Being a rational kind of fellow, I explained the situation to the manager of the restaurant and said that I would happily pay what he deemed to be a fair fee for corkage. The owner, being an inflexible buffoon, said that he was unable to meet my request and told me that they had ‘many very excellent wines on our list”.
Determined, I then offered to pay him the value of the most expensive wine on his list (approx £30) for the privilege of drinking my own wine. Again he refused saying it was against company policy. It was against company policy for a customer to effectively give him money for free.
Befuddled, I left the restaurant with my colleague and we went round the corner to the excellent ‘Manna’ where they were happy to accommodate my request for the nominal fee of £5. It was such a bargain that I tipped heavily.
So, WineOfTheWeek welcomes the recently launched London initiative called the “BYO Wine Club”. For an annual membership fee of £99 (£75 introduction price) members pay no or reduced corkage charges at what the founder claim to be “many of London’s best venues, including top Michelin-rated restaurants, trendy newcomers and neighbourhood favourites.”
You simply need to make a reservation with the restaurant directly, tell them that you are a BYO member and then produce your card when you turn up.
If I wasn’t a new father who never goes out anymore I’d give this a go. Alas for the next 18 years I am housebound.