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When is it ok to bring wine to a restaurant?

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When is it ok to bring wine to a restaurant?

josephnl | Jul 17, 2008 04:33 PM

We live in California where almost every restaurant allows a guest to bring his/her own wine and pay a corkage fee of from nothing to ~$25. We enjoy good wine, and have a pretty nice collection of wine at home. We enjoy eating out somewhere really nice about once a week, but because we are retired, we have to watch expenses a bit. At many local restaurants it is really difficult to find a truly good bottle of wine (in our opinion) for less than about $100...which with tax and tip would come to about $130, clearly more than we can afford. We have many wonderful bottles at home which cost us ~ $30-40 and which we could not afford to buy at a restaurant, therefore we frequently bring one with us and pay corkage. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable doing this, but nevertheless we are forced to do so if we want a good bottle of wine with dinner. Is it ok...are there any rules...how much should we tip the server? Certainly we would always bring a very good bottle with us, and one that is unlikely to be on the wine list. Also, we always offer the server a taste. We never know what is the right thing to do with tipping. Any advice re this would be welcome. There may be some regional differences in the U.S., but in CA due to the proximity to wine country, bringing wine to restaurants may be more common than elsewhere. Any advice would be welcome!

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