I always think of a BYOB restaurant as a dare. Sure, I could use the occasion as an excuse to load up on frosty cans of cheap booze, thus saving real money on the final bill. But does the beverage honestly pair well with the food? And now with more fine dining BYOB options, isn't it my duty to buy a better bottle of wine with the money I'd otherwise spend? (Because, let's face it, I would have spent that money.)
These are just a few of the thoughts running through my head whenever I have to pick up a bottle before a meal. Of course, I'd never subject myself to such an ordeal if it weren't so much fun to BYOB. I can bring whatever I want. I can share it with friends or hoard it all to myself. And though it's all perfectly legal, I always feel like I'm sneaking a drink in on the sly, and the owners are simply choosing to look the other way.
That doesn't mean that everyone looks for the same things as me, something I definitely learned after asking my staff to pick their favorite place to BYOB in Chicago. Check out all their picks by clicking on the slideshow.