Eating out in London can be pretty damn expensive so when there’s an option to BYOB (we’re talking booze here, although bringing your own bitchez is fun too), then you can count us IN. We’ve tried to pick a real variety here, from Turkish to Georgian, – all you’ve got to take care of is the vino. Simples.
1. Fez Mangal, Ladbroke Grove
Always with a long line of hungry customers overflowing out the door, Fez Mangal is our go-to spot when we’re in the mood for some seriously fuss-free dining. These aren’t posh kebabs, like the wave of gourmet grills that have swept across London in recent months, but they’re arguably better. Hot, smokey, grilled meats and delicious mezze plates taste even better when they’re accompanied by beer that you’ve bought from the local offie. Just be prepared to queue on weekends.
104 Ladbroke Grove, W11 1PY
2. BúnBúnBún, Hoxton
Unsurprisingly, Vietnamese is pretty much the only food you can find if you’re headed down pho mile but BúnBúnBún stands out from the masses. It offers a range of less well-known Vietnamese dishes and its bun cha Hanoi (barbecued minced pork balls in a fish sauce with vegetables and noodles) is one of the most authentic you’ll find in London. The BYOB part is just a bonus.
134B Kingsland Road, E2 8DY
3. Band of Burgers, Camden
New kids on the block, Band of Burgers, are all about setting up a rocking environment in the heart of Camden, where you can BYOB (build your own burger) and also BYOB (bring your own booze). The DIY approach to dining makes for the perfect chilled night out – and we’ve also heard rumours that their milkshakes are pretty epic. Download Fever and you can book your build-your-own-burger ahead of the buzz, for just £7.95.
23 Camden High Street, NW1 7JE
4. Tagine, Balham
There may be shisha at this delicious little Moroccan restaurant but there’s certainly no alcohol on the menu, which is naaat a problem when there’s no corkage fee either. Slow-cooked meats and spicy tagines are, naturally, the way forward – try the barkouk (lamb shank, almonds, prunes, poached pear, sesame seeds) for something fresh and tasty.
3 Fernlea Rd, SW12 9RT
5. B.Y.O.C. Camden and Covent Garden
Bringing your own bottle is just the beginning of the adventure at B.Y.O.C. where a skilled mixologist will then turn said bottle into some incredible cocktails for you to enjoy with a group of friends. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free drink, meaning set entry is £25 per person for a 2-hour slot. With handmade syrups, bitters, mixers, herbs, cordials, juices, salts, fruits and decorations, you can rest assured that your sad bottle of gin will transform into a beautiful butterfly by the end of the night.
Camden and Covent Garden
6. Little Georgia, Hackney
We can’t say we’re experts in the field of Georgian food but we can say that the borscht – the ultimate test of any Eastern European menu – at this intimate little restaurant is the best we’ve ever tried. The food has that homely feel – like a big hug from your granny when you come back home for Christmas – but the quirky decor is much more Hackney than home-comforts. There’s a sister restaurant in Islington now too but that one is fully licensed so if it’s the BYOB that’s pulling you in, you better stick to Goldsmith’s Row.
87 Goldsmith’s Row, E2 8QR
7. The Bonnington Cafe, Vauxhall
Neighbourhood favourite, vegan-friendly, co-operative cafe is strictly BYOB and often packed. The menu and people cooking changes regularly so go with an open mind: what was Italian yesterday could very well be Vietnamese the next day at The Bonnington Cafe. There’s a blanket charge across the menu, with starters and puddings priced at £3 and mains at £8. A three-course meal for under £20? In our eyes that merits more than just an average bottle of plonk.
11 Vauxhall Grove, SW8 1TD