O.C. Restaurants With No Corkage Fees


I got the following e-mail from a reader named Dorn:

I know you are not an alcohol drinker, but I suspect many of your foodie fans love wine. I would love to see a topic covered on OC restaurants that do not charge a corkage fee.

Considering that most restaurants mark-up their wines 200% - 300%, this would be a HUGE money saver for many who dine out regularly.

My wife and I have discovered that Houston's, Bandera and Gulfstream never charge a corkage fee (all part of the Hillside Group I think). Also, Pacific Whey Cafe allows you to bring in your own wine during dinner. They do not have wine glasses or corkscrews, so you'd have to bring those too, but again the savings is tremendous.

Do you have an open forum on your blog? Perhaps your readers could share their insights on this topic.

What I great idea I thought!

So far, thanks to Dorn, we have the following list of restaurants that charge no corkage:

- Bandera
- Houston's
- Gulfstream
- Pacific Whey Cafe

Any more? Put up a comment with your find, por favor, and I'll update the list!

Update! (Thanks to C, hungrymomma, and Gordon...and also this page from LocalWineEvents.com);

- Scott's Seafood in Costa Mesa (if they feel like it, or if you ask really nicely)
- The Cat & the Custard Cup (every Wednesday)
- Bangkok Taste
- Roman Cucina (Fullerton, Costa Mesa & Sunset Beach)
- Memphis Cafe on Bristol (every Monday)
- Memphis at the Santora (Wednesday thru Saturday nights)
- The Golden Truffle (every Wednesday)
- Motif at St. Regis Monarch Beach (every Tuesday)
- Beach Pit BBQ, Tustin
- Melting Pot (no corkage if they don't carry the wine)
- Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza (every Monday)

Keep 'em comin'!

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I have more restaurants with no cork fee:

Jack Shrimp/Newport Beach (first bottle no cork fee every day)

Mario's By the Sea/Dana Point (no cork fee on Thursdays with dinner)

Roman Cucina in Laguna Hills also does no cork fee on Wednesdays


We also have had no corkage at King's Fish House and Lazy Dog Cafe

Hooshfar Perakis
Hooshfar Perakis

Marios by the Sea in Dana Point offers no corkage (for the first bottle) seven days a week!


Zov's in Tustin, Newport Coast and Irvine have no corkage Sunday - Wednesday. They also have really great prices on their bottles.


Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa doesn't charge corkage either


Hungry Poppa and I just discovered Bangkok Taste in Santa Ana let's you BYOB!


YMMV, but I was at Scott's Seafood in Costa Mesa last Friday evening, brought in two bottles, and at the end of the evening our server informed us that we would not be charged corkage "since we were nice." He said it was their discretion. I had called in advance to check the price and was told it would be $15 per bottle (standard), but I know that some restaurants ease their rules on corkage when trying to drum up business. So either the restaurant is unofficially axing the fee as a good faith measure while the economy continues to tank, or the server "accidentally" forgot to account for the bottles knowing he'd have a better chance at an inflated tip (well, it worked!) while the economy, ahem, continues to tank.

Other than that nebulous bit of personal experience that may or may not pan out, I'd also recommend researching restaurants that have a day or two during the week, usually slower days, that promote business by waiving corkage. On the top of my head, The Cat & the Custard Cup in La Habra does just that every Wednesday. I also know that they waive corkage based on a "bottle in, bottle out" principle -- bring in a bottle, buy a bottle of theirs (even a half bottle), and they'll waive the corkage.

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