The Smart Way to Buy Booze in Bulk for Your BYOB Restaurant Party

You've got the BYO—here's how to get the B.

Photograph by Will Figg

So. You’ve chosen to host your wedding rehearsal dinner—or another large special event—at one of Philly’s many wonderful BYOB restaurants. Excellent decision! Next step: buying enough booze to keep guests satisfied, but doing so without spending a whole paycheck. Max Gottesfeld, wine specialist at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits at 1112 Chestnut Street, shares his tips for doing it in the smartest way possible.

1. Do your homework.
Little-known fact: Select Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores have an on-staff wine specialist for you to consult. “They’ll be able to recommend wines that will be inexpensive and good for large amounts of people,” says Gottesfeld. Purchase a few bottles and conduct an at-home taste test — a task that could double as date night — to determine the best options for your event.

2. Budget for half a bottle per person.
If you’re only serving wine, that is. If that seems like too much (or too costly, depending on your party size), you can get away with an even lower estimate. “Use smaller glasses and four-ounce pours,” suggests Gottesfeld, to get seven servings out of each bottle. “It doesn’t look like you’re getting less, but you are.”

3. Don’t count out boxed wines.
College-party flashbacks shouldn’t deter you from going this route — especially if drinks are going to be poured behind an actual bar. “Some boxed wines are just as good as, if not better than, bottled wines,” says Gottesfeld. “If you have the boxes below the bar, you can treat them like taps.”

4. Choose type over brand.
The kind of wine is more important than its label — aim to have a light-bodied, a medium-bodied and a heavy-bodied option, but you can just serve a white and a red: “If guests say they don’t like that type of white, they’ll probably still drink it.”

5. Or try one of these bottles …
Gottesfeld’s picks: Forty Ounce Rosé, Casa Santos Lima Lab red and white wines, Château Gillet, or anything from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Chairman’s Selection — a rotating list of bottles sold at a discount while supplies last.

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