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Restaurants Allowing Corkage

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Source: Eater NY

2013_corkcage_economy123-thumb.jpg

A generation is retiring. For all the talk of Millennials, it was the Baby Boomers who took their interest in fine wine to the massive middle of American restaurants. Fine wine had previously been sold in French, Italian, and German restaurant enclaves, but on a small scale and to a limited clientele. The Boomer generation changed that, and their willingness to pay for wine brought deep wine lists to restaurants of all kinds and cuisines. In the wake of the Boomers, fine wine service flourished beyond the "fancy" restaurants. A good wine list became expected at any good or even ...

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This is an excellent piece that I would like to call a bit of attention to.  I realize that because the source is "rssFood' few people are going to read it.  But it's a good and timely topic worth discussing.

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I realize that because the source is "rssFood' few people are going to read it.

You'd be surprised. The New York City News Feed is the most viewed forum in DonRockwell.com.

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You'd be surprised. The New York City News Feed is the most viewed forum in DonRockwell.com.

Indeed, it is true. It actually takes a few moments to picture "how and why," but it's perfectly logical once you do.

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We are planning to celebrate a milestone with some friends and want to bring some special wine--any suggestions for celebratory-type restaurants that have reasonable corkage fees?  

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We are planning to celebrate a milestone with some friends and want to bring some special wine--any suggestions for celebratory-type restaurants that have reasonable corkage fees?  

Reasonable these days is $20 or less - is that the figure you have in mind?

The days of $10-15 corkage are largely gone, I'm afraid. You can still find it, but you have to really look.

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Reasonable these days is $20 or less - is that the figure you have in mind?

The days of $10-15 corkage are largely gone, I'm afraid. You can still find it, but you have to really look.

Yes--$20 is what I had in mind.  Thanks for any suggestions!

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Yes--$20 is what I had in mind.  Thanks for any suggestions!

I'm not sure how current this is, but it's a good start for calling restaurants and double-checking.

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I'm not sure how current this is, but it's a good start for calling restaurants and double-checking.

Very helpful--thanks very much!

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Here is a link to the official list of restaurants in Montgomery County with corkage permits.

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DLCLRE/Resources/Files/ApprovedWineCorkage.pdf

BTW, Maryland passed a law that requires counties to allow corkage a couple of years ago. The permit is free as part of the ABC license, but just like in DC, the restaurant must have a license for alcohol in order to permit it.

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It never hurts to ask.  I was in Vegas past weekend and when I asked how much corkage was and that I was bringing birthyear wines(1990, 1993) to celebrate with my wife and two boys for a special occasion, they waived the corkage.

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It never hurts to ask.  I was in Vegas past weekend and when I asked how much corkage was and that I was bringing birthyear wines(1990, 1993) to celebrate with my wife and two boys for a special occasion, they waived the corkage.

This is something you absolutely can not, should not, must not, count on, but I have had places waive corkage before - mainly in situations such as you describe, or if I'm polite, or if I order well from the menu.

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No corkage = booooooooooooo

I've never understood why restaurants offer reasonable corkage.

Imagine going into any business and saying, the first thing I'm going to do is totally screw over your profit margin. Now show me some great hospitality!

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10 minutes ago, Pool Boy said:

I do not want them to fail. However, I do like to dine out more often than less often. Paying corkage allows me to extend my dining out budget. It also lets me choose a bottle to drink out of my cellar at the time ***I*** think it is ready. It also allows me to try a vintage of a bottle that I have that is older than what is on the list at Metier or any other place for that matter. $50 is steep, but I would pay that to bring the right bottle.

That being said, I am happy to buy a sub $100 bottle (ideally sub $75) that is not ridiculously marked up that is on their list in most situations.

Bringing your own Rib-Eye or rack of lamb in and asking a chef to cook it for you would also extend a dining budget. One can also purchase insanely high quality beef these days, both locally and online, that is superior to all but a fraction of beef being served in restaurants. One could also age the beef to their exact specifications and not the restaurant's.

Anyone doing what's outlined above would be crazy, and the corresponding thread here would rival the Segway debacle many moons ago - yet for some reason the right to bring in one's own wine to a restaurant is one that restaurants are *supposed* to embrace (a) at a low price point and (b) to the detriment of their margins. Just can't understand this - and I've got a large cellar to draw from.

(Don, feel free to move as it doesn't directly pertain to Metier).

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Agreed. If they don't have a liquor license, that's one thing... But, it doesn't sound like something most service industry places would allow... i.e. patient's bringing in their own brachytherapy applicator for their radiation treatment that they got on line.

 

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3 hours ago, Keithstg said:

Bringing your own Rib-Eye or rack of lamb in and asking a chef to cook it for you would also extend a dining budget. One can also purchase insanely high quality beef these days, both locally and online, that is superior to all but a fraction of beef being served in restaurants. One could also age the beef to their exact specifications and not the restaurant's.

Anyone doing what's outlined above would be crazy, and the corresponding thread here would rival the Segway debacle many moons ago - yet for some reason the right to bring in one's own wine to a restaurant is one that restaurants are *supposed* to embrace (a) at a low price point and (b) to the detriment of their margins. Just can't understand this - and I've got a large cellar to draw from.

(Don, feel free to move as it doesn't directly pertain to Metier).

Hey I am not the decider of if a restaurant does or does not offer BYOW with a corkage fee. It is entirely their decision. If it is offered, I can and do partake of the option. If it is not, it is my choice to dine there or not, and if I do, how frequently. It's how the market works. No big deal. If the place does a good job of finding good, reasonably priced wines to offer, that's great.

I still prefer having the option of corkage though. Honestly, I'd love to hear stats on places that do accept corkage to see just how many people do partake of the option. I think those that do choose the corkage option are still in the minority when it is available, but my point of view is purely anecdotal.

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12 minutes ago, Pool Boy said:

Honestly, I'd love to hear stats on places that do accept corkage to see just how many people do partake of the option. I think those that do choose the corkage option are still in the minority when it is available, but my point of view is purely anecdotal.

I'd be interested in seeing these as well, and agree with you that the folks who choose the corkage option are in the minority.

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On 4/27/2016 at 0:31 PM, Simul Parikh said:

Agreed. If they don't have a liquor license, that's one thing... But, it doesn't sound like something most service industry places would allow... i.e. patient's bringing in their own brachytherapy applicator for their radiation treatment that they got on line.

Actually in DC or MD, unlike places like PA and NJ, if the establishment does not have a liquor license, they cannot offer corkage.  The law requires that there be a licensed alcohol manager on site.

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On 4/29/2016 at 2:35 PM, dinwiddie said:

Actually in DC or MD, unlike places like PA and NJ, if the establishment does not have a liquor license, they cannot offer corkage.  The law requires that there be a licensed alcohol manager on site.

dinwiddie, there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of corkage if it's offered; otherwise they wouldn't offer it!

If you want to find (or assemble) a list of places that are currently doing it, I'm all for it. It *does* save big money. And what's the difference between this and playing less for something at happy hour? Nothing.

I've probably taken advantage of corkage one hundred, two hundred, several hundred times in my life, and wouldn't hesitate to do so in the future if a restaurant offers it.

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On 5/1/2016 at 1:40 AM, DonRocks said:

dinwiddie, there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of corkage if it's offered; otherwise they wouldn't offer it!

If you want to find (or assemble) a list of places that are currently doing it, I'm all for it. It *does* save big money. And what's the difference between this and playing less for something at happy hour? Nothing.

I've probably taken advantage of corkage one hundred, two hundred, several hundred times in my life, and wouldn't hesitate to do so in the future if a restaurant offers it.

I agree.  As Pool Boy can tell you, I have availed myself of corkage in DC, MD, and VA, hundreds of times.  I was only commenting on the fact that in DC and MD, corkage is only permitted in establishments with a liquor license.  Yes. Corkage does save money, but that is not the reason I normally do it.  I have a lot of wine in my cellar, most of it very small production stuff that I like to drink with a good meal.  If I can bring a bottle of Kosta Browne, Karl Lawrence, Radio Coteau, Loring, etc, with me, and enjoy it with a great meal, so much the better.  However, at least half the time I purchase something from the list.  That way sometimes I get to drink a great, well aged bottle from my cellar on occasion, and I get to try something that I am not familiar with, or don't have in the cellar, on others.  After all, most sommeliers know a whole lot more about wine, and what will go with the dishes the chef makes, that I do.  Why wouldn't I avail myself of their expertise as often as I decide to bring my own?

 

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It's a bit of a drive, but I love what Bavette's does in Chicago. You're allowed to bring in one bottle per person, and there is no corkage fee as long as you share a glass with a neighboring table. 

We witnessed this while we were there several months ago, and I was the lucky recipient of a glass of wine from a neighboring table. Unfortunately, they didn't bring a rare bordeaux or cabernet. I believe it was an unremarkable bottle you can find in a supermarket. 

Still, a novel concept. 

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