What is a Corkage Fee?

Wine Pouring.


If you’ve ever wondered what a corkage fee is and why it seems to find its way onto restaurant bills, you’re not alone. Let’s unravel the mystery of corkage fees and navigate the world of bringing your own bottle to restaurants.

What are Corkage Fees?

Breaking it Down

So, what exactly is a corkage fee? A corkage fee is a charge imposed by a restaurant when patrons bring their own bottle of wine to enjoy with their meal. It’s like a ticket for the privilege of sipping on your carefully chosen vino in the restaurant’s ambience.

Why Do Restaurants Have Corkage Fees?

The Business Side

Now, you might be wondering, “Why can’t I just bring my wine without paying extra?” Well, restaurants incur costs like glassware, service, and ambience creation. The corkage fee helps offset these expenses while still letting you enjoy the wine you love.

How Much Are We Talking?

Fee Variations

Corkage fees aren’t one-size-fits-all. The amount varies from place to place and can range anywhere from a modest sum to a more substantial charge. Upscale restaurants might have higher corkage fees, while some casual joints might even waive the fee or keep it at a nominal amount.

The average corkage fee in the U.K. ranges from £12 to £15 per bottle but can be as high as £45 in some high-end restaurants.

The average corkage fee in the U.S. ranges from $10 to $40 per bottle. Certain dining establishments impose a corkage fee equivalent to the cost of their lowest-priced bottle of wine.

The Most Expensive Wine in the World
Expensive Wine

Things to Keep in Mind

Check the Policy

Before you start dreaming of that perfect bottle to accompany your dinner, it’s crucial to check the restaurant’s corkage policy. Some places may not allow BYOB (bring your own bottle) at all, while others might have restrictions on the type or size of bottles.

Be Courteous

Bringing your own bottle comes with a responsibility: be courteous. Respect the restaurant’s policy, and if you’re unsure, give them a call beforehand. Also, don’t forget to offer the Sommelier or server a taste if they’re interested – it’s a nice gesture.

Tips for a Smooth Experience

To ensure a seamless BYOB experience, consider these tips:

When to BYOB?

Special Occasions

Bringing your own bottle can be a fantastic option for special occasions. Whether it’s an anniversary, birthday, or just a craving for that specific bottle, corkage fees allow you to celebrate with your chosen libation.


In the end, a corkage fee is like the backstage pass to the concert of your dining experience. While it might seem like an extra cost, it’s a small price to pay for the joy of sipping your favourite wine while savouring a delicious meal. So, next time you’re eyeing that special bottle on your shelf, check the corkage policy, and cheers to a delightful dining experience!