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Economy

Why You're Free to BYOB in Philly, But in Boston It's Complicated

The Boston City Council is finally considering allowing diners to bring their own alcohol to local restaurants. Here's why this is even a debate.
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AP Photo/Chris Pizzell

At Chicago’s Ruxbin, an American bistro between Wicker Park and West Town, diners may arrive with a nice Pinot Noir in hand to pair with the Rohan Duck Breast, or perhaps a Chardonnay to complement the red grouper. For a $5 per bottle corkage fee, a server will gladly furnish and fill your wine tumblers and provide an ice bucket to keep the remaining wine chilled.

But if a customer were to try to pull this same maneuver in Boston at, say, South End Asian bistro Myers+Chang, he would be sternly reprimanded and possibly escorted to the door. “Bring your own bottle” (BYOB) is illegal in Boston. Plus, Joanne Chang paid the city government a hefty fee for her restaurant’s license to sell sake and wine.