BYOB takes the financial ruin out of “dinner and drinks”

Bring Your Own, Damnit

Standing alone, a dinner or drinks can be manageable, but combined…well, that’s just stupid.  It’s like fighting two bears.  I can’t do that. Budgets begin to implode.  Enter BYOB restaurants – places where owners are lazy, poor, or philosophically aligned with drinking malt liquor with your dinner.

I hardly ever eat out, and if by eating out you assume the use of silverware, then I never eat out.  Falafel, pizza, Indian veg slop in a bowl, M&Ms, those are all manageable with hands and plastic sporks.   I mean, I did eat a $140 meal at Park Avenue Winter, but that was FREE because I wore a fucking skirt. Finally, Gossip Girl was good for something – sorry Ed Westwick fans.

But even if I had more money, I wouldn’t spend it lots of it on extravagant dinners with rounds and rounds of booze.  I have cousins and friends who enjoy nothing more than going out to a nice restaurant for well-prepared food in a nice, social environment. To them it is something special. They can get all gussied up and have grand old time.

“But Oliver, why don’t you like eating out? It is just sooo much fun?!” Listen, I like to get gussied up and have a grand old time as much as the next hillbilly from Maine, but still, all I think about are markups and other things I could be buying, like 1/4 of a plane ticket, bottles of wholesale alcohol, or teeth whitening kits.

And, in addition to a necessary pinche-ness,  my experience catering, serving, and cocktailing (just drop it!) in Boston changed me.   I quickly habituated to free food and free booze.  Siphon some belvedere. Check. Drain customers’ half-finished cocktails on the way to the kitchen. Check. Pack up that sirloin. Check. Schedule Hep check. Check. Most importantly, I  saw that the price you pay as a customer is not just going into the ingredients and preparation of the food nor the quality of the alcohol.  You are paying for the lease, the utilities, the staff, and all kinds of things that go to waste anyway.  That 4 fold markup is hard to swallow.


The beauty of the BYOB restaurant is that you can abstain from dining-out abstinence by circumventing alcohol markups while in fact having an even GRANDER time because you can bring in whatever kind of alcohol you would like and worry less about the bill.  BYOB also tends to create a much cooler atmosphere.

138 BYOB Restaurants in NYC ( NY Mag Listing)

99 BYOB Restaurants in San Francisco (Decider Listing)

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Oliver Hartman - Resident Bargain Whorespondent

Oliver was born in 1983, the year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac. He grew up in Whitefield, Maine, but since college has lived in Boston, Maui, Switzerland, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Nicaragua, and New York making his bread as a waiter, cocktail boy, camp counselor, writer, english teacher, tennis instructor, guide, model, and design agency jackass.

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