You know, there are times – often many times, in fact – when even the finest selection of wines and the world’s greatest sommeliers can’t compete with a bottle of wine that you bought for a tenner and brought along to the restaurant with you.
Somehow it just tastes, well… nicer.
So in celebration of those occasions we’d like to raise a glass in honour of London’s finest BYOB establishments.
Little Georgia | Hackney & Barnsbury
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Little Georgia Cafe serves homely yet ambitious Georgian food amid a simple, tasteful decor of vintage portraits and fairy lights.
Details: 87 Goldsmith’s Row, Bethnal Green, E2 8QR | 14 Barnsbury Road, N1 0HB | No corkage if you spend £15+
The Bonnington Café | Vauxhall
A co-operatively run vegetarian and vegan restaurant maintained by an active collection of member cooks; so you never really know what’s going to be on the menu, except vegetables.
Details: 11 Vauxhall Grove, Vauxhall, London SW8 1TD | No corkage, 50p donation encouraged
Soif | Battersea
As a wine bar, selling bottles is pretty much Soif’s raison d’être. But they’re nice, so they’ll also let you bring your own on any day of the week to enjoy alongside their acclaimed French fare.
Details: 27 Battersea Rise, Battersea, SW11 1HG | £10 corkage
Persepolis | Peckham
It’s a teeny tiny Persian grocery and restaurant serving 100% vegetarian fare. Dishes are to be shared – a mix of vibrant salads, dips, pickles and more – best enjoyed over a couple of BYOB beers, or a bottle or two of wine, thanks to zero corkage.
Details: 28-30 Peckham High Street, Peckham, SE15 5DT | Mon-Sun 10.45am – 10.30pm
Xi’an Impression | Highbury
Authenitic Xi’an street food in a stripped back setting. Must-try dishes include their Liangpi (a popular cold noodle dish); their bianbiang noodles (this time warm); and their Chinese burgers.
Details: 117 Benwell Road, London, N7 7BW | £5.50 corkage for wine, £1.70 for a can of beer
1251 | Angel
1251 comes to you from Great British Menu winner James Cochran – who, as it turns out, has saved his greatest British menu for Mondays and Tuesdays, when you can score five courses of high-quality grub for £35, with free BYOB.
Details: 107 Upper Street, N1 1QN | No corkage
Singburi | Leytonstone
A family-run Thai cafe in Leytonstone with regular queues out the door, thanks to deep fried pork belly and your favourite bottle.
Details: 593 Leytonstone High Road, London, E11 4PA | No Corkage
Breakfast Club in Soho | Soho
Where The Breakfast Club all began; where two 80s children searching for an elusive alternative to sub-par sandwiches and mediocre mushroom burgers hatched a plan; where TBC is still BYOB and acronyms reign supreme.
Details: 33 D’Arblay Street, Soho, W1F 8EU | BYOB from 5pm-close every night. £5 corkage charge
Alounak | Notting Hill
An Iranian-style feast of garlicky yoghurts, smoked aubergine, grilled kebabs, basmati rice and warm bread from the proudly displayed tandoori oven.
Details: 10 Russell Gardens, Notting Hill, W14 8EZ | No corkage
Hawksmoor | Various
Some of the best steak, triple cooked chips, service and cocktails South of the North Pole.
Details: All Hawksmoor locations | BYOB Mondays, corkage £5 per bottle, £25 Tues-Sun
Tayyabs | Whitechapel
Whitechapel’s famed North Indian restaurant serves starters from £4, mains from £10, charges nothing for corkage and is still vying as one of East London’s best Indian cafe style restaurants. Which is good news, because Whitechapel can’t get enough New Delhis.
Details: 83-89 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, E1 1JU | No corkage
Caboose | Shoreditch
It’s first and foremost a street food stall in Brick Lane, but they also have a 13-seater wooden cabin which can be hired out for private parties at £35 a head. The focus is slow-cooked meats, namely pulled pork belly or beef brisket, served up with the likes of sweet maple slaw, BBQ pit beans, roast garlic mash… and whatever booze you like.
Details: Ely’s Yard Car Park, Dray Walk (off Hanbury Street) Shoreditch, London, E1 6QR | £5 corkage
Thai Corner Cafe | East Dulwich
Another laid-back, family-run Thai restaurant, this time in East Dulwich.
Details: 44 Northcross Road, East Dulwich, London, SE22 9EU | £3 corkage per person
It’s a low-key, vegan Ethiopian joint on Dalston’s Kingsland Road. There’s only one dish on the menu costing just £6, andddd it’s BYOB, making it a cheap and cheerful dinner option pretty impossible to resist.
Details: 528 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AH | Mon-Sun, 12-10pm
Last Updated: 25th January 2021 | Main image: 1251
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