Tag Archives: BYO

My pet hate: great BYO restaurants and cheap plonk…

Let’s be honest, in regards to the food and wine industry, running a restaurant would be the hardest gig. It takes a brave individual to take the plunge and open a restaurant. When you consider the hours, pressure on family time and ultimately, the end profit, it makes running a successful restaurant as easy as walking across a tight rope in Port Melbourne (ie damn near impossible).

Then to take it one step further, one of the main ways restaurants can actually make some money to pay wages, rent, etc is by selling wine. There is not much money to be made in food. Some restaurants sacrifice profit for the love of their customers and allow individuals to Bring their Own Wine to be enjoyed in a restaurant. This is a gutsy move and not many restuarants can pull it off long term.

If I wanted to run a successful restaurant, the temptation NOT to offer BYO would be pretty strong. As a business decision, it is CRAZY to offer BYO. However, I am glad that there are some restaurants that offer the privilege of being able to bring your own bottle to their restaurant.

Hence, we should not abuse this privilege that BYO restautants offer. I am not talking about your cheap Chinese suburbian BYO restaurant nor local Pizzeria that gives you tumblers to drink your wine out of. I am talking about those fine dining restuarants that go the extra yard with food, service and good glassware. By allowing BYO it means that you can bring that special bottle to be drunk with food you can not simply cook at home.

In the UK, there is actually a ‘BYO Wine Club’ that has been set up as a business (click here to read more http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/483384/byo-wine-club-debuts-in-uk-restaurants ) and whilst I do not agree with everything, it is interesting to read their ‘Club Rules’:

Do not bring an open bottle of wine unless agreed with the restaurant in advance.

Do not bring homemade wine or boxed wine. Only commercially made wine in a sealed bottle is permitted.

Do not bring beer, cider, alcopops or spirits. Only wine and champagne are permitted.

Do not ask restaurants to allow BYO on non-Club days or times — they don’t like that.

Do not nip out to the off license during your meal to purchase more wine — it’s just bad form.

BYO Etiquette

While not steadfast rules, the following guidelines reflect proper BYO etiquette.  Please bear them in mind when visiting participating restaurants:

Endeavour to bring wines on par with at least some of the wines on the restaurant’s own list. If you feel the need to bring a truly inexpensive bottle, it’s best to do so at a comparably inexpensive restaurant.

Whenever possible, try to avoid bringing the same wine that is on the restaurant’s list.

We encourage you to peruse the wine list whilst at participating restaurants. Owners and managers have spent a lot of time and effort putting them together and you might find some hidden gems that you want to try should you return on a non-Club day.

Consider offering the sommelier a taste of your wine — it’s just a nice thing to do.



Quality restaurants in Melbourne that allow BYO (places like Matteo’s, Scopri, Mister Bianco, France-Soir, etc) don’t do this so you can enjoy a bottle of Yellowtail or Brown Brothers Moscato with your meal. Please don’t abuse the privilege: bring a bottle that justifies their BYO offer.

Roagna, Gaja & Mister Bianco:Two fantastic Italians and an awesome meal.

Last night I went to Mister Bianco with three mates and some fantastic Italian reds.

If you live in Melbourne, Mister Bianco in Kew is definitely worth a visit. It has been only open for a week but has already gathered a big following.

Mister Bianco

285 High Street
Kew Victoria 3101
Tel +61 3 9853 6929
E info@misterbianco.com.au

The best wine of the night was Pichon Lalande 1986 (thanks Chris H) but the Roagna Paje Barbaresco 2000 and Gaia Conteisa Barolo 1996 were fascinating. The Roagna had the Gaja last night but in the long run, I think the Gaja will be the better wine.

This was my second visit within a week and both times Mister Bianco has not disappointed. And yes, it also BYO for those who want to enjoy some special bottles. Please if you are going to take bottles of wine to restaurants like Scopri and Mister Bianco that actually go out of their way to allow you to bring a bottle, give you fantastic service and a great meal; make sure that the bottle of wine you bring is worthy of the effort they put in.

Good Italian BYO is hard to find…. unless you go to Scopri

Where do you go with that special bottle? Stay home? No way 🙂

It was always a hard question until about a year ago when Alison and Anthony (do we need last names?!!) opened Scopri.

Scopri Italian Food & Wine

191 Nicholson Street, Carlton VIC 3053(03) 9347 8252 ‎


After a slow start (and it takes a while for the word to get around) they have been packed to the rafters every night with not only locals but many in Melbourne town travelling across town to experience top-line BYO wine service matched with some pretty amazing Italian food.

They decant, have awesome glassware and know Italian wines very well having lived in Italy for a year before setting up Scopri. If your looking for a restaurant to go with that special bottle or just want a great meal served by two hosts who are as switched on (and always on hand) about Italian food and wine, then Scopri is your place.

What does Scopri mean?

Who cares. The food is good!!