Whether it’s the last week before pay-day or you’re fed up of paying triple at dinner for a bottle of wine you can buy in Tesco, eating at a BYOB restaurant will always be a winner.
It doesn't have to stop at wine or beer - take a magnum and do it properly, or why not shake up some cocktails at the table? Either way we've got the city’s best bring your own booze places that’ll make you wonder why you ever paid extra for a boozy meal out again.
Ok, so the Soho Breakfast Club might not have a hidden underground bar, but the BYOB policy puts it right up there with it’s sister cafe’s and their secret fridge doors. Come rain, shine, breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, this place is always a people pleaser.
We’d take: sh*t loads of Prosecco and do this BYO breakfast thing properly.
33 D’Arblay St, Soho, W1F 8EU
A couple bottles of whatever you have at home and £25 per person will earn you 2 hours at a table in this bar, where the staff will make as many cocktails as you want with the goods you brought along. It’s hard to find and a little dark inside, but cosy up with the people next to you and you just might find yourself with a little extra booze to sample. Remember to reserve a table, or no one’s getting in.
We’d take: Absolutely anything – the weirder the better.
28 Bedfordbury Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2
Boasting the best steaks this side of the pond, cool furnishings and hot boys at the helm, this place is a no-brainer. Monday Wine Club means customers can bring their own booze all day for a £5 corkage fee, so everyone can splash out on a really decent dinner during the week without feeling guilty.
We’d take: a bottle (or six) of red.
1 Langley St, WC2H 9JG // 10/12 Basinghall St, London, EC2V 5BQ // 157 Commercial Street, E1 6BJ
Fish n Chips done right will make any sh*tty day feel good again, and corkage at one of our favourites is a measly £1. The food at this place is the real deal, so organise a cheap and cheerful pick-me-up and don’t forget to order some sides - the mushy peas here are ridiculous.
We’d take: a six pack of tinnies. No messing around, you’re eating with your hands for god’s sake.
73 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN
This restaurant does south Indian vegetarian street food at its best. Get the Bhel Poori; small sharing plates of savoury snacks, though BarChick got so involved that they made the perfect meal. It’s BYOB with no charge before 10.30pm - this place ain’t fancy and we weren’t completely in love with the service, but you can count on the food making up for it all.
We’d take: some sexy Asian beers, obviously.
121-123 Drummond Street, London, NW1 2HL
Said by many to be one of the best, the Billingsgate Market fish here is as fresh as is gets in the city. It’s all cooked upon ordering, so get your calamari, oysters and homemade chips fix without feeling greasy. It’s right near Emirates Stadium too - the perfect pre-match feast.
We’d take: bottles of dry white.
28 Highbury Park, London, N5 2AA
You don’t often find a BYO Italian, which makes Anima e Cuore even more special. Less fancy shmancy bistro, more local cafe, you’d be forgiven for walking past this place a hundred times before giving it a go, but regulars are making up for that mistake in abundance. Get some (very reasonably priced) homemade ravioli, veal ragu and ice cream and you’ll see why.
We’d take: an Italian red wine or stir up some serious Negronis
129 Kentish Town Road, London NW1
This Latin Caribbean restaurant is a big local fave, and with a menu including jerk chicken, sticky licky beef ribs, a messy mexican burger and hand cut chilli chips it’s no wonder. Remember to put your napkin on your lap and whatever you do, don’t wear white - things are gonna get grubby.
We’d take: tequila, baby - and shake up some Margaritas.
85 Kentish Town, Camden, NW1 8NY
This cool Caribbean joint is halfway up Brixton Hill and does some of the best jerk chicken and plantain wedges outside of Carnival. The tables are usually rammed, inside and out, and the BYOB for a small charge means that you can spend your pounds on extra rice ‘n peas.
We’d take: Any and all of the rum in our cupboard.
132 Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RS
This place serves delicious, authentic thai food, so don’t go thinking you can recreate your last Full Moon party and drink madness out of a bucket. Pining after your Khao San Road street food? This is your joint. It’s all about the family run, friendly vibes - order the Penang Duck. You’ll thank us later.
We’d take: Lime and basil Mojitos, using ingredients from the adjoining grocers.
361 Garratt Lane, London SW18 4DY
Wear your comfy clothes and get loose, because you can never be too relaxed at Maloko. This cafe is all about chilled vibes, and the eccentric decor with mismatched sofas and tables, messages scribbled on the fireplace and naked artwork on the walls set the perfect hangover cure scene. Yes, it’s big on health food, with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options, but that’s nothing a couple bottles of cider can’t fix.
We’d take: Genuinely? Anything. No one's judging you here.
60 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8TU
No one leaves Brixton Market hungry and KoaSarn is one of the reasons why. The service is speedy (seriously take longer than an hour and face the owner’s evil stares) it sure aint frilly and you’ll probably have to ask the next table if you can borrow their corkscrew, but the food is f*cking tasty. Most tables are outside but if there’s one place that takes people watching to another level it’s Brixton, so embrace it.
We’d take: bottles of beer, unless you like your wine in tumblers.
Brixton Village Market, London SW9 8PR
Head past the buzz of Brick Lane onto Arnold Circus and search out the blue panel with a “canteen” buzzer. This place is a converted school building, and the restaurant is in the old bike shed! Ah, bike sheds. The menu here is always changing, but you can guarantee the food will be home-cooked and delicious. Corkage fee is is a fiver - pocket money well spent.
We’d take: Something nostalgic like ginger beer (with rum and a lime wedge, of course).
Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES
The original hangout of Mark Hix’s now mega chain has BYO Mondays and no corkage fee. You’ll find it tucked away behind Smithfield market, and with all that amazing British food on offer you know you’ll have a good time.
We’d take: G&T’s to go with our Oysters.
36-37 Greenhill’s Rents, London EC1M 6BN
Don’t judge this place by the interior (OK, or smell), people. It’s amazing. There’s usually a queue so book a table and bring as many people as you can - you’ll want to order everything on the menu. This part of town has a reputation for its Indian food and Tayyabs is the perfect example why. Corkage is free. And if you miss the lamb kebab you’re doing it all wrong.
We’d take: Kingfisher or Cobra beer
83-89 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1JU
The seasonal menu at this gastro pub is banging, and it’s right in the heart of Vicky Park - perfect on a hot day. You can BYO on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, but is has to be from the Bottle Apostle next door. Love thy neighbour, right?
We’d take: Whatever they recommend at Bottle Apostle, these guys pretty much have it all.
Monday and Tuesday only
130 Lauriston Road, London, E9 7LH
Head towards the hordes of hungry people lurking on the pavement with plastic bags splitting at the seams down Umberston Street and you’ve found Lahore (if it’s too busy go south to their new Streatham branch. Worth getting your oyster out again). Even vegetarians will be satisfied with this one, and despite the fact it calls itself a kebab house this place is really all about the amazing curry dishes.
We’d take – Efes or Raki beer
2-4 Umberston Street, London E1 1PY // 668 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 3QL
If you’re genuinely into kebabs then you might as well get yourself a good one. Fez Mangal is as authentically Turkish as you get without having to stand in the middle of a bazaar with bleating goats. The food is made fresh right in front of you and you can rock up with as many plastic bags of booze as you like all week.
We’d take: Whatever we’re already drinking that night. Because we’re troopers.
104 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 1PY
This place has a great rep and the evening queues pay testament to that. The prices are really reasonable and the proper Persian food is really tasty - get yourself the koobideh (mince lamb) and barg (lamb shank) and you’ll be happy.
We’d take: Vodka and soda (Skinny Bitch). It’s a palate refresher and you’ll be eating A LOT.
44 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH
Our favourite little Thai cafe (famous among BarChicks for sorting us out after big Soho nights) does BYO every Monday night with no corkage fee, so you can wash your red thai curry down with a glass of your favourite wine. They also have happy hour cocktails every day from 5-7pm. Do both.
We’d take: Whatever we can lay our hands on at a Soho off licence
246 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NA
Another amazing Thai restaurant - this one’s seriously small, hence the ‘cafe’, but get chatting to the table next to you and you’ll be sharing the BYO offerings before you know it. The staff are always friendly and you’ll want to order everything on the menu, all recipes from which have been devised by the owner Sue Sambi. Corkage is a mear £1 - need we go on?
We’d take: Singha beer and Sangsom whisky
615 Harrow Road, London W10 4RA