There’s a certain sneaky charm to bringing your own booze into a restaurant, even when doing so is perfectly legal. Get that cheap, (or not so cheap, depending on the booze you bring), thrill at these BYOB-friendly LA spots.
Tulip Café: Downtown’s Tulip Café serves Mediterranean fare at utterly reasonable prices and allows patrons to BYOB with no corkage fee. Tulip specializes in steak and seafood, and their shish kabobs alone are worth a special trip downtown. The place is tucked in a secluded alley, which sounds creepy but is actually romantic. And dining on the outdoor patio will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a Parisian bistro.
628 Saint Vincent Court, between South Broadway and South Hill Street, (213-622-5621)
Nearest Booze: Esquire Liquor & Deli, 619 1/2 S Olive St, 0.1 miles away.
Cha Cha Chicken: It’s all about the jerk chicken at this beach-adjacent Caribbean spot. Enjoy yours from Cha Cha’s lush patio (order plantains and rice too, obviously) while sipping on the beer of choice that you brown-bagged in. Round out your Caribbean experience with a six pack of Red Stripe and a piece of homemade flan.
1906 Ocean Avenue, at Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, (310-581-1684 or www.chachachicken.com)
Nearest Booze: Star Liquor, 1929 Main Street, 452 feet away
La Fiesta Brava: This under the radar Venice joint serves what are arguably the best grilled fish tacos in the city. For an extra brava fiesta in your mouth, order your tacos with a side of guacamole. Start with a bowl of chicken soup and finish with two or three bottles (or cans!) of your favorite Mexican beer.
423 Rose Avenue, at 5th Avenue, Venice, (310-399-8005)
Nearest Booze: The convenience store next door
Cobras and Matadors: This mid-city tapas spot serves a dizzying array of dishes, and securing a seat at the four-person bar allows for personally consulting with the chef on what will best suit your appetite and the bottle of wine you’ve brought in. Cobras and Matadors’ $8 corkage fee stands for whatever vino accompanies your small plate feast.
7615 Beverly Boulevard, at North Stanley Avenue, (323-932-6178)
Nearest Booze: Melrose Fine Wine & Liquor, 0.5 miles away
Toshi Sushi: This unassuming sushi restaurant serves amazing eel and yellowtail rolls, and both can be procured on the cheap during Toshi’s happy hour, which runs on weekday evenings from 6pm - 7:30pm. Pair your choices -- the portions are generous --with a nice sake, and don’t get confused by the sign out front that still says “Sushi Kaiho” the joint that previously occupied Toshi’s space.
2804 Hyperion Avenue, at Rowena Avenue, (323-666-1019)
Nearest Booze: The Trader Joe’s two doors down or the Gelsons across Hyperion.