The beverage side of your dinner bill is sometimes just as costly as the food that you're eating. The rising costs of food, everything from limes to bacon, have restaurants looking for creative ways to make extra cash. The wine list is a prime spot for boosting profits, and that $15 bottle of wine you've been eyeing at Spec's will likely cost you as much or more than a prime rib-eye if you buy it at your favorite restaurant. A 2010 Grgich Hills Chardonnay, available at Total Wine for $32, will cost more than $100 after taxes and tip at Bistro 31 in Highland Park.
But thanks to exorbitant licensing fees and a complicated labyrinth of laws that govern how establishments in Texas can serve and sell alcohol, there are dozens of restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that allow you to bring your own. These 10 restaurants and venues are among the best.
20 Feet Seafood Joint (above) Seafood and wine have a lot in common. They're delicious, they complement each other, and they can both run a bill up fast. At 20 Feet Seafood Joint in East Dallas, you can splurge on their seafood and save on the wine by bringing your own. Grab a group of your fanciest lady friends and split a bottle or two of Veuve over a plate of Blue Point oysters. Or, bring a group of your bros to watch some baseball over a basket of fried clams, shrimp po-boys and a sixer of Stella Artois.
Peak & Elm What's better than bringing your own booze? Free booze. You can bring your own beer and wine to Peak & Elm Cocina, but on Friday nights, you won't have to. Order a big plate of fajitas and enjoy free margaritas on Friday nights, or sip free mimosas with brunch on the weekends. According to the Peak & Elm website, the restaurant will be getting a liquor license this year, so this BYOB could be a limited-time offer.
Sammons Park & Strauss Square The City of Dallas doesn't allow drinking in city-managed park for some silly "public safety" reasons, but privately owned parks are fair game. At Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts Center, you can bring both food and booze to enjoy while you listen to local musicians during their free Patio Sessions concert series. The same applies at Strauss Square, just over by Sammons Park. Pack supplies for a cheese or charcuterie board, a blanket and bottle of wine for a well-rounded cultural and culinary experience.
Il Cane Rosso You can't bring booze whenever you feel like it at Cane Rosso, likely because owner Jay Jerrier is infamous for being just a little bit difficult. Wednesday nights at the Cane Rosso location in Deep Ellum are BYOB, but you're only supposed to bring one bottle of wine per person, and you'll have to leave your liquor at home. This may seem like a lot of rules for a BYOB joint, but we can understand why Jerrier wouldn't want a bunch of drunks turning on him because he wouldn't give them any ranch dressing for their pizza.
El Come Taco El Come Taco has all kinds of crazy shit to put in tacos, like veal brains, grasshoppers and ant eggs, but you won't find a drop of booze in sight unless you bring your own. Even if you don't need liquid courage to try some of the more adventurous proteins here, there's something almost sacrilegious about not drinking a cold Modelo or Victoria with a big plate of tacos. We also haven't really seen any restrictions on bringing liquor instead of beer or wine, so treating your entire table to tequila shots isn't entirely out of the question.
Cafe Urbano By virtue of being neighbors with the city's best Italian market, Cafe Urbano is one of the best places to BYOB in town. Stop in to Urbano to check out the rotating nightly specials, then head over to Jimmy's Food Store and pick out a great Italian wine at a reasonable price. A $3-per-person corkage fee is a pittance compared to most other upscale restaurants in town, and you can always run over to Jimmy's for another bottle of wine if you run out in the middle of dinner.
Monkey King Noodle Co. If hand-pulled noodles and fresh soup dumplings aren't enough to entice you into visiting Monkey King Noodle Co. in Deep Ellum, maybe the fact that you can save a few bucks and bring your own booze will. These expert noodle makers have plenty of free water and iced tea to offer patrons, but an afternoon on that rooftop patio with a beautiful view of the downtown skyline is only complete with a bottle of light white wine. Make sure not to overindulge, though, because going down that spiral staircase is a little treacherous even if you're sober as a judge.
Nonna Tata Feeling like making a trek to Fort Worth for some of the best Italian comfort food in the Metroplex? Pick up a bottle of your favorite Italian wine, like a Sangiovese or Prosecco, to drink alongside a big plate of Nonna Tata's famous lasagna, spaghetti, or my personal favorite, the pasta carbonara. This isn't the most upscale Italian restaurant you've ever visited, but it's likely one of the most authentic. With the option to BYOB, Nonna Tata is making you one of those offers that just you can't refuse.
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Tasty Tails Crawfish season could be drawing to a close soon, so you'd better get your ass to Tasty Tails before the freshest bugs are gone until next year. The crawfish at Tasty Tails are fresh and perfectly spicy according to our own food critic, so you're probably going to need quite a bit of beer to soothe your mouth after plowing your way through a few ponds. In this case, it might be best to go with a cheap beer that isn't too filling so that you can focus most of your attention and cash on eating as many crawfish as humanly possible.
Dallas Arboretum Being a beautiful floral oasis in the middle of a city that is almost entirely made of concrete makes the Dallas Arboretum appealing on its own, but being able to get completely wasted in the middle of hundreds of thousands of beautiful blooms is a truly beautiful way to gild the lily. During the summer, Cool Thursdays at the Arboretum are a great place to enjoy your favorite libations and snacks while listening to "national touring cover bands" like Bruce In The U.S.A. and Hard Night's Day. Small, soft-side coolers are allowed at the Arboretum, so nobody has to know that you have terrible taste in wine and really prefer a nice box of Franzia over an expensive Sauvignon Blanc.
It's also worth noting that you can host your own BYOB shindig in a park if you plan to obtain a daily temporary mixed beverage permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission. TABC doles these permits out to Texans at their own discretion for parties, charitable events, and political fundraisers, but you can expect a $50 daily fee and a $201 "processing surcharge" if you're planning to serve booze in a public place.