Not just the dominion of dodgy restaurants that refuse to get a licence off the council anymore, BYOB or ‘Bring Your Own Bottle‘ is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to attract diners hit hard by the cost of living crisis.
Of course, you’ll find BYOB in places where liquor licences are particularly difficult to get (mostly the suburbs) but it’s also not uncommon to find the option in even the city centre’s most popular venues. And it seems that each restaurant seemingly does BYOB differently, making it a bit of a minefield when it comes to eating out.
So we’ve put together this list of the very best BYOB restaurants in the city and beyond, featuring everything from tiny family-run Middle Eastern restaurants in Withington, to well, Hawksmoor – one of the world’s leading restaurants and a massive favourite in the city centre.
The Walled Gardens
One of the city’s most unique and experimental gastronomic experiences, The Walled Gardens is a supper club hosted by vegetarian chef Eddie Shepherd in his flat in Whalley Range. Limited to just eight diners per evening, Eddie takes you on a 12-course journey of wildly creative dishes filled with flavour, passion and innovation. Oh, and it’s BYOB – so you can bring a bottle (or two) with you to enjoy alongside the dishes.
Undisputed Neapolitan pizza champions of Chorlton, Double Zero may feel the struggle now that Rudy’s and Lucky Mama’s have moved in just up the road. But fear not, because this place has cultivated such a good reputation over the years that people will keep coming back for more – helped in part by their delicious Neapolitan pies and very generous BYOB policy. Corkage comes in at a respectable £1.50 per person.
One of the city centre’s very best restaurants and it’s BYOB?! Surely not? Well, yes it is – let me explain. Every Monday, Hawksmoor offer up a BYOB package where its just £5 for corkage. In fact, they also offer up BYOB on every other day too – at £25 corkage. So if you’ve got a bottle of Vintage 1985 Moet & Chandon and want to enjoy it alongside Manchester’s best chateaubriand – you can.
Offering up outstanding traditional Lebanese cuisines in Withington since 2015, Pasha is run by Tewfik Ouanes AKA ‘Taff’, whose brought attention to detail to traditional cooking techniques to bring us some seriously good Arabic dishes. We recommend that you try the Tabbouleh, potato kibbeh (minced lamb, wrapped in mash potato and deep fried… yep I know right?), Babaganoush, and cheese borek. The service is always impeccable, and with the BYOB policy, you’ll always be pleasantly surprised with your bill.
Mughli Charcoal Pit
One of, if not the best Indian restaurant on the Curry Mile, Mughli Charcoal Pit has been a constant presence over the years, when most other establishments have disappeared or been replaced by shisha bars. It’s testament to the sheer quality of dishes on offer in here – made even better with the fact that if you’re a student – you can have BYOB too! It’s available Sunday to Thursday and please make sure you show them your student card – otherwise they might get a bit annoyed that you’re just pulling out a bottle of plonk on the table.
If you want no faff, traditional Thai food, you’ve found your place in Chinatown’s Phetpailin. Naturally, they serve all of your favourite Thai dishes: Pad Thai, Gai Yang and Khoa Pad Siam, but they also offer dishes that are perhaps less well-known. If I were you, I’d opt for the ‘special’ Gaeng Ped Yang – a dish made from special Thai roasted duck, red curry with pineapple and tomatoes and creamy coconut milk. Oh, and there’s no corkage charge for the BYOB!
A Middle Eastern favourite in Chorlton, Jasmine has been reliably serving up some seriously good mezze and large plates for years now – and is still adored by its loyal fans in the local community. Set up by Mohamed Hacene and Samira Carima Abdi back in 2013, Jasmine has only improved over the years, with their selection of hot and cold mezze, dips, grilled meats and salads that keep you coming back for more. As it’s on this list – it’s also BYOB (with no corkage charge) so grab a bottle from one of Chorlton’s many offy’s before heading in.
Mi & Pho
Moving into Escape to Freight Island back in 2020, I’m amazed at how the Mi & Pho team still manage to continue to run their excellent Northenden restaurant too – often to literal throngs of locals flocking to get their hands on their exquisite Vietnamese dishes. Be sure to grab some bottles before going in – and corkage is at a very respectable £3 for wine and £1 on beers.
It might not look like much, in fact in the right light it looks a little bit shabby, but the food at Aladdin’s in Withington is more than enough to get this place on most people’s lists of favourite places to eat. Established all the way back in 1988 and specialising in Middle Eastern, in particular Lebanese and Syrian, cuisines – Aladdin serves up a long list of traditional mezze, shawarma, kebabs, casseroles and hearty stews. It’s also (obviously) BYOB.
Aladdin Restaurant, 529 Wilmslow Rd, Withington, Manchester M20 4BA
0161 434 8558
One of the excellent Vietnamese joints on ‘Little Hanoi’, or ‘Ho Chi Minh-coats’ – basically the concentration of some great little independent Vietnamese eateries on Oldham Road – just on the edges of Ancoats. Vnam is joined by Pho No.1, Ca Phe Viet, The Vietnamese Store and SNW Seafood, all in the space of about 100m. Anyway, Vnam is a truly good choice when looking for some traditional Vietnamese dishes, and with a BYOB policy – it won’t cost the earth either.