Local Bridal Guide

6 Wonderful Philly BYOBs That Will Host Your Rehearsal Dinner

Your rehearsal dinner is the perfect time to treat out-of-town guests to this beloved Philly tradition. Here are six favorites, all with no corkage fees.

Audrey Claire in Rittenhouse. Photograph by Will Figg

Rehearsal dinners help set the tone of a wedding weekend. If you want to make yours feel truly Philly, why not kick things off at a BYOB? Here are six where you’ll eat great food in a great atmosphere, and, most importantly, where you won’t be charged extra corkage fees.

Audrey Claire
This unpretentious restaurant is a longtime neighborhood favorite. Weekend groups dine from a $45 prix-fixe menu that includes a family-style first course of salads and signature flatbreads, individual entrées and a dessert sampler. If you opt for a full buyout, you can decorate the venue to your liking (Audrey Claire works most regularly with Pure Design for floral arrangements) and confer with the restaurant to build a menu that’s totally you. Think: mini lamb burgers, grilled eggplant salad, swordfish and vegetable kabobs. Friday- and Saturday-night buyouts start at $4,500*. Capacity: 45. 276 South 20th Street, Rittenhouse.

Café Lift
The cool vibe inside this factory-turned-cafe — and its sweet-and-savory menu — has made it a crowd-pleaser for years. (Note for Main Liners: A second location is expected to open in Narberth this summer.) For your rehearsal dinner, the venue will transform from a daytime eatery into your own private affair. Setup is your call — the restaurant hosts breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktails and dinner, plus standing reception events. Added bonus: Dishes are chosen from a catering list that draws on specialties from all the eateries under the 13th Street Kitchens umbrella, including Prohibition Taproom, Kensington Quarters, KQ Burger and Bufad Pizza. From $500, with additional fees depending on the nature of the party. Capacity: 60. 428 North 13th Street, North Liberties.

La Viola
The stone-walled special-events room at this classic Italian BYOB is a favorite of brides; it comes outfitted with round tables and a large-screen TV you can connect to via wi-fi. Choose either the two-course prix-fixe menu for appetizers (mozzarella al basilico, classic Caesar salad) and entrées (lobster ravioli, chicken marsala), or upgrade to three courses, which adds on a chef’s selection of desserts served with coffee and tea. Prix-fixe menus start at $25 per person; room rate varies based on night of the week and setup. Capacity: 100. 253 South 16th Street, Rittenhouse.

Make the most of warm weather by renting out the private dining room at Russet — it opens to a patio where guests can sip wine and nosh on apps as the sun sets. (A full buyout will give you free range of the entire restaurant.) Chef Andrew Wood regularly updates his seasonally focused menu, and there are plenty of formats to choose from: family-style dining; a three- or four-course meal that includes an appetizer, entrée, pasta and dessert; or a six-course chef’s tasting menu. Prix-fixe menus start at $45 per person; minimums vary based on date. Capacity: 40 for private dining room, 70 for a full buyout. 1521 Spruce Street, Center City.

At the Table
Headed by chef-owners Alex Hardy and Tara Buzan, this cozy eatery puts a modern spin on French and New American cuisines. The 1,200-square-foot space is only available for full buyouts, but you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck: At the Table sets up and stocks the bar with glasses, ice, lemons, limes and mixers and will even provide a bartender for no extra fee. Kick off the evening with passed hors d’oeuvres like chicken satay and mini croque-monsieurs before sitting down to a customizable five-course tasting menu of everything from wild mushroom toast to pistachio cheesecake. Friday and Saturday buyouts start at $3,500; tasting menus start at $75 per person. Capacity: 35. 11 Louella Court, Wayne. 

RELATED: The Smart Way to Buy Booze in Bulk for Your BYOB Rehearsal Dinner

Wow your relatives with this one-of-a-kind restaurant, available for two-and-a-half-hour semi-private events or full buyouts. While prix-fixe menus are available upon request, opt instead for the Kamayan feast: You’ll eat sinangag, chicken inisal, lechon kawali, bibingka and more off banana leaves — with no utensils. Full buyouts start at $1,000; partial buyouts start at $50 per person. Capacity: 32. 1535 S 11th St, South Philly.

*Price estimates do not include tax and gratuity. 

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