Ruxbin's dining room. BYOB will cost you (photo by Steve Dolinsky)
Now $5 isn't really that much to ask, especially since they provided nice glasses (albeit stemless ones) and gave us a large bucket to chill our wine in. But I found it odd that if they didn't have a liquor license, why would they still charge people to bring their own wine? Isn't that one of the sweet things about finding BYOBs? If you find a great place, you get to save money on the alcohol and bring your best stuff? I wasn't really sure if I was off-base or just being a cheap curmudgeon, so I sent the question out on Twitter. Here were some of the instantaneous responses:
"if it's a good resto and it allows them to survive, I'm ok with the $5 corkage."
"too much. A couple $ okay if they are provided glasses, ice, ice bucket, use of fridge. Otherwise BYO shd be voluntary."
"how's the food, service and glassware? All worth a extra tax these days..." "technically, you need a liquor license to charge a corkage."
"If a restaurant doesn't allow to purchase wine then then shouldn't charge for bringing your own."
This last comment was the one that really resonated (it was from a local restaurateur, by the way). I didn't want to sound cheap and come off as being a dick for asking if this policy was, indeed, illegal, so I just sucked it up and paid the $5. But should there be limits to what restaurants can charge for corkage if they don't have a liquor license? Aren't corkage fees supposed to be for people who bring their own wines, despite the fact that a restaurant has a liquor license (and therefore pays tax and insurance and makes a large percentage of its money off of alcohol)? It wasn't as if I was taking away profits from the restaurant in this case by bringing my own wine. They didn't really leave me a choice.
I'm so curious to hear what you all have to say on this matter.