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What Does "BYOB" Mean?

A 'BYOB' restaurant encourages patrons to bring their own beer.
Some restaurants do allow customers to bring their own wines to the table, provided that they pay what a restaurant will deem a corkage fee.
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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2014
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BYOB is an acronym that stands for bring your own bottle. It is often used in invitations to parties at which the host or hostess will not be providing alcoholic beverages. Some restaurants also have BYOB policies if they do not have a liquor license or they choose to permit customers to bring their own beverages to be enjoyed with their meals. There are even some small cruise lines that offer BYOB policies. As a general rule, it is a good idea to clarify with the restaurant whether it permits customers to bring their own alcohol to a meal as well as whether it charges a service or corkage fee for doing so.

In some cases, individuals who host parties or gatherings are either unable or unwilling to purchase alcohol to serve to guests at the event. These hosts may, however, have no objection to guests drinking at their party and indicate this by inviting guests to bring their own bottle or bottles of wine, beer, or spirits. At such events, it is typically expected that each guest will drink from the bottles that he or she brings and is not necessarily expected to share their beverage with others. If the host does expect guests to share the beverage or beverages that they bring, this will be indicated on the invitation as "please bring a bottle to share." Hosts usually also provide non-alcoholic beverages and mixers for guests as well.

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While many restaurants make a considerable amount of money by selling liquor to their patrons, some restaurants do not have liquor licenses, particularly when they first open. As such, these restaurants allow patron to bring their own liquor. The restaurants may charge a small fee, sometimes known as corkage, usually a few dollars per person, to cover the cost of providing glasses and the service of opening bottles at the restaurant. For many patrons, a BYOB policy is an incentive to dine at a restaurant, as the cost of liquor at restaurants is usually significantly higher than the prices charged by retail stores.

It should be noted that not all restaurants that lack a liquor license offer a BYOB option. In some cases, a restaurant owner may object to liquor consumption on moral or religious grounds and may not permit patrons to consume alcohol in their restaurants. Restaurant owners may also simply want to avoid having to deal with patrons who have overindulged and so may simply offer only the option of alcohol-free dining. In some places, BYOB is not allowed in restaurants that don't already have a liquor license. Dedicated foodies who insist on pairing good wines or beers with their restaurant meals should call ahead to determine whether a restaurant allows patrons to bring their own wine or beer.

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