It happens to the best of us: the moderately-priced dinner, the overpriced bottle of wine, and the look of shock when the bill arrives. The phrases “Did you know that bottle of wine cost $80?” or “I am almost positive I have a bottle of that at home” will inevitably surface, but since there's nothing you can really do about it, you reluctantly put down your credit card, calculate how many meals you could've eaten (if only you bypassed the drink portion of the meal) and leave.
We know what it feels like to fall victim to overpriced wine, and for those of us who like to dine on the town without draining our entire paycheck at once, BYOB is an excellent option. We did some research to scope out the best BYOB restaurants in Los Angeles and came up with a list of venues for you to choose from and booze from. Based on food, location, atmosphere, and corkage fee, we've chosen the following LA restaurants as the top BYOB spots that LA has to offer.
Best BYOB Restaurant in Los Angeles: Cobras & Matadors
7615 Beverly Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036
Finding either a BYOB venue or an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant in Los Angeles may pose a bit of a challenge, even for the most in-the-know Left-Coasters. Cobras & Matadors, however, combines the best of both in an alluring setting, tucked away in a cozy La Brea den. The name, Cobras & Matadors, fits perfectly with the dark, sexy space – a vibe that can accommodate to a dinner date or a pre-party dinner with friends. The room packs funky kids and a low-key vibe early on, but as the night flows so do the bottles of wine and things begin to heat up. The menu features an array of savory Spanish tapas dishes, including bacon-wrapped prawns and paprika-spiced potatoes. Small plates average about $10 – $15 each (which adds up if you've got an appetite); but at a place where you can BYOB, you can still leave satisfied and under budget.
Best BYOB Restaurant in Los Angeles: Café Pinot
700 W Fifth Street | Los Angeles, CA 90071
Café Pinot has been around for quite some time, and when it comes to BYOB restaurants in Los Angeles, this is just one of those places that everyone seems to know. There are two main draws at Café Pinot, the first being their no-corkage fee, which has remained intact for years. Other BYOB venues have hiked up their fees in recent years, but this place has held its ground (although you'll probably get a 'tude if you attempt to BYOB for a party of six or more). The second reason why we really love Café Pinot is the adorable garden patio, which gives off a charming vibe in the daytime and beams with romance at night. (Guys, take note: this is a great spot to bring a date will not cost you a fortune if you bring your own wine). Surrounded by lights, trees and the landmark public library, a night out at Café Pinot will make you feel like you've drifted out of Downtown LA. And if you don't feel that way, you should probably pour yourself another glass of wine.
Best BYOB Restaurant in Los Angeles: Colori Kitchen
429 W 8th Street | Los Angeles, CA 90014
There are very few things we like more than a heaping bowl of pasta at a traditional Italian tratoria; but when comfort food is served up at a BYOB restaurant (where there's also no corkage fee tagged to the bill), well… it really just doesn't get much better. The food at Colori Kitchen is known throughout Los Angeles as some of the best cheap Italian you can get in Downtown LA. Of course, this comes as no surprise seeing that Luigi Barducci Contessi (former executive chef at Ca Brea) is now the head chef at this lighthearted, friendly and cozy Italian eatery. If you decide to head to this BYOB restaurant, located in the heart of Downtown LA, be sure to swing by Ralphs (on the corner of 9th and Hope) or Golden Gopher (just next door to Colori Kitchen) to pick up a bottle of wine to accompany your meal.
Best BYOB Restaurant in Los Angeles: Pinot Bistro
12969 Ventura Boulevard | Studio City, CA 91604
The name Pinot Bistro sounds a lot like a venue we've already mentioned on this list (Café Pinot) and although both of these restaurants are run by the notorious boutique-bistro group, Patina, they are each places to taste and experience independently. With a BYOB policy and no corkage fee, Pinot Bistro gets a few brownie points from us. If you do decide to splurge on drinks (or buy one and bring one, which is a nice option), you will not be disappointed by their list of 200+ California and French wines. Choose a wine that will compliment one of their rich, traditional French dishes, and you won’t be disappointed. For a more laid-back lunch or an upscale dinner, Pinot Bistro is a great option for a BYOB meal in LA.
Top BYOB Restaurant in Los Angeles: Café Bizou
91 N Raymond Avenue | Pasadena, CA 91103
Wine connoisseurs love Café Bizou because of their incredible wine selection as well as their $2 corkage fee for those who want to bring one of their favorite bottles from home. But besides being a great BYOB venue, Café Bizou is the quintessential, cozy, candle-lit French brasserie which boasts classic dishes like steak frites on its menu. They also offer a $20 three-course brunch, which extends the free corkage to the mid-day drinking crowd. With one other location in Sherman Oaks and a Bizou Grill in Santa Monica, you can test out one close by or venture to all three to get the full Bizou experience.