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Kingston Corkage

Kingston Corkage, bring your own wine, byowI’ll admit it – I am never one to turn away a glass of vino – red or white, sweet or dry, chilled or room temperature. With Spring seemingly passing by as summer weather rapidly invades the Kingston core, I see myself endlessly looking forward to gatherings with friends and family at the beautiful restaurants and patios in our limestone city, eating delicious food, and of course – dipping into the wine.

For wine lovers, wine drinkers, and my fellow social butterflies alike, a handful of Kingston restaurants have the option of bringing your own bottle of wine with an accompanying corkage fee. The fee is a charge by the restaurant for the opening and serving of your wine of choice and often the use of glasses.

After my travels in Australia, the idea of BYOW made me a little skeptical. Corkage fees are very popular down under and I assumed restaurant goers were being quite fussy if they were going bring their own bottle of wine to dinner instead of trying a bottle from the wine list created by the establishment. I soon realized it’s quite a normal and accepted practice – and in many cases, very reasonable! Some people are very particular about their wine, not to mention, on some occasions, there is just one special wine that must be opened a specific event. It all made sense when I witnessed a couple enjoying their anniversary and the young gentlemen brought along his partner’s favourite bottle of wine.

Now – after becoming an active participant in the bring your own wine movement across the world, I’m delighted our smaller Canadian city not only offers corkage fees but also welcomes the freedom to bring your choice of your much loved vino.

Before you dive into the list of our beautiful restaurants, there is some proper BYOW etiquette you should consider: This might be self explanatory, but never bring a bottle of wine that is already on the wine list. Always check the wine list first. Many restaurants have their wine lists available online. Also – BYOW is a privilege. I wouldn’t suggest bringing the cheapest bottle of wine to a restaurant only to save a couple bucks – you should keep up with the caliber of the restaurant and take pleasure in your dining experience and wine choice.

Atomica: Only steps away from Market Square, Atomica is a hip place to be this summer. For only a $10.00 per 750ml bottle of commercially produced wine, enjoy your favourite bottle of wine alongside the celebrated mouthwatering gourmet pizza and fresh local ingredients the pizza and wine bar has to offer. Relax in the candlelit dining area inside or enjoy the front patio with friends as city hall’s clock tower winds down the night! Atomica will even re-seal any unfinished bottle for you to take home.

Bella Bistro (no wine menu online): Step outside of the Kingston nucleus and head west out to locally owned Bella Bistro to enjoy a ray of great food at affordable prices. Pair the yummy creations with your own wine of choice for a corkage fee of $15.00 per 750ml bottle.

Days on Front: The popular uptown restaurant is focused on bringing you the best dining experience with local seasonal ingredients for their Canadian contemporary fare. For $16.00 dollars a bottle, enjoy sipping your own wine of choice for that special occasion!

Olivea: Nestle in for a little taste of Italy right downtown while overlooking market square! The wine list already carries a wide selection from every region of Italy, but if you have a special favourite not on the list, Olivea carries a corkage fee of 15 dollars per 750ml bottle any night of the week. For 1 litre bottles, the corkage fee is one and a half times the original corkage fee, adding up to $22.50.

The Keg: Head up beautiful King Street for a lavish meal at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar and bring along your beloved wine you’d like to celebrate with. Most pricey of the corkage fees in Kingston, The Keg offers a corkage fee of $25.00.

Thanks to Andreas Gessl for the photo accompanying today’s thirsty post!

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Meg Lyons

Meg Lyons has retired as a contributor to Kingstonist. She was once Kingstonist's resident ecoholic, who wrote about sustainability as it pertains to the local food movement, transportation and life in Kingston. She is borderline cat-crazed and a self-acclaimed duck whisperer.

7 thoughts on “Kingston Corkage

    • May 8, 2013 at 9:28 am
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      Great! I'll have to check it out! No corkage fees :o!!!! How awesome is that!

  • May 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm
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    This article could hardly be more timely…. My wife and I just returned from a three day visit to Montreal and were delighted to discover an excellent BYOW restaurant, L'Académie, on Rue Crescent. A friend and I shared calamari and beer earlier in the day and decided to return later in the evening with our wives for dinner.. The waitress informed us that it was a BYOW restaurant and even directed us to a nearby liquor store where we purchased a modestly priced but excellent Argentinian malbec. When we inquired about the corkage fee she told us there was no charge!.. Happy Days!!!! I am glad to hear there is at least one Kingston restaurant that offers a similar service. Like the author we have enjoyed the Australian experience of BYOW restaurants that charge a modest corkage fee. Frankly some of the local corkage fees mentioned in the above article are simply outrageous. I am glad to hear that Atomica, one of our favourite local restaurants, at least has a reasonable corkage fee. Lastly I am not about to apologize for wanting to save some money by bringing my own wine..

    • May 13, 2013 at 9:51 am
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      That is so great!!!!!!!! So glad to hear there is another BYOW restaurant in our city I will have to check it out ASAP!

      I agree with you on some of the prices – very high! – so it is nice to know there are more places offering free corkage!

  • October 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm
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    Just ate at King Street Sizzle, and they do corkage for only $10!!! Great new menu too! So enjoyed their steak, and my g/f loved the signature pasta!

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