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A spread of Mediterranean dishes that includes various salads, breads, and meat/rice dishes at a candlelit table.
Dinner at Apricot Stone.
Ernest Owens

The Best BYOB Restaurants in Philly

Corkage fees are uncommon, so bring your own bottle of wine, beer, or even spirits to avoid the alcohol markup at these great BYOBs

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Dinner at Apricot Stone.
| Ernest Owens

Thanks to Pennsylvania’s decades-old alcohol laws and the challenge and cost of obtaining a liquor license, many Philadelphia restaurants embrace one of the country’s most unique drinking workarounds: Bring Your Own Bottle policies. Diners can bring bottles of wine, bubbly, beer, cider, sake, and even spirits to dinner at Philly’s many great BYOBs; corkage fees are uncommon so you can save a ton of money on alcohol when you curate your own beverage pairings.

Bring-your-own restaurants, also sometimes called BYOs, range in style from homey neighborhood spots to upscale fine dining destinations and serve every type of cuisine. Here are some of Philly’s best BYOBs.

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Apricot Stone

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With a mix of Mediterranean, Armenian, and Middle Eastern flavors from chef and co-owner Fimy Ishkhanian, Apricot Stone in Northern Liberties is the destination for prix fixe meze or dinner-for-two menus. Bring a few bottles of crisp whites (assyrtiko from Greece or musar blanc from Lebanon) and chillable reds (xinomavro from Greece) to enjoy alongside hummus plates, boreg, and lamb kebabs.

Chef Michael Millon curates A Mano’s menu according to the seasons, so you can expect a dynamic dining experience whether you opt for three or four courses. The appetizers and house-made pasta courses include fish, chicken, and pork shank in traditional Italian preparations with a twist. Of course, it all goes extremely well with any Sicilian wine, like nerello mascalese.

Elwood represents chef Adam Diltz’s argument that Philly is so much more than cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. He sources everything locally to support regional farmers and purveyors at the Fishtown restaurant, which specializes in Pennsylvania Dutch country cuisine and serves family-style entrees for sharing. Try out the rabbit or the striped bass, ideally paired with bottles from Pennsylvania’s close-to-home wineries, or come for weekend tea service, which includes a signature venison scrapple.

Pietramala

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Eater Philly’s pick for best new restaurant of 2022, Pietramala is an Italian-inspired vegan BYOB offering an intimate dining experience in Northern Liberties. Chef Ian Graye cooks with locally sourced ingredients, so the menu shifts, but keep an eye out for highlights like the fire-roasted delicata squash or the salad of escarole with radish, fennel, and fermented ramps. There’s a $20 corkage fee per bottle.

Terakawa Ramen

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Head to this Japanese noodle house either in Chinatown or in University City for the ultimate ramen experience, including a couple of vegetarian ramen bowls — BYO sake. Terakawa Ramen is first-come, first-served — tough for planning in advance but ideal for a last-minute dinner.

Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine

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Although the focus at this Center City BYOB is on Malaysian cuisine, Banana Leaf takes inspiration from Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai cuisines as well. The roti, satay, and clay pot curries are bursting with vibrant spices and aromas. Don’t forget to try the Singapore rice noodles — they’re unmatched. Bring a 6-pack of Thai Singha beer.

This intimate Mediterranean BYOB in Old City has a wide array of pasta dishes to satisfy most tastes. Head to Olea on a Monday night with a bottle of Yarden cabernet sauvignon or Recanati chardonnay to complement the food — just remember to bring cash.

Amma's South Indian Cuisine

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Chef Sathish Varadhan’s essential Indian restaurant focuses on centuries-old South Indian dishes like rasam (lentils with spices and curry leaves), medhu vada (doughnut-shaped fritters), curd rice (rice made with yogurt and spices and curry leaves), idli, and dosas. Amma’s, which has locations in University City and New Jersey in addition to this Center City restaurant, can also cater to your heat-level preference. Pair the delightful food with lighter-bodied red wines, crisp whites like sauvignon blancs or vinho verdes, or pale ales and lagers.

Buna Cafe

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Buna Cafe stands out amid West Philly’s strong Ethiopian scene as a BYOB. Bring along a Spanish red from Ribera del Duero or a white such as a verdicchio and use spongy injera bread to scoop up doro wot (chicken and hard-boiled eggs) as well as vegan treats like shiro and ingudai tibs. Dig into a veggie or meat combo to ensure you get a hearty mix.

Giorgio On Pine

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This classic BYOB in Midtown Village by Chef/Owner Giorgio Giuliani has been serving up traditional Italian cuisine (such as spaghetti a la vodka, veal with prosciutto, and bucatini) with a sensitivity for providing gluten-free pasta options as well.

Pumpkin BYOB

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This South Street charm has been impressing diners for years with their unique take on New American cuisine. Try their sizzling flank steak (served with cabbage, farro, and horseradish) or vegetarian dishes (such as their grilled wax beans served with burrata, plums, and hot pepper agrodolce).

South Philly hasn’t been the same since this new Cambodian restaurant hit the scene with notable Southeast Asian entrées (such as Thai crab fried rice, soft shell shrimp, and steak & prohok). This intimate spot is perfect for a date night as there’s plenty of flavorful options to pair with a bottle for two.

Chef Lou Boquila’s modern take on Filipino food comes as a prix fixe Kamayan style of communal dining on banana leaves at Perla, with everything from pork lumpia to a whole fried fish. If you’re bringing beer to the restaurant just off East Passyunk Avenue, consider a bright lager or pale ale; for wine, an off-dry riesling or a pinot grigio would be perfect.

Gabriella's Vietnam

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Gabriella’s is the East Passyunk manifestation of chef Thanh Nguyen’s dream to bring Vietnamese flavors to Philadelphia and to introduce each dish as it is served in the streets of Vietnam. Locally sourced ingredients make their way into water fern dumplings, savory crepes with pork and shrimp, shaken beef, and a whole fried fish. Definitely bring some Thai Singa beers, pinot bianco, or riesling.

June BYOB

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Richard and Christina Cusack moved June BYOB from South Philly to Collingswood, New Jersey, without losing any of the charms of their seasonal French fare. The main attraction is canard a la presse, carved table-side during a set meal that you must reserve in advance; it’s a showstopper that could only be heightened by the addition of wine from Burgundy or Rhone.

Apricot Stone

With a mix of Mediterranean, Armenian, and Middle Eastern flavors from chef and co-owner Fimy Ishkhanian, Apricot Stone in Northern Liberties is the destination for prix fixe meze or dinner-for-two menus. Bring a few bottles of crisp whites (assyrtiko from Greece or musar blanc from Lebanon) and chillable reds (xinomavro from Greece) to enjoy alongside hummus plates, boreg, and lamb kebabs.

A Mano

Chef Michael Millon curates A Mano’s menu according to the seasons, so you can expect a dynamic dining experience whether you opt for three or four courses. The appetizers and house-made pasta courses include fish, chicken, and pork shank in traditional Italian preparations with a twist. Of course, it all goes extremely well with any Sicilian wine, like nerello mascalese.

Elwood

Elwood represents chef Adam Diltz’s argument that Philly is so much more than cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. He sources everything locally to support regional farmers and purveyors at the Fishtown restaurant, which specializes in Pennsylvania Dutch country cuisine and serves family-style entrees for sharing. Try out the rabbit or the striped bass, ideally paired with bottles from Pennsylvania’s close-to-home wineries, or come for weekend tea service, which includes a signature venison scrapple.

Pietramala

Eater Philly’s pick for best new restaurant of 2022, Pietramala is an Italian-inspired vegan BYOB offering an intimate dining experience in Northern Liberties. Chef Ian Graye cooks with locally sourced ingredients, so the menu shifts, but keep an eye out for highlights like the fire-roasted delicata squash or the salad of escarole with radish, fennel, and fermented ramps. There’s a $20 corkage fee per bottle.

Terakawa Ramen

Head to this Japanese noodle house either in Chinatown or in University City for the ultimate ramen experience, including a couple of vegetarian ramen bowls — BYO sake. Terakawa Ramen is first-come, first-served — tough for planning in advance but ideal for a last-minute dinner.

Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine

Although the focus at this Center City BYOB is on Malaysian cuisine, Banana Leaf takes inspiration from Chinese, Indonesian, and Thai cuisines as well. The roti, satay, and clay pot curries are bursting with vibrant spices and aromas. Don’t forget to try the Singapore rice noodles — they’re unmatched. Bring a 6-pack of Thai Singha beer.

Olea

This intimate Mediterranean BYOB in Old City has a wide array of pasta dishes to satisfy most tastes. Head to Olea on a Monday night with a bottle of Yarden cabernet sauvignon or Recanati chardonnay to complement the food — just remember to bring cash.

Amma's South Indian Cuisine

Chef Sathish Varadhan’s essential Indian restaurant focuses on centuries-old South Indian dishes like rasam (lentils with spices and curry leaves), medhu vada (doughnut-shaped fritters), curd rice (rice made with yogurt and spices and curry leaves), idli, and dosas. Amma’s, which has locations in University City and New Jersey in addition to this Center City restaurant, can also cater to your heat-level preference. Pair the delightful food with lighter-bodied red wines, crisp whites like sauvignon blancs or vinho verdes, or pale ales and lagers.

Buna Cafe

Buna Cafe stands out amid West Philly’s strong Ethiopian scene as a BYOB. Bring along a Spanish red from Ribera del Duero or a white such as a verdicchio and use spongy injera bread to scoop up doro wot (chicken and hard-boiled eggs) as well as vegan treats like shiro and ingudai tibs. Dig into a veggie or meat combo to ensure you get a hearty mix.

Giorgio On Pine

This classic BYOB in Midtown Village by Chef/Owner Giorgio Giuliani has been serving up traditional Italian cuisine (such as spaghetti a la vodka, veal with prosciutto, and bucatini) with a sensitivity for providing gluten-free pasta options as well.

Pumpkin BYOB

This South Street charm has been impressing diners for years with their unique take on New American cuisine. Try their sizzling flank steak (served with cabbage, farro, and horseradish) or vegetarian dishes (such as their grilled wax beans served with burrata, plums, and hot pepper agrodolce).

Mawn

South Philly hasn’t been the same since this new Cambodian restaurant hit the scene with notable Southeast Asian entrées (such as Thai crab fried rice, soft shell shrimp, and steak & prohok). This intimate spot is perfect for a date night as there’s plenty of flavorful options to pair with a bottle for two.

Perla

Chef Lou Boquila’s modern take on Filipino food comes as a prix fixe Kamayan style of communal dining on banana leaves at Perla, with everything from pork lumpia to a whole fried fish. If you’re bringing beer to the restaurant just off East Passyunk Avenue, consider a bright lager or pale ale; for wine, an off-dry riesling or a pinot grigio would be perfect.

Gabriella's Vietnam

Gabriella’s is the East Passyunk manifestation of chef Thanh Nguyen’s dream to bring Vietnamese flavors to Philadelphia and to introduce each dish as it is served in the streets of Vietnam. Locally sourced ingredients make their way into water fern dumplings, savory crepes with pork and shrimp, shaken beef, and a whole fried fish. Definitely bring some Thai Singa beers, pinot bianco, or riesling.

June BYOB

Richard and Christina Cusack moved June BYOB from South Philly to Collingswood, New Jersey, without losing any of the charms of their seasonal French fare. The main attraction is canard a la presse, carved table-side during a set meal that you must reserve in advance; it’s a showstopper that could only be heightened by the addition of wine from Burgundy or Rhone.

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