Whether you’re a a cheapskate like me with an abundance of gifted vino, or a wine lover who’s been dying to try that one special place with that one very special bottle, here’s a list of places that accommodate those who bring their own wine. Some charge a small corkage fee; others charge a large corkage fee (probably because their wine lists are so good). And some (the best ones in our opinion) charge no fee at all.
ARMANI’S 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, 813-207-6800. Jon Palmer Claridge loved Armani’s, located inside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tampa. The menu is impressive, but the corkage fee may not be worth the effort (especially considering their wine list). At $40 per bottle, it’s the steepest on our list. Might want to get a box of wine to bring, if you plan on “uncorking” it there. Or, just order off the very well-curated wine list.
BEIRUT CAFÉ 5281 Park St. N, St. Petersburg, 727-541-4488, beirutcafe.net. While enjoying a spread of baba ghanoush and grape leaves, I noticed two gentlemen enjoying a bottle of wine over dinner at Beirut Café. Despite dining here on numerous occasions, sans alcohol, I had never thought to ask about BYOB. Turns out, owners Hana Lakkis and Fisal Houssein will gladly uncork your wine for a $5 fee.
BROADWAY DELI & CAFÉ 730 Broadway, Dunedin, 730 Broadway, Dunedin, 727-286-6270, broadwaydelicafe.com. The Broadway Deli and Café is one of “delightful” Dunedin’s best spots for a romantic and tasty meal. During dinner service, customers are invited to bring their own bottle of wine to enjoy, free of any corkage fee. Dinner service is Thursday until 8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday until 9 p.m.
CHARLEY’S STEAKHOUSE 4444 W. Cypress St., Tampa, 813-353-9706. One of Tampa’s best spots to grab a steak also has a pretty decent BYOB policy. Bring your favorite wine to enjoy with one of their delicious aged steaks, and it’s just $16 for corkage per bottle.
CHART HOUSE 7616 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, 813-289-7773, chart-house.com. The Chart House is home to fresh fish, prime rib and tender steaks. Located right on the water, you can enjoy your own bottle of wine for a $20 corkage fee per bottle.
CELLO’S CHAR-HOUSE 143 Seventh Ave. N, Safety Harbor, 727-723-0909. The reservations-only secret Safety Harbor spot is known for incredibly fresh cooking. Ingredients are purchased fresh that day, diners choose their meat or fish base, and enjoy numerous side dishes too. Bring your own bottle, corkage fee-free, to sip on while you dine.
CRU CELLAR 2506 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-831-1117, crucellarstampa.com. The wine retail store and café offers quite a few wines by the glass but the retail store is home to many great bottles. Pick up a bottle and enjoy onsite with your food (which is really good by the way) for a $12 corkage fee. Or, purchase a bottle for $20 or more and the corkage fee is waived.
FLEMINGS 4322 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, 813-874-9463. Flemings never ceases to amaze with their attention to detail and consistently good food and service. It should come as no surprise that, despite having one of the biggest and tastiest wine menus locally, they also offer a BYOB policy for $20 per bottle.
GERMAN BISTRO 2 1300 E. Bay Drive, Largo, 727-216-6519. The authentic German spot in Largo doesn’t have a license to sell alcohol yet — so offer red and white wine, plus German beer gratis with your meal. Or, you can “bring wine or bring scotch on the rocks if you like,” the hostess told us over the phone. As for a corkage fee, bottles can be enjoyed for free.
GUPPY’S 1701 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, 727-593-2032. Head to the beach for some fresh seafood at Guppy’s. Should you wish to enjoy your mahi-mahi with wine, Guppy’s charges $15 per bottle.
MONTAURO RISTORANTE 2501 W. Tampa Bay Blvd., Tampa, 813-872-0209. A well-kept secret Italian spot in West Tampa where food is family. The food is simple but done impeccably and you immediately feel like family when you walk in the door. Bring your own bottle of wine and there’s no corkage fee.
OXFORD EXCHANGE 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-253-0222, oxfordexchange.com. Tampa’s hottest daytime meeting spot offers a great selection of tea, coffee and sandwiches. Bring some wine to enjoy in the beautiful atrium for a corkage fee of $15 per bottle.
RESERVATIONS GOURMET TO GO 4703 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-231-6800, reservationsmenu.com. One of the tastiest spots in Seminole Heights is now offering dinner service on Saturday nights 6-10 p.m. Bringing your own bottle of wine is highly encouraged, we’re told, and can be enjoyed with no corkage fee whatsoever.
TOAST AND WINE CAFÉ 14921 Bruce B. Downs, Tampa, 813-632-3105, toastwineandcafe.com. Get a bottle of wine from Toast and Wine’s retail store and enjoy it on site with no corkage fee. They’ve got a wonderful menu of tapas dishes that will go great with that new bottle of vino.
YUMMY HOUSE 2202 W. Waters Ave., Tampa, 813-915-2828. Yummy House’s lovely hostess informed me that patrons are free to bring their own beer and wine to the restaurant. There’s no corkage fee but she did insist people bring their own glasses for wine, as they have none at the restaurant.
VIZCAYA RISTORANTE 10905 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 813-968-7400. Authentic Spanish cuisine calls for vino. Luckily Tampa’s Vizcaya wants to help you indulge by allowing you to bring your own special wine from home. They charge a $15 corkage fee per bottle.