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     In response to user requests, here's a space where you can get the word out about your upcoming wine-related event. I enthusiastically welcome canned announcements, while reserving the right to edit or refuse them.

UPDATE 9/12/2009: The WineLovers Website mentioned below has happily grown into a national service, GoBYO. Their BYO database is regularly updated and I've seen nothing else anywhere on the web that can touch it. They also offer a very cool iPhone app, which I have already added to my own iPod Touch. Give them both a look! 

Didja know? 56% of Philadelphia restaurants now allow BYO! (Philadelphia, PA, June 7, 2006) A new survey of 1155 restaurants in the Philadelphia area has revealed that 650 restaurants now permit you to bring your own wine (“BYO”) – a substantially larger number than had ever been previously reported. 

The survey was conducted by WineLovers, a local group of wine aficionados. According to the organization’s spokesperson, Freddi Goldstein, the organization compiled a master list of restaurants within 30 miles of center-city Philadelphia, then queried each restaurant about their BYO policy and other essential information – either by mail or phone, during April and May, 2006. The only restaurants excluded from the survey were fast-food restaurants. 

Most surprising is that there are now 179 restaurants with liquor licenses, in addition to 471 BYOB-only restaurants, that are helping to make Philadelphia “the BYOB capital of the United States.” 

Current information about each of these 650 restaurants and their wine policies has now been posted on the WineLovers Website, which is now accessible to the public through The Website provides several ways to filter the database, including proximity to the user’s address, type of cuisine, credit cards accepted, days 
open for lunch or dinner, and the restaurant’s corkage fee. 

The WineLovers Website does not include restaurant reviews, but it provides an extensive list of links to Websites that do provide restaurant reviews. It also provides a button that generates a filtered Google search for reviews of any selected restaurant. Another button displays a map of the restaurant’s location along with a recap of information about the restaurant. 

Wine-Friendly Ratings introduced

Additionally, WineLovers introduces a new concept – assigning a Wine-Friendly Rating to each restaurant. The rating is automatically calculated based on the restaurant’s wine policy, corkage fee, quality of their wine list and Web access to the wine list. The weight of each factor in the calculation is fully disclosed on the WineLovers Website. 

Only four restaurants merited enough points to receive the WineLovers’ highest Wine-Friendly Rating – a 5-Glass Rating. Those four restaurants are La Famiglia and Meritage in Philadelphia, Derek’s in Manayunk and Savona in Gulph Mills – all restaurants with a liquor license that permit BYO without restrictions and also have posted an excellent wine list on their Website. 

Ms. Goldstein stated that WineLovers is totally non-commercial. There is no charge for access to their database, no charge to any restaurant for being listed, and no advertisements are accepted. Ms. Goldstein further stated that WineLovers intends to periodically re-survey the restaurants to assure that the information is kept current, and corrections to information on the Website will normally be made within 48 hours after being confirmed. 

Any questions, now? 

Q: Who is behind 

A: Just a very small group of dedicated wine lovers in the Philadelphia area, none of whom is affiliated with any restaurant or wine merchant or producer. 

Q. Why are you doing this? 

A. Primarily to encourage other wine lovers to patronize restaurants who have the courtesy and good sense to allow diners to bring their own favorite wines. 

Q. How accurate is the information? 

A. At this point, probably more accurate than any other directory of restaurants on the Internet, because the information was meticulously compiled through mail questionnaires and phone calls in April and May 2006. Virtually all restaurants serving dinner (excluding fast-food restaurants) within 30 miles of center-city Philadelphia were surveyed – nearly 1200 restaurants. More than 100 listed elsewhere were found to be now closed, and approximately half of 
the restaurants surveyed did not qualify to be listed on this Website because they do not allow diners to bring their own wine. The result is the first comprehensive directory of Wine-Friendly restaurants in and around Philadelphia. However, of course, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Before going to a restaurant, it is always advisable to phone and confirm their current BYO policy, as well as days open and hours of operation. 

Q. How do you plan to keep this up to date? 

A. Within the first week after launching this Website, all the restaurants listed will be sent a proof of their listing and map with a questionnaire to report any corrections or changes. Follow-up questionnaires will be mailed periodically to confirm that all information is current. Additionally, users will be encouraged to report any corrections and restaurant closings by e-mail. 

Q. How fast will changes be made? 

A. Normally, all confirmed corrections will be updated on the Website within 48 hours. 

Q. Is this a profit-making venture? 

A. No. It is a non-commercial project. There is no charge for accessing the extensive information on this Website; there is no charge to any restaurant to be listed; and no ads are accepted. Eventually, that may change, but not in the near future. 

Q. What about the Jersey Shore and beyond? 

A. It was a large challenge to compile all this information for the Philadelphia area – which has been called “the BYO Capital of the United States.” Our limited staff needs a little rest now. At a later date, coverage may be extended to the Jersey Shore and other areas, but no timetable has been set for such expansion.

Q. Can I call you and talk to a live person? 

A. No. Because this is a non-commercial operation, there are no customers and no customer-service staff. If you need any information that is not contained herein, you are invited to correspond with us by sending 
an e-mail to

Q. How can I help to promote this site? 

A. Tell your friends about And, if you go to a restaurant that you found through this site, we certainly would like you to tell them about it. That would help convince restaurants to keep their information up to date. 

Q. What is recommended BYO etiquette? 

A. Don’t bring really cheap wine to a restaurant that has a wine list. And, don’t expect the restaurant to be pleased if you bring a wine that is already on their wine list. (Some won’t permit that.) Also, be generous with your tipping, especially if there is no corkage fee. 


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