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The best BYOB restaurants in London

Fed up with paying huge marks-ups on restaurant wine and beer? Take a look at our list of the best bring-your-own places in town

Edited by
Leonie Cooper
Written by
Time Out London Food & Drink
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Enjoy a drink with your dinner but find restaurant mark-ups hard to swallow? If you’re on the hunt for some seriously cheap eats, your best bet is to find a place to eat that lets you bring your own booze (wine, beer or spirits) to the table. We’re here to help you do just that, with our selection of London’s best BYOB restaurants. From Pakistani curry houses to Turkish kebab joints and swish French restaurants, these eateries will all let you turn up with a bottle of something delicious in tow. Some charge corkage fees, while others keep things cheap and cheerful and let you pop your cork for free. Read on for full details and find more free things to do in London here while you’re at it. 

RECOMMENDED: Here are London’s best cheap eats.

The top BYOB restaurants in London

  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Dalston

East London’s most famous ocakbasi restaurant (aka Mangal 1) has been around for decades, but this kebab king still lures in passers-by with enticing smells from its enormous mangal grill. Meat is the main event here – so hold out for the succulent cubes of grilled lamb in the insuperable ‘cop sis’, or the garlicky lusciousness of the minced chicken beyti. They stock a few Turkish wines, but BYOB if you fancy something different. 

BYOB all week; no corkage.

  • Restaurants
  • Georgian
  • Haggerston

Compared to its more expansive Islington offshoot, Little Georgia’s Hackney branch is a much simpler prospect – a retro café by day and an unlicensed BYOB restaurant by night. The place is famous for its Georgian breakfasts, all-day lunches, deli-style sandwiches and homemade cakes, while evening brings authentic dishes based largely on family recipes – perhaps borscht or beetroot salad followed by tabaka (roast poussin with chicken livers and Georgian plum sauce). Either way, don’t miss the freshly baked khachapuri (traditional cheese bread).

BYO Tue-Sun; no corkage.

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Singburi
  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Leytonstone
  • price 1 of 4

A veteran of the Leytonstone scene (and still something of a local secret), this tiny family-run Thai café scores in every department. The BYOB policy is key to its boozy appeal, but the food is also a blast – staunchly traditional, potently spiced and delivered without ceremony from the open kitchen. Staples such as pad thai and massaman curry are terrific value, but also take a look at the chalked-up specials board. Be warned: Singburi is rampantly popular.

BYOB Wed-Sun; no corkage.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Hoxton

More modern and minimalist than some of its neighbours in Kingsland Road’s Vietnamese wonderland, this colourful outfit also stands out from the crowd with its signature ‘bún’ salads – steamed rice vermicelli and herbs dressed with pungent ‘nouc cham’ fish sauce and served with all manner of toppings. Otherwise pick from the line-up of Hanoi-style street-food dishes, bánh mì (baguettes) and bowls of steaming pho. Zingy fresh flavours, speedy service, low prices and BYOB – what’s not to like? There’s also an offshoot in Dalston.

BYOB all week; corkage £4 per person.

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Roti King
  • Restaurants
  • Malaysian
  • Euston

As the name suggests, this teeny Euston backstreet basement serves up astounding Malaysian rotis, either stuffed or with first-rate curries for dipping. They’re crisp, chewy and feather-light but also dense – perfect with an ambrosial glass of teh tarik (chilled sweet tea). Also look out for ‘local’ dishes such as nasi goreng and beef rendang. RK is really is small, so go early evening to beat the queues – and don’t forget to BYOB (M&S in Euston station is just 30 seconds away).

BYOB Mon-Sat; corkage £10 per table.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Whitechapel
  • price 1 of 4

A huge, full-on East End curry house that has acquired almost mythical status since launching back in 1972, Tayyabs remains as frantically busy as ever – don’t come here expecting a relaxed chilled-out Ruby. No matter, because the food at this Punjabi stalwart is a bargain and the flavours are potent – tuck into the fiery grilled lamb chops, rich dahls and generous karahi bowls (‘small’ versions are big and cheap enough for one person). Corkage-free BYOB is a budget-friendly bonus.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Finsbury Park

Just round the corner from Crouch Hill station, this incredibly cheap Indian vegetarian spot also comes with corkage-free BYOB – so pop across the road to Jack’s off-licence if you need to stock up. The decor’s basic but the food is delicious and authentic, from dosas, idli sambar and aloo tikki to all sorts of veggie curries – not only the usual cauliflower, chickpeas and spinach but also bitter gourd, mooli and long beans. Great-value thalis too.

BYOB Mon-Sat: no corkage.

Guanabana
  • Restaurants
  • Pan-South American
  • Camden Town
  • price 1 of 4

A colourful and entertaining restaurant/bar that does a roaring trade with the local party crowd, Guanabana is all about spreading the love and dispensing Caribbean/Latin sunshine with its lively menu and drinks. To eat, expect everything from pickled cactus fries and crispy shakalaka shrimps to fajitas, jerk chicken, curry goat, steaks, wings and salads. Guanabana’s BYOB offer extends to bottles of spirits, but you’ll still need to buy your mixers and soft drinks.    

BYOB all week; £1-6

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Ariana II
  • Restaurants
  • Afghan
  • Kilburn

Kilburn’s pride and joy, this modest Afghan spot also attracts people from across London with its excellent cooking, budget prices and BYOB policy. Dumplings, tikkas, curries and kebabs show the cuisine’s cultural diversity, but also look for more distinctive ideas – from mantu (minced meat in steamed pastry topped with yoghurt, chickpeas and mint) to the must-have kabuli palow (slow-cooked lamb shank buried in a mound of yellow rice dotted with pistachios and peppers). To drink, order minty yoghurt ‘dough’ or ‘happy’ cardamom tea.

BYOB all week; no corkage (‘no water or juices please’).

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Highbury
  • price 1 of 4

Chef Wei Guirong’s no-frills restaurant by the Emirates Stadium peddles street food from her birthplace, Xi’an (home to the Terracotta Army). Trained in the cuisine of Shan Xi province, her cooking is marked by rich combinations of spices and soft hand-pulled noodles – although hardcore fans come for the stonking Xi’an pork burger with special sauce, the pot-sticker dumplings, the smacked cucumber with garlic, and the shredded Xi’an bread in beef broth.  

BYOB all week; corkage £5.50 per bottle (wine), £1.90 (beer).

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Bintang
  • Restaurants
  • Camden Town
  • price 1 of 4

Bamboo cladding, tribal masks, lanterns and tropical murals set the scene at this long-shading pan-Asian stalwart on Kentish Town Road – and there’s also a delightful garden area out back for balmy days and nights. The menu moves from Malaysian satays, lumpia spring rolls, lamb rendang and roti canai to Japanese katsu curries, Thai som tam salad and Filipino adobo chicken, but also look for Bintang’s regularly changing regional specials and ‘happy hour’ menus.

BYOB all week; no corkage Mon (with a minimum £10pp spend on food); Tue-Sun £6 per bottle (wine), £3.50 per can/bottle (beer).

Chez Bruce
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Wandsworth
  • price 4 of 4

Bruce Poole’s tastefully stylish gaff may have a Michelin gong to its name, but it’s still Wandsworth’s favourite neighbourhood restaurant – a place where you can enjoy polished French-inspired food without the fawning service or killer prices of some other lauded establishments. Expect big-boned seasonal flavours along the lines of deep-fried calf’s brains with sauce gribiche, morteau sausage and celeriac, backed by a wonderfully whiffy cheeseboard. And if their stonking 600-bin wine list isn't enough for you, you can bring a bottle or two of your own (albeit for a fairly hefty £40 corkage).

BYOB; £40 corkage per table.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Clapham Junction
  • price 3 of 4

An offshoot of Covent Garden’s Terroirs, Soif is très jolie – the kind of neighbourhood bistro you’d expect in rural France rather than Battersea Rise. There’s also a subtle whiff of mid-century Parisian cool about the place, while the food is a mix of pure-bred charcuterie, Gallic staples and Mediterranean tapas-style plates. Soif’s trump card, however, is its huge list of organic and terroir-led wines; note that customers who BYOB are asked to respect the restaurant’s ‘natural’ credo when submitting a bottle.  

BYOB Tue-Sun; corkage £15 per bottle.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Euston
  • price 1 of 4

A fixture of Drummond Street’s ‘Little India’ since the 1970s, this no-frills vegetarian café still pulls in the crowds, despite its cramped tables and bench seating. Prices are low, you can BYOB and the menu is all about Gujarati street food – not only the namesake bhel-pooris but also dosas, aloo papri chat, dahi vada, samosas and so on. Veggie thalis are excellent value if you want a bit of everything.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • City of London
  • price 2 of 4

Gut-busting breakfasts, perfectly mixed cocktails and top-quality British beef are just three reasons why the City’s steak-crazy crowd pack into this clubby wood-panelled and leather-clad basement – although punters also rush in for Monday’s cut-price BYOB deal. Hawksmoor’s easy charms have an irresistible dressed-down appeal, whether you’re chomping on a hunk of ribeye or munching one of their brilliant burgers. Similar deals can be had at the chain’s other branches, from Spitalfields to Seven Dials.  

BYOB all week; corkage £5 per bottle (Mon), £25 per bottle (Tue-Sun)

India Club
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Strand
  • price 1 of 4

Hidden behind the colossal grey frontage of the Hotel Strand Continental and reached via two rickety flights of stairs, this intensely charming restaurant is a genial throwback to colonial times with its wipe-clean tables and portraits of Indian independence. Everything is stonkingly good value, whether you opt for a thin crisped-up ghee dosa, chunky lamb bhuna or the legendary tomato-based egg curry.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Ladbroke Grove
  • price 1 of 4

There’s usually a queue at this ‘Med-inspired’ Turkish grill, but no-nonsense service means you’ll bag a table pretty quickly. While you wait, get the juices flowing by watching Fez’s meat maestros as they rotate the hefty barbecue skewers and shave slices off the own-made doners. They also score with cut-above accompaniments including crunchy red cabbage, spice-rubbed flatbreads and tangy Turkish yoghurt.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

Minnow
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Clapham

Minnow is a friendly, atmospheric spot offering decent modern cooking in a low-lit, slightly romantic setting complete with a mock pergola and a cosy nook downstairs. BYO is limited to Sunday evening’s ‘roast club’, where £28 pays for an organic roast with all the trimmings, plus a proper English pud to go with the wine you’ve brought along to wash it all down.

BYOB Sun evening ‘roast club’; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Ethiopian
  • Dalston
  • price 1 of 4

Ethiopian, vegan and BYOB, this Dalston café knocks out hearty plant-based food in a friendly no-frills setting of fairy lights, religious prints and artificial plants. Decide whether you want traditional injera bread or rice to go with your six-dish ‘sampler platter’, which is all about greens and aromatic stews made with beans or lentils, and pimped up with plenty of garlic, ginger and turmeric. Prices are ridiculously low (£7 per person or £12 for two) and you don’t even have to pay corkage.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Whitechapel

Battling it out in the lamb chop stakes with its local rivals Tayyabs and Lahore Kebab House, this cramped Indian delivers the goods against a gaudy backdrop of bright red walls, leather benches and blaring flatscreen TVs. Aside from the grilled meats and kebabs, what you get are succulent karahi dishes, biryanis and buttery naans, although pre-prepared snacks can be disappointing. Like its neighbours, Needoo is a BYOB spot with swift service, although it doesn’t suffer from the same interminable queues.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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Marie’s Café
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Waterloo

Our favourite thing about this green-fronted café near Waterloo station is the fact that jungle curries and pad thai are as popular as plates of fried eggs and chips. By day, the Formica-heavy interior functions as a full-on greasy spoon serving gut-busting fry-ups; by night, it’s a Thai restaurant packed with nattering cabbies and spice-loving locals scoffing authentic food at bargain-basement prices – think chicken satay, som tam salad, stir-fries, noodles and banana fritters.

BYOB Mon-Sat (dinner only); corkage £1.

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Brixton

KaoSarn has always been one of the crowd-pullers in Brixton Village Market and quite rightly so; the food is not only cheap, but also bursts with authentic Thai flavours. The menu is pared down to a handful of classic curries, noodle dishes and stir-fries, although everything is up to standard. Soft drinks include fragrant homemade lemongrass tea, and you can also BYOB. Service is matter of fact, but staff are unfailingly friendly. Branches in Tooting and Battersea.

BYO Tue-Sun; no corkage.

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Lahore Kebab House
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Whitechapel

A suitably spartan place of pilgrimage for East End curry devotees who want to avoid the touts, this consistently reliable Whitechapel canteen deals in full-flavoured Punjabi street food, from snacks and karahi bowls to the eponymous grilled meat-on-a-stick. Despite the moniker, there are only two kebabs on offer – one seekh (a ‘sausage’ of seasoned, finely minced lamb on a skewer), and a classic chicken kebab: both are excellent. If you need booze, there’s an off-licence next door.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

Kitchen W8
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Kensington

A hook-up between Phil Howard (ex-The Square) and Rebecca Mascarenhas (of Sonny’s Kitchen fame), Kitchen W8 is understated Michelin-starred charm personified. Low-key decor (with a touch of refinement), personable staff and easy prices set the tone, while the brilliantly rendered Anglo-European food never veers into snobbiness – there’s no shame in staying with the set menus here or picking from the lower end of the wine list, or even bringing your own.

BYOB all week; no corkage Sun dinner, £25 Mon-Sat (one bottle per person).

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Viet Soho
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Soho

This tiny fuss-free Vietnamese eatery not only serves very decent food at very decent prices but also does BYOB. The decor won’t get you excited and there are only a few tables, but crowds are still happy to wait in line. Huge bowls of pho are one of the main attractions, although the short menu covers most of the popular Vietnamese classics, from rice paper rolls to spicy bun bo hue (a pork/shrimp paste broth with thick vermicelli noodles).

BYOB all week; corkage £5 per bottle.

Band of Burgers – Brick Lane
  • Restaurants
  • Burgers
  • Whitechapel
  • price 2 of 4

Kick off with some ‘wings of love’ at this music-themed burger joint – perhaps The Elvis (a double Angus cheeseburger) or BB Queen (a fish burger). Soft drinks run from juices to ‘heartbreak shakes’, or you can make a night of it by bringing you own booze. 

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Wimbledon

Next door to Sainsburys in South Wimbledon (BYOB fans please note), this family-run Vietnamese restaurant likes to keep things casual: there’s no standing on ceremony, the food comes fast and it’s pretty authentic too. Big bowls of pho and ‘bun’ noodles are among the favourites, although the menu covers everything from summer rolls and fragrant salads to bánh xeo pancakes and che ba mau – a ‘rainbow dessert’ involving beans, pandan jellies, coconut milk, sugar and crushed ice.

BYOB all week; corkage £3 (wine), £1 (beer).

Simply Indian
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Southwark
  • price 1 of 4

Almost 20 years down the line, this aptly named Indian is still wowing Borough’s curry fans with its offer of BYOB and reasonably priced regional dishes from across the subcontinent. Beyond the unfussy black and yellow frontage is a light, airy dining room festooned with paintings of Indian railway scenes, while the menu travels far and wide, taking in everything from South Indian dosas and Keralan prawns to Punjabi tandooris, Sri Lankan burjis (pulled lamb pao) and even the odd speciality from Tibet.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • Peckham

Located down a dingy cobbled alleyway opposite Peckham Rye station, Yada’s is a ramshackle Kurdish joint with zero interest in PR but a huge talent for producing honest, flavourful food. Its shish kebabs, shawarma and kubba (lamb-stuffed rice balls) are all grand but do save room for a qawarma lamb wrap with cheese and pickles. They also do Irn Bru shisha, if you’re interested. 

BYOB Tue-Sun; no corkage.

Miran Masala
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • West Kensington

Located directly opposite London Olympia, this welcoming neighbourhood spot serves traditional Indian and Pakistani specialities with a contemporary twist and backs up its food offer with BYOB. Classic kormas, dhansaks, tandooris and biryanis line up alongside on-the-bone pot-roasted ‘deigi’ specialities, karahi dishes and chef’s specials such as haleem (slow-cooked lamb with lentils and wheat). Vegetarians also do well here, with plenty of options such as chilli paneer or masala karela (bitter gourd). If you’re going booze-free, stick to lassi.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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St John
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Farringdon
  • price 3 of 4

The original ‘nose-to-tail’ pioneer and a Michelin-starred restaurant for those who run from the very idea, St John is a defiantly casual, bare-bones kind of place with come-as-you-please decor and famously full-on cooking. Powerful born-again British dishes are given a surprisingly sophisticated spin that often belies their humble origins (think pig’s tongue with chicory and pickled walnut or grilled ox heart with beetroot and horseradish). The wine list is unrepentantly French, but you can also BYOB – at a cost. If you want to bring your own cake, for birthdays and such, there's a 'cakeage' fee, at £5 per person. 

BYOB all week; corkage £25 per bottle, £35 for sparkling or dessert wine, from £45 for magnums.

  • Restaurants
  • Iranian
  • Peckham
  • price 1 of 4

Colourful, crowded and charmingly bonkers, Sally Chambers’ Middle Eastern café is shoehorned among the paraphernalia of Peckham’s Persian delicatessen. Expect a full-on veggie interpretation of Levantine and Persian cuisine, from traditional meze and wraps with seasonally inspired fillings (quince, halloumi and caramelised celeriac) to daily soups and hotpots and all-day fillers such as baked sweet potato topped with Persian baked beans. Also, don’t miss the lush Turkish delight sundae. BYOB for supper.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Afghan
  • Borough of Harrow

Harrow is happy to have this convivial BYOB venue serving Afghan grills and comfort food to big family gatherings – neither the setting nor the portions are built for a romantic dinner à deux. It’s worth asking what’s been freshly cooked that day: you can’t go wrong with the sabzi lamb (with spinach) plus a side of dhal or some naan bread. Also look out for the mantoo and aashak (pasta dishes), as well as the rice-based palow and chalow riffs.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Greenwich

Wallet-friendly sushi and corkage-free BYOB are the twin lures at this affordable little Japanese fusion joint just round the corner from Maze Hill station. Don’t be fazed by the aluminium-framed newsagent-style shop front because there’s much to enjoy amid Zaibatsu’s colourful tables and chairs. A full line-up of attractively presented nigiri, sashimi, maki and hand rolls are the headline acts, but don’t discount the massive bowls of tofu ramen, as well as crispy tempura, sizzling teriyaki and zingy fresh salads. 

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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Pappa Ciccia
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Fulham
  • price 1 of 4

Named after an Italian comedy double-act from the ’70s, Pappa Ciccia was set up in 1995 by Tino and Shelly Mereu, who still run it as a genuine family pizzeria. As part of the fabric of Fulham, it feeds the locals with a menu of traditional antipasti, pastas, risottos, salads and pizzas with perfectly crisp crusts – all washed down with bottles of Sardinian house red or your own BYO. There’s a second branch on Fulham High Street and a takeaway in Putney.

BYOB all week; corkage £5.95 per person

Tay Do Restaurant
  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Hoxton
  • price 1 of 4

This family-run south Vietnamese restaurant specialises in serving delicious low-cost food in rather garish surroundings – don’t expect much in the way of atmosphere. Instead, focus on the big portions of authentic oriental nosh – cavernous bowls of hu tieu soup, bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancake stuffed with all sorts of savoury goodies), a fiery dish of chicken with chilli, lemongrass and soothing coconut milk, and so on.

BYOB all week; £2 per person.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Angel

A popular Indian canteen on Islington’s Chapel Market, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet in karmic (some might say preachy) surrounds. As the name suggests, it’s totally veggie and a lot of the stuff also ticks those vegan boxes – think vegetable curries, dhals, colourful salads and feather-light parathas. No wonder this place is a stalwart for cheap dates and early-evening carb loading, especially if you BYOB. 

BYOB all week; no corkage.

  • Restaurants
  • Iranian
  • Edgware Road
  • price 1 of 4

On a small side street off the Edgware Road, this tiny Persian hole-in-the-wall specialises in chargrilled ‘koobideh’ style kebabs, where minced and seasoned (halal) lamb or chicken is moulded like a long sausage down the length of the skewer. Factor in terrific just-cooked flatbreads and verdant salads packed with herbs, and you’ll forgive the cramped, basic surroundings. Waitrose is just around the corner if you need to buy booze. 

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Kensal Rise

Meze and BBQ grills are the main events here, from baba ganoush and falafel wraps to chargrilled skewers, doners and shish combos – all served with salad and rice. There's another branch in Elephant & Castle, for those south of the river.

BYOB all week.

Sheba
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Brick Lane

A Brick Lane stalwart, Sheba has been knocking out dishes from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan since 1974 and it’s still run by the original family. Spread over two floors, it deals in typical curry house fare with a regional slant – from tandooris and biryanis to Bengali fish dishes and veggies options. Beware the mouth-numbing ‘Bollywood blast’ (lamb cooked with kidney beans and four varieties of super-hot chilli). Sheba is licensed but you can also BYO.

BYOB all week; no corkage.

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