Chicago's Priciest Corkage Fees

Saw this today…I have paid the corkage at Spiaggia a couple times- well worth it! I know that some of these rules…are more guidelines…

Being a Chicagoan, that now lives in the Bay Area, I can say that that really isn’t that bad. Especially when you compare it to NYC, and Vegas to a lesser extent, where they do everything with their corkage fees to dissuade you from bringing your own bottle. I can tell you that my wife and I when we go out to a nice dinner, in Chicago, or now in the Bay Area, always bring something nice and unique and are happy to pay the corkage. Many times restaurants will waive the corkage fee if you buy a bottle off their list, or if they like you.

I get that restaurants make most of their profits off of alcohol sales (read: wine), but I will almost always choose to avoid a restaurant that has an astronomical corkage fee.

Wish we had that option here in Ohio.

Came across $30/bottle for the first time (two restaurants) in the Twin Cities. I guess I’m getting a bargain. One of the restaurants had great stemware, properly stored wines, and an accurate inventory. The other had great stemware, didn’t have the first red I ordered off the list, suggested a replacement bottle not even in the same ball park, and served the red I ended up ordering instead so warm that I had to ask for an ice bucket.

They should have mentioned Alinea and Next which do not allow corkage at all. [soap.gif]


They did (kind of):

“While both of Chicago’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants, Alinea and Grace, don’t allow outside wine, here’s a list of Chicago’s 10 priciest corkage fees at restaurants that do.”

I’ve in the past called in to places that request ‘do not bring bottles on the list’ but seriously question how that would be enforced by a waiter. Do they know their entire list off the top of their head? Would they really ask patrons to not open that, if they are already there, or really insist that they purchase the same bottle off the list rather than the one on the table?

Over the years I’ve seen so many restaurants close, that insisted on their ironclad corkage policies (never and no!) as they started stiffing taxmen, vendors, and landlords. Never understood it. There should be some balance where on certain slow nights, or perhaps later seatings, where accommodating a wine tasting group, or some special bottles, will be a good business proposition all around.

And, if IIRC , Grace’s wine list is not that good. Always had the pairings with Alinea.


Missed that. Grace does allow corkage. Or at least I know people who have brought wine and were charged $50 per. The wine list is bad. Doesn’t match their food at all.


That is what I remembered, they didn’t have the wine I first ordered, either. And, on top of a bad list, they don’t allow corkage?!? Don’t get it.


Best deal in Chicago (other than pure BYO’s) is Gilt Bar and Bavette’s who while waive corkage if you share a glass from your bottle with a nearby table.

I’ve never been there due to their no corkage policy.

Not a deal to me. I rather pay and I find this extremely condescending.

I’ve seen photos on Facebook from kitchen table dinners at Next that sure looked like BYO bottles. Heavy hitters both around the table and on the table. seems like the rules are different for some folks? I would not expect any of them to out Next for treating them differently then the rest of us but it sure seems to happen.

I think it’s supposed to be fun, but perhaps you wouldn’t want to bring a 47 Cheval Blanc to share.

Why do you find the sharing system condescending?

Nick is drinking Cros Parantoux and the other guy has Caymus.

The problem wouldn’t be that you’re drinking better than the other guy. I’ve brought wine to Sodikoff restaurants on a number of occasions and there is no “other guy” sending you anything. I’d still rather drink 5/6 ths of something I’ve brought than try to find something off of their list. There is also some limitation on how many bottles they allow per table or per person but I can’t remember the details.

The servers are not allowed to drink during working hours, but I have generally saved something in the bottle and given it to the servers to enjoy after their shift ends to meet this requirement.

I just don’t like to be forced to share. I am happy to share when I want to. But in a restaurant, I rather pay a fair price for the service.


A lot of places in New York have corkage free Mondays. However, many of those have also bitten the dust. Each restaurant has its own policy about corkage and I have my own policy about money. I eat out a lot for business dinners and my guests tend to expect me to bring wine. Just yesterday, in response to an email from me suggesting a few places where we could meet for dinner, the response was “Just make sure it’s a place where you can bring wine.”