BYOB – four of the best letters there are when it comes to dining out in the capital, particularly at the end of the month right before payday. That’s not to say we don’t love sampling the many tipples restaurants and bars have to offer, just that sometimes it’s nice to know exactly what you’re going to be drinking with your meal and – let’s face it – it's always helpful to keep costs down. We never want you to sacrifice your love of good food, so check out these London restaurants that have a ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ policy and put those pennies towards something important, like dessert, instead.
With its mass of Central London locations, Hawksmoor is a steak haven loved by the masses. You might also know about the group-wide Monday Wine Club; don’t worry, there’s no initiation, simply bring a bottle of wine, be it something cheap and cheerful from the local offie or a Nebuchadnezzar of Champagne, and enjoy seriously discounted corkage.
Where: Hawksmoor Air Street, Borough, Knightsbridge, Seven Dials and Spitalfields
Corkage: £5 every Monday (£25 every other day)
Tuesday evenings at James Cochran’s effortlessly trendy Islington restaurant see diners rocking up for a five-course extravaganza, clutching a bottle or two of their favourite sip. 1251’s BYO night is a steal in that you’ll only pay for the tasting menu, which is an incredibly reasonable £35 all-in. Fine dining to a hip-hop soundtrack and a bring-your-own-booze policy? Sounds pretty good to us.
Where: 1251, Islington
Corkage: No charge, though you must dine from the five-course tasting menu, available Tuesdays only
Hix Oyster & Chop House
Mark Hix’s Oyster & Chop House sees him on classic form, with a high-quality range of oysters and expertly-cooked steaks tantalising diners. It’s not a cheap eat, but book in for a Sunday night or a Monday and you can bring along your own vino without paying a penny's corkage.
Where: Hix Oyster & Chop House, Clerkenwell
Corkage: No charge on Sunday nights from 5pm or all day Mondays
Pretty pastels and views over Clapham Common aren’t generally synonymous with a BYOB policy, but lovely little neighbourhood joint Minnow makes an exception on Sunday evenings. For £24, you can tuck into an organic roast with all the trimmings, plus a pudding, and bring your own booze – a deal we think is pretty sweet.
Where: Minnow, Clapham
Corkage: Included with the £24 set Sunday roast (4-7.45pm)
The Ninth is TV chef Jun Tanaka's first solo project, after previously working in eight top kitchens (do you get the name now?). Offering a fresh, light Mediterranean menu, there are salads and various raw or cured items to kick things off, before moving on to heartier options of beef cheek and oxtail consommé. There’s an enticing wine list but if you’d rather pick from your own collection, there’s a BYOB policy on Mondays at no extra cost.
Where: The Ninth, Fitzrovia
Corkage: No charge, Mondays only
For more than a decade Mien Tay has drawn crowds of diners on Kingsland Road’s Pho Mile with its first-rate south-western Vietnamese food. You’ll find all the usual suspects on the extensive menu, from soups and salads to stir-fries and curries, along with some more unusual dishes, including deep fried frog’s legs with butter and chargrilled goat. Prices are low and made more enticing still by the daily BYOB policy.
Where: Mien Tay, Shoreditch
Corkage: £2.50 per person Sunday-Thursday; £3 per person Friday-Saturday
This pair of impressive gastrodomes each deliver glossy chic, with diners given the choice to eat either in the Grill, to enjoy the likes of fancy Wagyu beef, or to take a trip to the raw side, for sushi, sashimi and bao buns. The bill has the potential to get rather expensive at M but if you dine on a Monday, you can either buy a bottle in the M wine store and enjoy it at the retail price or bring your own tipples along without having to pay any corkage whatsoever.
Where: M Restaurants, City and Victoria
Corkage: No charge on Mondays
This cocktail bar mini-chain has made a name for itself thanks to its quirky, but brilliant concept. At BYOC (which stands for ‘bring your own cocktails’), visitors get two hours of drinking time, during which the on-hand cocktail pros will conjure up as many tailor-made sips as you wish using the alcohol you provide and the vast range of mixers the bar stocks. Simply bring along an (unopened) spirit of your choice, pay £25 a head, and get drinking!
Where: BYOC, Camden and the City
Corkage: £25 per person
The corkage at this totally on-trend tapas bar has doubled since 2017, but only because it’s introduced a corking wine list of its own and optional drinks pairing. It’s quite a bit more than what you’ll pay elsewhere, but given that the ‘allotment menu’ – which features plenty of pickled, fermented and cured items – is both delicious and reasonably priced, it still deserves a mention here.
Where: Counter Culture, Clapham
Corkage: £20 per bottle
Given that it’s a bistro and wine bar, it’s a little surprising that this Battersea gem allows diners to BYO wine, but it does, and for just £10 a bottle too. There is a caveat though: as Soif sources many of its wines from small scale winemakers, it asks that you follow that philosophy too. In other words, it’s out with the Hardy’s and in with bottles that are organic and/or biodynamic, and/or from small producers.
Where: Soif, Battersea
Corkage: £10 per bottle
This iconic, family-owned Punjabi/Pakistani restaurant is one of the most popular curry houses in town, with a reputation for turning out great food since 1972. It gets mightily busy here, especially on weekends, but at least you can occupy yourself with the booze you’ve brought along while you queue for a table.
Where: Tayyabs, Whitechapel
Corkage: No charge, ever
The Golden Hind
Few things beat a hot portion of fish ‘n’ chips, so what could be better than golden-battered cod or haddock with fat chips from one of London’s most celebrated chippies AND a bottle of something nice you’ve brought along yourself? Very little, we reckon. Seating is a little cosy, and crowds of hungry punters will likely obscure your view of the famous vintage fryer, but if it’s fish and chips and BYOB you want, this is the plaice (pun intended) for you.
Where: The Golden Hind, Marylebone
Corkage: £5 per person
If you’d rather save money on food than drinks, check out our pick of the best Cheap eats in London