8 Philly BYOBs Within Walking Distance of Great Bottle Shops

Let us handle the logistics — all you have to do is leave your house.

bloomsday cafe bottle shop wine bar philadelphia

Bloomsday sells natural wine by the bottle, as well as sake that’s perfect for a special occasion dinner at Sakana nearby/ Photograph courtesy of Bloomsday

Despite all of its wonders, Philly’s BYOB culture requires a bit of planning. So there’s a good chance you’ve been caught empty-handed in a restaurant, only realizing the place is BYOB once you’re already seated. Even if you remember to come prepared with booze, the promise to pick something up on the way often gets trickier once you look at a map and remember that Philly’s alcohol laws — the same ones that create so many BYOB restaurants — can mean your average state liquor store has an abysmal selection.

Instead, you’re better off heading to one of these locally-owned bottle shops, all of which have an impressive curation of drinks to go with your meal. We’ve matched each store with a great BYOB restaurant nearby, and included details about how long it’ll take you to walk in between destinations. Let us handle the logistics. All you have to do is leave your house.

If you’re eating in … Queen Village

Restaurant: Sakana Omakase Sushi
Pairing: Bloomsday

Distance: about 3 minutes walking
True, Bloomsday is restaurant and bar, itself, but this comfortable burgers-and-pasta spot also sells great natural wines to-go. Pop in and grab a bottle of, say, unexpectedly salty orange, or whatever the pros there recommend before a special-occasion $98 or $148 sushi omakase behind an unmarked door at Sakana. Bloomsday also has plenty of sake to explore, with tasting notes and the producer’s info listed next to each one on their pre-order form so you can plan ahead.

Restaurant: Little Fish
Pairing: 9th Street Bottle Shop

Distance: about 10 minutes walking
Little Fish is a great place to get creative with your beverage choices because the food is influenced by various (delicious) traditions of Japanese, French, Chinese, and Spanish cooking. Fortunately, the 9th Street Bottle Shop is a great place to experiment. In addition to wine and beer, the shop has options like a nice dry Spanish cider, sake in adorable cardboard cartons, delicious vermouth that you could pour over ice, and even fancy sparkling water for a dry evening. Whatever you get, make sure it pairs well with seafood, because that’s the focus of the menu at Little Fish.

Restaurant: Neighborhood Ramen
Pairing: BeerLOVE

Distance: about 3 minutes, walking
The best meals at Neighborhood Ramen in Queen Village are quick, to-the-point, and will leave you full of pork. So you don’t really need to get a bottle of wine to go with your meal here. Just grab a couple of bottles or cans from BeerLOVE and go to town on your noodles. When you’re done, there will almost certainly be someone waiting for your table (it’s a small space). In this case, we usually head back to BeerLOVE for another round.

charlie dove

The heirloom tomato special at Charley Dove in Rittenhouse. / Photograph by Jillian Guyette

If you’re eating in … Rittenhouse

Restaurant: Charley Dove
Pairing: Vernick Wine

Distance: about 4 minutes walking
Vernick Wine is one of those great pandemic additions to Philly. Walk up the stairs next to Vernick (where the tasting menu is offered on weekends) and check out the wine curated by their expert sommeliers. Just know that this selection is slightly more expensive and more tightly curated than other wine shops in the city, but as a result, there’s absolutely no way to go wrong with their bottles. Ask for something easy-drinking and chilled to go with the menu of dishes like head-on prawns and stuffed eggplant at Charley Dove nearby.

If you’re eating in … Chinatown

Restaurant: Banana Leaf
Pairing: PA Libations

Distance: about 4 minutes walking
It’s easy to forget that BYOB can mean liquor, but consider this your reminder that it can. If you’re looking for a fun meal in Chinatown, stock a few bottles of tonic and maybe some sliced limes from home and you’re well on your way to bringing your very own gin and tonics (or whatever you might want) to Banana Leaf. On the way, stop by Pennsylvania Libations inside Reading Terminal Market for a selection of Pennsylvania-made spirits, wines, ciders and much more. The food at Banana Leaf is largely Malaysian, which means something a little beachy like a gin and tonic or a rum drink feels appropriately celebratory. We love the restaurant’s sweet-and-nutty nasi lemak (the national dish of Malaysia, which is just as delicious at 11 a.m. as it is for dinner) and always recommend sticking with the Malaysian dishes rather than opting for the menu’s Thai specials.

vientiane bistro sausage

Sai gwak at Vientiane Cafe / Photograph by Alex Jones

If you’re eating in … West Philly

Restaurant: Vientiane Cafe
Pairing: Bottle Shop at Local 44

Distance: about 14 minutes walking
The bottle shop at Local 44 in West Philly is small, but it’s well-organized and curated so there’s always something new and exciting to taste. Before you eat Vientiane’s Lao specials (like lemongrass-and-pork sausages or the massive bowl of king’s soup with vermicelli noodles in a red curry coconut broth), stop by on your way to dinner and ask the staff to recommend something from their selection of wine and beer.

If you’re eating in … Northern Liberties

Restaurant: Apricot Stone
Pairing: Bottle Bar East

Distance: about 11 minutes walking
Apricot Stone always works well for a fun, affordable group meal featuring lots of mezzes like hummus, babaganoush, and eggplant salad, and then moving onto some grilled meats to share with the table. If you’re bringing a team of people for dinner, you’ll probably need several bottles. Get them at Bottle Bar East, which sells large-format beers, a few bottles of sparkling wine, and much more.

If you’re eating in … East Passyunk

Restaurant: Gabriella’s Vietnam
Pairing: The Bottle Shop on Passyunk

Distance: about 5 minutes walking
When we think of Vietnamese food, we think of beer, so it’s convenient that Gabriella’s is just a few minutes down the street from The Bottle Shop on Passyunk. If we were you, we’d go early enough to have a boozy slushy at one of The Bottle Shop’s sidewalk tables. Once you’ve done that, head to the back of the store and peruse the beer and wine selection, and get excited to eat fried catfish and water-fern dumplings.