While it seems there are some divided opinions on whether it’s ever OK to bring your own food into a pub, there are plenty of restaurants which let you provide your own booze, because they don’t want to or can’t get an alcohol licence.
This came to mind when a friend told us about a BYO Thai restaurant in Walworth in south London (Mama Thai, 235 Walworth Road, London SE17 1RL).
The nearest tube is Elephant and Castle. It’s a cheap and cheerful thai place without a licence (so technically BYO) but has struck a deal with the off licence next door to let you order what you want. They have a surprisingly good selection of bottled beers which you can order. Off hand, I remember there were Left Hand beers from the US, but I’m pretty sure they had a lot of Belgian, Czech and other European ones.
Given the appalling state of the beer on offer in most restaurants (“So my choice is Chang or Tsingtao…?”) and how fussy we’ve become about what we will and won’t drink, BYO is the perfect solution.
Here’s a directory of BYO restaurants put together with wine in mind, but we’d be interested to hear your recommendations.