The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board previously prohibited restaurants from charging more than $25 for corkage when patrons brought their own wine bottles to an establishment. But as of today, the liquor board has eliminated that rule. Now, restaurants can charge whatever they want to uncork a bottle as long as the cost is disclosed prior to its opening.
The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington was the driving force for the change. The group’s lobbyist Andrew Kline says a number of restaurant members expressed concern about the limitation, which was set several years ago after complaints of “exorbitant fees.” But Kline says it didn’t make sense for the government to regulate that fee and that the real issue was upfront disclosure about the cost. Previously, restaurants weren’t required to disclose corkage fees prior to opening a bottle.
Still, Kline encourages diners to be proactive if they want to go the BYOB route. “Hopefully, people will call in advance because no one is required to do corkage,” Kline says. “No one is required to allow you bring a bottle of wine in.”
Eater recently rounded up a bunch of restaurants that offer free corkage. Any restaurant can choose to be BYOB as long as it has a liquor license.