with a touch of cream.
BYOB: Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 2010, $44.99
Description: Ripe dark cherry, sage and forest floor aromas framed by firm tannins and a lithe texture. Medium bodied with a bright, persistent finish.
From their wine list: Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, 2015, $80
Left to right: Slow cooked Short Rib at Black Sheep by Krystal Ramirez, Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella 2012
The Black Sheep
Slow Cooked Short Rib
The restaurant’s (8680 W. Warm Springs Rd.) fork-tender short rib is served with creamy, white organic Anson Mills pear-infused polenta and sautéed turnip greens, then garnished with wine-poached Asian pears.
BYOB: Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella 2012
Description: Richly textured and sumptuous, with aromas of brandied fruit, exotic spice and a refreshing herbaceousness. Supple and weighty on the palette.
From their wine list: Justin Isosceles 2014, $65
Andrés Bistro & Bar
Coq au Vin
The literal translation is “rooster in wine,” the chicken on the bone is braised slowly in wine, yielding a supremely rich sauce bathing the tender meat, pearl onions, mushroom, bacon. It’s a wholesome one-dish meal that is quintessentially French. (6115 S. Fort Apache, andresbistroandbar.com)
BYOB: Maison Roche de Bellene Vosne-Romanée Vieilles Vignes 2010, $72.99
Description: Red Burgundy with Coq au Vin is a no-brainer. Go for this old vine offering that delivers ample red-berried fruit, laurel spice, and tobacco aromas to compliment this dish perfectly.
From their wine list: Domaine Gochot-Monot, Côte de Nuits 2013, $66
Try the traditional panang curry that is thick, salty and sweet at the Downtown spot (124 S. 6th St.). The heat is mild, as are most panangs, but it still chases the chill away on colder nights. The red snapper is generally from the Western Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and is mildly sweet with a lean, firm, moist texture.
BYOB: Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese 2010, $66.99
Description: Just sweet enough to match the curry yet with ample acid to refresh the palate. Flavors of lime zest and ripe peach on the nose followed by crushed rock minerality in the mouth.
From their wine list: Michel Picard Vouvray, 2015, $36
Forte images by Krystal Ramirez
Pierre Peters Les Chétillons Campagne 2010 and other BYOB wines available at Valley Cheese and Wine
Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro
Specializing in Bulgarian cuisine, start with the Shopska salad, created with tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, green onions, roasted peppers and topped with the flurry of imported shaved Bulgarian feta cheese. Follow it up with Khachapuri, a savory, traditional Georgian boat-shaped egg and cheese bread. Use a spoon to pop the yolk into the melty cheese, then tear off a piece of fluffy crust to dunk into the cheesy well. (4180 S. Rainbow, barforte.com)
Corkage: $20 and $0 on “Wine Wednesdays”
BYOB: Pierre Peters Les Chétillons Champagne 2010, $169.99
Description: One of the most delicious Blanc de Blanc Champagnes available, full of finesse and complexity. Penetrating aromas of white flower bouquets, citrus zest and Acacia honey give way to decadently lavish minerality. Simply exquisite and tremendously versatile when matched with a variety of dishes.
From their wine list: Pentagram Trainer, $13