It’s no secret that the fastest way to kill a budget is to do your boozing outside the house. Those $7 beers and $12 glasses of wine add up quickly, especially for the particularly thirsty among us, because who has just one?
Buying by the bottle may make us feel more thrifty, but chances are that $40 bottle can be found in the closest supermarket or liquor store for $15. According to sommelier Mark Oldman in his book How to Drink Like a Billionaire, a bottle of wine in a restaurant could be marked up to 400 percent higher than the wholesale cost to cover rent, wages, glassware, etc., and while we’re all in for keeping our favorite restaurants alive, sometimes a little thrift is necessary.
To keep some of our money in the bank while still doing a satisfactory amount of quaffing, we’re left with happy hour specials or the handful of places that still offer BYOB.
For some, BYOB isn’t about the money. There are wine and beer aficionados who don't mind paying whatever corkage fee a restaurant may charge just to drink that Bordeaux they’ve been saving for a special occasion.
Whatever your reason for packing that bottle, we've compiled an updated list of the best BYOB restaurants in Dallas:
20 Feet Seafood Joint
1160 Peavy Road
20 Feet is likely the best all-around seafood restaurant in Dallas that can simultaneously fry up some reliable fish and chips while also preparing a chef-standard salmon flown in from the Bay of Fundy. In fact, all of the seafood is flown in and delivered to the restaurant’s door, including Bluepoint oysters from Long Island Sound and Ipswich clams from Massachusetts, all of which wash down nicely with your own beer or wine. A short walk across the street is Goodfriend Package, half deli and, conveniently, half craft beer bottle shop. A chilled pint glass awaits you back at 20 Feet, where there is no corkage fee.
Tasty Tails (Plano location only)
240 Legacy Drive, Plano
When arriving at Tasty Tails in Plano, you won’t see a sign outside because it’s one of several food court stands in what is simply marked in yellow letters at the end of Central Legacy shopping center as “Food Court.” The fragrance of broth and noodles from China, Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan welcome you inside the food court, and straight in the back, you can find the singularly American food stall. Tasty Tails is significant for being one of the few spots in the area that has live crawfish delivered directly from the bayou when in season. Blue crabs come in fresh year-round, but it’s best to call in advance; they often sell out after the weekends. If you’re particular about glassware, bring your own, as there are only Styrofoam cups. Even better, bring some friends and a 24-pack and spend the day experimenting at all the food stands after finishing your boiled bag of crabs, clams, and/or crawdads. No corkage fee.
Peak & Elm
132 N. Peak St.
Formerly La Popular Tamale House, a tortilleria and tamaleria that moved from Columbia Avenue and Munger Boulevard, Peak & Elm is all of the above, and it's a breakfast taqueria and restaurant. It is Junius Heights' best-kept secret with free booze Friday nights and during Sunday brunch. The frozen lime margaritas taste better because they don’t cost a red cent, and they're also a refreshing counterbalance to the tamale pie, which is two tamales covered in housemade chili, the requisite Fritos and queso fresco. Mimosas are also complimentary with brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Otherwise, this spot is BYOB during Friday and Saturday dinner and every day for lunch. There is no corkage fee, and there are chilled mugs and Champagne glasses.
201 S. Greenville Ave., Richardson
If you’re in the mood for a steaming hot bowl of bone broth and noodles you can boisterously slurp while drinking your market-price beer, go to King’s Noodle in Richardson. The 80 items on the menu can be intimidating, so let us guide you to the Three Delight Beef Dry Noodle with tendon, tripe and tenderly braised chuck. The dumplings are also a must try; get them in a traditional steamer or in that magic broth. Experiment with items from the "simmered" section if you want something along with your soup. Afterward, go next door to Happy Foot for a foot massage with the money you saved drinking your own beer. No corkage fee.
1410 N. Fitzhugh Ave.
Of all the places on this list, this is the formal date-night spot where you can slowly sip your way through a three-course meal with a small votive flickering on the table. Owner Mitch Kaufmann says BYOB customers account for about 90 percent of his business, but he recently began selling his own label wine should one forget or run out. Popular dishes include Kobe meatballs, watermelon salad and veal bolognese, but consider the weekly rotating chef specials. Reservations are essential on the weekends. There is a $5 per person corkage fee that covers as many bottles as you care to enjoy. For $150, you can rent the private room for a nightlong debauch with your friends and family. And don’t forget that Jimmy’s is next door, where you can buy an assortment of Italian import bottles.
4433 McKinney Ave.
Head to this Uptown spot if what you really want to do is BYOMimosas because this is Dallas, and here, we brunch hard. Some customers bring their own juice along with their cava, and for this there is a $10 per bottle charge. If you’re in a large party, it's $5 per bottle. But if you buy a glass of Kozy's fresh-squeezed orange juice for $4.50, the bottle and the glasses come free. The place is popular with the gluten-free crowd, but if you don’t have celiac disease and can spare the extra wheat, go with the regular challah bread when ordering the French toast. With 21 brunch entrees, there are plenty of options to go with a pitcher of America’s favorite brunch beverage.
2600 14th St., Plano
To take your feasting to the next level, call Mr. Wok two days in advance for a special occasion Beggar’s Chicken, a southern Chinese specialty wherein a whole chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, Cantonese sausage, shrimp and shiitake mushrooms, then wrapped in lotus and bamboo leaves, encased in a bread crust and roasted for 22 hours. Or for a one-day notice, get one of the 180 Peking ducks Mr. Wok sells each week. The grade A Long Island duck is a three- or four-person two-course dinner, beginning with a table carving where moist duck breast and skin are served with a smoky, sweet Hoisin sauce, shaved green onions and your choice of pancakes or buns. Sip hot duck bone broth stewed with rice noodles and Napa cabbage or gnaw on the bones braised in sour mustard greens and garlic. A few extra ducks are available each night for the ill prepared, but there will most likely be a wait. Enjoy your first bottle of pinot noir while watching the best use ever of an old Pizza Hut building. No corkage fee.
Sakhuu Thai Cuisine
4801 Bryan St.
If you’d like to test your palate to see if it can discern between a homemade curry paste and a jarred one, go to Sakhuu for a $1 per person charge to drink your own lager or bottle of riesling. Try the crispy duck curry or the steamed shrimp dumplings with mushroom cream for something different. Or stick to traditional Thai favorites like the glass noodle pad woon sen or stir-fries with the ability to get quite hot with a 1-5 spice level. The place is under new ownership but prudently plans to continue the BYOB tradition.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
1146 Peavy Road
This happy new East Dallas noodle house is perfect for a quick lunch or a lingering meal of pan-fried dumplings and boba tea. This is a fast casual spot, which means you'll order at the counter, but it doesn't begrudge anyone who wants to hang around long enough to sip a bottle of white wine and order extra dumplings. Don't miss out on a bowl of Hello Dumpling's flavorful beef noodle soup or grilled skewers of meat and tofu. There's no corkage fee and, like neighboring 20 Feet Seafood Joint, you're right across the street from bottle shop Goodfriend Package.
244 W. Davis St.
This cozy Bishop Arts Italian restaurant is somewhat of a hidden gem in a neighborhood filled with trendy options. Everything about this spot — from the family photos on the wall to the red checkered tablecloths — makes you feel like you're in an Italian grandma's kitchen. Dine on homey Italian dishes like sweet pea carbonara and chicken Florentine while you sip your favorite bottle of red. There is a $5 corkage fee, and if you're low on vino, Neighborhood Cellar is just a few steps away and boasts a stellar selection of affordable wines, some of which you can try before you buy.