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Some of the best BYOB restaurants in Philadelphia

Some of the best BYOB restaurants in Philadelphia

Some of the best BYOB restaurants in Philadelphia

Philadelphia restaurant owners have found a creative solution to the state’s costly and restrictive liquor licensing system: BYOB (bring your own bottle) restaurants. This concept allows diners to enjoy their favorite wines, beers and spirits, helping restaurant owners maintain a lively atmosphere without serving alcohol.

BYOBs have become a staple of Philadelphia’s diverse culinary landscape, with pioneers paving the way and many establishing themselves as neighborhood landmarks with charming streets.

Venture into Philadelphia’s vibrant BYOB scene with these 9 restaurants.

How we choose our best lists

What makes something the best? Our recommendations are based on our journalists’ deep regional knowledge and advice from local experts. We also strive to represent the geographic and cultural diversity of the city and region. Spot any errors or omissions? Email us at [email protected]

Step into the bustling Mawn at Bella Vista for chef-owner Phila Lorn’s take on Cambodian cuisine. The menu includes Cambodian papaya salad with spicy tamarind and dried shrimp ($15), prohok (fermented fish paste) turned into “Cambodian chimichurri” atop a sliced ​​20-ounce ribeye ($49), and Northern Thai curry over neighborhood ramen noodles with braised chicken, chile jam, red onion and pickled vegetables ($24).

📍764 S. 9th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147, ✉️ [email protected], 🌐 mawnphilly.com

On East Passyunk Avenue, Carlos Aparicio’s all-day cafe turns into a lively BYOB (bring your own drinks) when afternoon diners come in with tequilas and beers in hand. El Chingón’s chef and owner is known for making cemitas, or sesame-swirled roll sandwiches filled with a variety of ingredients, from adobo-braised beef with consommé to sautéed mushrooms with parsley-caper aioli ($17-$22). There are also al pastor and chicken tacos ($17-$18), ceviche ($24) and scallops ($26) to enjoy in the colorful 30-seat dining room or outdoor seating on the sidewalk.

📍1524 S 10th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147, 📞 267-239-2131, 🌐 elchingonphilly.com

Tabachoy, the Filipino hot spot in Bella Vista, serves dishes like Caesar salad with salty bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) ($15) and ube soft serve with coconut caramel and puffed rice, accompanied by a crunchy nougat or a banana spring roll ($11). Chef-owner Chance Aines recommends light, crumbly beers like Kenwood Lagers or Asian brews like Sapporo and Tsingtao to accompany the meal, and the Champagne, pét-nat and rosé are perfect for wine lovers.

📍932 South 10th St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147, 📞 215-315-8720, 🌐 tabachoyphilly.com

Ian Graye’s Spring Garden BYOB restaurant serves Italian-inspired vegan dishes that give vegetables the recognition they deserve. Diners can enjoy parsnip piccata ($25), grilled cabbage ($23) and sourdough focaccia with charred leeks ($8) in a cozy, warmly lit restaurant.

📍614 N 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19123, 📞 215-970-9541, 🌐 pietramalaphl.com

In the 26-seat dining room, South Street’s Pumpkin BYOB serves three-course meals, including dishes like chilled corn chowder, crab cake and chocolate cake. The meal costs $55 and the menu changes daily at the 20-year-old restaurant. Co-owner and chef Ian Moroney recommends pairing his dishes with sparkling wines, Champagne, vinho verde or natural wines.

📍1713 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146, 📞 215-545-4448, 🌐 pumpkinphilly.com

Perla in East Passyunk celebrates the Filipino tradition of kamayan-style family feasts. Inside this 30-seat BYOB restaurant, chef Lou Boquila serves a $50-per-person menu. Jasmine rice, lumpia rolls, whole fried pompano fish and other Filipino classics to share with everyone.

📍1535 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147, 📞 267-273-0008, 🌐 pearlphilly.com

Chef Thanh Nguyen is known for offering a repertoire of specialty Vietnamese dishes. There are delicate water fern dumplings topped with chopped shrimp, pork crackling, mung beans, fried shallot ($14) and sizzling catfish with a dry turmeric rub, vermicelli noodles, fermented anchovies, pineapple sauce ($24). And the verimicelli plate (packed with fried tofu, pork, rice and pork patties, blood sausage, Vietnamese herbs, kumquat, shrimp paste dipping sauce for $34) is often accompanied by bottles of hard liquor — “whiskey for millennials and more typical cognac for the aunts and uncles who still enjoy France’s lingering colonial influence on Vietnamese culture,” notes Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan in his review.

📍1837 East Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148, 📞 272-888-3298, 🌐 gabriellasvietnam.com

Across from the Betsy Ross House in Old City, Olea offers Italian and Spanish dishes such as artichokes with garlic butter sauce, ravioli with goat cheese and pancetta cream sauce and pork chops with grain mustard cream sauce. The 32-seat restaurant offers an intimate setting for people to sip wine and enjoy the $70-per-person set menu.

📍232 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106, 📞 267-519-8315, 🌐 oleaphilly.com

Step inside Graduate Hospital’s newest BYOB to find a small menu that proves less is more. On Grays Ferry Avenue, soft lighting warms the 24-seat restaurant. Plates of rainbow trout, steak and asparagus emerge from the semi-open kitchen toward diners paired with their favorite cabernet sauvignon, riesling or rosé.

📍2241 Grays Ferry Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19146, ✉️ [email protected], 🌐 illataphl.com