Wine lovers who bring wine to restaurants are usually happy to pay a reasonable corkage fee for the privilege of drinking their own special bottles. Others bring their own wine because it’s less expensive than buying off a wine list with high mark-ups.
But not everybody knows that some restaurants have certain nights when bottles from their wine list are half-off for bottles. And times when corkage is free. Here's a list of restaurants with special deals on wine, by days of the week.
Always a quiet night for restaurants. To counter that, Monday at the contemporary Mediterranean restaurant MoMed in both Atwater Village and the original Beverly Hills locations, is “cheap eats night” with flatbreads from their wood-burning oven, normally $13.50 to $16.50, priced at $12 each — and you also get 50% off bottles of wine.
Zov’s Bistro in Anaheim, Tustin, Irvine and Newport Coast charges no corkage on Sundays and Mondays, with a two-bottle maximum. The menu offers a mezze plate and starters such as shrimp and soujouk fritters, lamb meatballs and tahini chicken tacos. Main courses include falafel-crusted sand dabs, five-hour roast lamb and pan-roasted sea scallops.
Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades celebrates Tuesdays as their “wine lover and steak night." The wine list is 50% off and if you bring your own bottle, they'll waive the normal $20 corkage. What’s to eat? A selection of special steak cuts just for the evening, including certified Angus beef.
On Wednesdays, the Cellar in Fullerton sells every bottle on its extensive wine list for 50% off and if you bring in your own bottle, the corkage fee of $25 is waived. You’ll probably want to drink French to match the menu, which includes an old-fashioned lobster bisque, escargots with a touch of absinthe, and a Chateaubriand for two.
Tagine Beverly Hills gets into the act, too, with no corkage fee on Wednesdays (it’s normally $25). Chef Ben Benameur has some interesting wines on the list, including a crémant de Loire rosé, Bedrock "Old Vine" Zinfandel and Arnot-Roberts Syrah. But this is also your chance to taste some Moroccan wines, which you don’t see that often, paired with farm-raised lemon chicken couscous or suckling lamb tagine.
Harlow’s in San Juan Capistrano gives customers half-off all wines by the glass or bottle. That means you can drink LIOCO’s Indica red blend from Mendocino County or a Monastrell from La Mancha, Spain, with chef Aaron Anderson’s Mediterranean flatbread, steelhead salmon with succotash, cider-brined pork chop or the Harlow burger made with sirloin and brisket.
You wouldn’t think any restaurant would be discounting wines on a Friday night, but Il Buco, the little trattoria on Robertson in Beverly Hills, does. Bottles are half off on Friday nights. Just the place to drink Italian, maybe Elio Grasso’s Nebbiolo d’Alba or a Barbaresco from Produttori del Barbaresco. Whites include a Greco di Tufo from Feudi San Gregorio and Au Bon Climat’s Chardonnay “Sanford & Benedict.”
Sorry, no discounts: You'll have to pay full price.
See Zov’s Bistro on Monday.
Culina, the contemporary Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons Los Angeles offers free corkage, normally $25, with a two-bottle maximum on Sundays. Start with a bottle of Soave or Arneis and maybe some raw seafood from the crudo bar or cichetti (Venetian-style antipasti) then move onto a bottle of red, such as Valpolicello Classico or Montefalco Rosso with spaghetti alla chitarra with San Marzano tomato sauce or a half Jidori chicken with braised rainbow chard and rutabaga puree.
Drago Centro believes in free corkage on Sundays, too, and also offers 20% off wines on the list, which is rich in not only Italian wines, but also French and California labels. This might be the time to explore whites from the Veneto or southern Italy. Celestino Drago is originally from Sicily and so he’s got a nice selection of Nerello Mascalese reds from Mt. Etna. You’ll want to enjoy them with Drago’s paste di grana duro (dried pasta) dishes, such as garganelli with pork sausage or pappardelle with roasted pheasant and mushrooms. And don’t forget a glass of sweet wine from the island of Pantelleria in lieu of dessert.