No Corkage Fees

Don’t you just love restaurants that don’t charge a corkage fee to open a bottle of wine that you brought from your own cellar? I love to taste wines at wineries and tasting events before I purchase. I prefer to not pay two to three times the retail price of a bottle at a restaurant, particularly if I have never tried it before.

I wish there was a place on the internet or an app where you could easily look up and compare corkage fees that are charged by restaurants. Typically one needs to wait until they arrive at a restaurant or call ahead to inquire about the corkage fee. I take it back; I just found a link on Open Table that has a list of free corkage restaurants!

Some restaurants charge anywhere from $7 to as much as $60 corkage fees. Plan to support those that don’t charge a corkage fee.

Places that charge NO corkage fees near Kirkland, WA are as follows:

*The Purple Cafe and Wine Bar (on the first 750 ml bottle and only if they don’t carry that vintage of that wine on their wine list). (Locations include Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, & Woodinville.)

*The Slip in Marina Park, Kirkland, WA.  [Note:  if your server is not 21 they may turn you away and say that they don’t allow you to bring in your own bottle.  Shoot for slow times when the bartender can open the bottle for you.] On a recent visit, they contacted the owner who indicated that the actual corkage fee should be $10.99.

*The Outback Steakhouse (restaurant chain in most states in the U.S).  No corkage fees for as may bottles as you wish to open.

*Russell’s Barn, Monte Villa Parkway, Bothell, WA (no corkage fees for Washington wines).

*Lot No. 3, Bellevue, WA (on first 750ml bottle if they don’t carry that bottle).

*The Commons, Woodinville, WA (First 750ml bottle if they don’t carry it).

*Alexa’s Cafe, Bothell, WA

*Barrio, Capitol Hill (no corkage on first 750ml bottle if they don’t carry it.)

*Preservation Kitchen, Bothell (free corkage every day for the first bottle of any local or Woodinville wine with purchase of two entrees).


4 thoughts on “No Corkage Fees

  1. Christine

    Some restaurants should definitely offer more clarity when it comes to corkage fees. But, it’s much easier to know ahead of time instead of waiting until you arrive or calling them directly.

    In case you hadn’t discovered it yet, there actually is an app where you can see corkage fees. Here’s the site:

  2. Bruce

    First, know that I’m not a restaurant owner, merely a patron. To me it makes sense that restaurants charge a reasonable corkage fee. After all, we wouldn’t expect to cut into their bottom line by bringing in our own food. I like taking my own wine to dinner–a know good bottle–and usually ask when I make the reservation to be prepared. Upon first contact with the waitperson I ask about the corkage, regardless of my foreknowledge, and ask if it’s at their discretion, making it clear that we both win, i.e., they get a bigger tip and I save a little on corkage. This approach has worked many times even when it’s a “house rule” that corkage be charged. It’s usually the more experienced wait staff that are comfortable doing that. I keep a note of the fee for each restaurant I frequent with the contact info in my phone. That also lets me track any changes in policy. Now I’m going to check into the app Christine has mentioned.

  3. Bruce

    AFAIK Russell Lowell’s in Bothel grants the first bottle of Washington wine free corkage. Subsequent bottles are $15. This may have changed since my last visit, or it may be at the discretion of your server.


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