BYOB is one of those phrases that, for the budget-savvy or wine-curious, is music to your ears. You’re telling me, I can go out for a restaurant-quality meal, choose my own wine to bring and avoid paying on-licence markup for it? We’ll be there faster than you can pop the cork.

It’s understandable why many restaurants don’t offer BYOB. Alcohol can be one of the biggest money makers in the restaurant industry, and when establishments are facing ever rising costs and still recovering from the pandemic, it can be easy to see why they’re looking to make as much as possible. But, with the cost of living crisis impacting everybody, the option of bringing your own alcohol into an establishment can be a godsend in these cash-strapped situations.

But just because the bottle you’re bringing is ace, doesn’t mean the food is always going to live up to its accompanying beverage. And the last thing you want to do is waste a banging bordeaux on something less than worthy. Luckily, some of the city’s best spots will let you sidle on up with your pre-purchased vino at little to no extra cost – in fact, a fair few have garnered something of a cult following as a result (word on the street is a full bodied French red and the Tayyabs lamb chops are a match made in hipster heaven).

To ensure that you don't end up in a BYOB where the food is BY "Oh, my goodness this sucks", we've carried out the arduous task of eating and drinking to excess at a range of London's finest bottle-friendly joints. Yes, it was a hard old job, but someone had to do it. From £0 corkage fee hole-in-the-wall joints to restaurants where they literally cool your drinks in the fridge for you, London is a city that's fully hopped aboard the BYOB wagon. Full steam ahead.


83-89 Fieldgate Street, E1 1JU

It's pretty likely you've already heard the legends surrounding the lamb chops at Tayyabs. Even if you’ve never personally stained an entire wedge of napkins after working your way through all four of the charred bastards, we guarantee you’ll know at least one person who has. Because Tayyabs – a Punjabi restaurant that’s been feeding Whitechapel locals and away day hipsters since 1972 – is not only exceptional value for money, but exceptional fun, too. Order enough curry, grilled meat and naan bread to fell a fully-grown shire horse and you'll have the makings of a real good night on your hands. The service is wonderfully awful and no corkage fee means any trip to Tayyabs is an inevitably messy affair. But, honestly? We wouldn't have it any other way.


93 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY

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Bintang is Kentish Town's resident Pan Asian restaurant specialising in an assortment of dishes from Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Want to bring your own tart little bottle of vinho verde along for that ride across Asia's ace cuisine? Not a problem. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can expect to be charged a reasonable corkage fee of £5 to bring a bottle of your own choice into the premises. That goes down to just £3 between Sunday and Thursday. Bintang admittedly hasn't changed much since it made its Camden debut back in the late '80s. But the restaurant runs like a well-oiled machine with executive chef Omar Shah in the kitchen and, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, you know. Dive head-first into a fiery ulek curry and the chef’s special dirty fried rice as a means to soak up your tipple. What you’ll receive in return is a lovely sweat moustache and utter ecstasy.

Marie's Cafe

90 Lower Marsh, SE1 7AB

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It's not strange to see queues snake outside this Lambeth local thanks to its glowing (and ever-growing) reputation as one of the area’s best BYOB's. A nominal corkage charge of £1 per person is applied to anyone who wants to bring their own alcoholic beverage into Marie's Cafe. Hell, not only that but they'll even keep your booze in the fridge for you. The service is fast, the food is cheap, and the fact that you can get such punchy Thai dishes out of a greasy spoon that also serves English breakfast throughout the entire morning provides endless fascination. You won't find any acute accents on this caff.


Various locations

The Hawksmoor is a far-cry from your typical BYOB establishment. Mainly because it's not that sort of place 90% of the time. Come Monday, however, you can find Hawksmoor's signature wine club running at all of its London restaurants. The corkage fee for bringing your own bottles of wine into the steak specialists will set you back a mere £5. Get that meaty Bordeaux you've been meaning to crack open out of the wine rack and give it a worthy dinner companion in the form of a juicy bone-in prime rib.


181 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SZ

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KaoSarn is an authentic Thai restaurant run by a hell of a big family. That blood connection really shines through in the unwavering quality of the food served at all three of its London premises. The generously portioned dishes are exactly the kind that you'd fight for first dibs over at the dinner table. Pad kra praow is tart and refreshing; tom yum noodle soup has more depth than a Philosophy postgrad; minced pork larb proffers a happy-as-larry marriage of fat and spice. The ability to ordered an entire fried sea bass as you drink a six-pack of cold ones brought straight from your own home? Priceless. The charge for bringing those beverage? Also priceless. As in, there isn't any extra cost. Get yourself down to KaoSarn. Stat.

Mien Tay

106 Kingsland High Road, E2 8DP

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Having continued to expand outside of its original Kingsland premises, the Mien Tay restaurant quasi-chain now consists of four family-run outlets across London. All of them specialise in the same home-style cooking emanating from founders My Le and chef Su Tran's native south west Vietnam. A bowl of pho at Mien Tay will have you hunched over in bliss, siphoning spoonfuls of rich broth and slivers of rare beef into your mouth at an unrepentant pace. The remainder of the dishes are equally fresh while the overall price point remains more than fair. For a corkage of £2.50 per person Sunday to Thursday and £3 on Friday and Saturday, you can bring your own bevs, too. Mien Tay does, however, employ a strict no spirits policy. Follow the rules and you’ll be in for some fun feasting.

Xi'an Impression

117 Benwell Road, N7 7BW

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Carefully toeing the line between cramped and cosy, this tidy little Chinese restaurant specialises in Shan Xi street food and serves what are likely the best damned hand-pulled noodles in London. Founder and head chef Wei Guirong has casually gone about the business of creating a cult classic. Be warned though: it's cash only and they don't take reservations. But, with a £4.50 corkage charge and an atmosphere that borders on the aggressively familial, once you’re inside the premises, you won’t ever want to leave. You'll be close to folks, knock on wood, and have a wonderful time. At least, that’s the Xi'an Impression that I get. Invite us along the next time you go and we promise not to make any more ska music references.


593 High Rd Leytonstone, E11 4PA

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Nothing has had Londoners from all over town schlepping this far east since the olympics. But, alas, the pull of Singburi is strong enough to have residents from as far afield as Clapham hopping on the Central Line until it reaches the Essex boundary. Can you blame them? The restaurant is comfortably turning out some of London’s best – if not definitely London’s best – Thai food in the most beautifully unfussy of settings. The fact that it’s BYOB is just an added bonus – we’d come here no matter what. There are a couple of great wine and beer stores along the walk from Leytonstone station, and don’t forget to it up the ATM en route as well – this is a cash only joint.

Macellaio RC

Various locations

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Not simply content with letting you bring along your own bottle of wine, all six Macellaio RC sites are dropping corkage fees for lunchtime diners – meaning you can bring your own alcohol at no extra cost. Couple that with the restaurant’s commitment to big-flavour dishes and enormous plates of incredible meat butchered tableside and you have the makings of a fairly impressive midday meal.