The dining out scene in Sydney is better and more diverse than ever, with innovative and creative approaches constantly surfacing. But there’s one concept which is timeless and forever in our hearts, that being the beauty of “bring your own” restaurants.
Who doesn’t have a soft spot for BYO restaurants in Sydney? Of course, we can all dream of the day we can afford expensive bottles off the wine list. But in the meantime, we love bringing our own alcohol and saving those precious pennies.
Also known as BYOB – as in bring your own “bottle”, “booze” or “beer” – the choices in Sydney are overwhelming (more so than Melbourne, it seems). So, to help you on your quest for the best BYO restaurants in Sydney, we’ve compiled a city-wide guide with our favourites from each area.
Whether it’s Asian in the Sydney city centre, Middle Eastern in the Inner West, Italian in the Eastern Suburbs or something special in the North Shore, our list has the ideal BYO recommendations for everyone.
BYOs in Chinatown & Sydney CBD
Family-owned Chat Thai has been serving authentic Southeast Asian food for over two decades, bringing people together over delicious Thai food to catch up and chat – hence the name! A Sydney darling, Chat Thai now has six restaurants throughout the city. Visit the Haymarket branch for BYO and enjoy a wine to wash down all that spice.
BYO wine, $3 corkage
20 Campbell Street, Haymarket, Sydney 2000
Hawker-style Malaysian food is the name of the game at Mamak and we couldn’t be more into it. The menu is traditional and finger-licking tasty, with customers invited to dine with others at communal tables and take in the buzz of this fast-paced Chinatown joint. We love their grilled satay skewers, tangy curries and of course the best roti you’ll find in the city. No reservations, so expect a line because this place is popular!
BYO wine and beer, $3 corkage per person
15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket, Sydney 2000
Chinese Noodle Restaurant
This is cheap eats at its best! Minimal corkage and dishes of handmade Xinjiang noodles, pan-fried pork buns and juicy dumplings. Gorge on a plate of 16 dumplings for as little as $10, sinking into fillings like eggplant, lamb and onion, beef and shallots or chicken and chives. Consequently, Chinese Noodle Restaurant is likely the best bang for your buck when it comes to BYO restaurants in Sydney. Lines out the door are common because this place is tiny and popular, but service moves quick.
BYO wine and beer, corkage may apply
7/8 Quay Street, Haymarket, Sydney 2000
Arguably serving the best ramen in Sydney, Yasaka Ramen specialises in authentic tonkotsu-style pork broth and handmade noodles made fresh every day. Every bowl is delicious and has perfect umami flavour. We recommend the Kakuni Ramen that comes with a slow-cooked pork bone or the chef’s special garlic varieties. Wash the divine fatty broth down with a Japanese beer or BYO wine and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
BYO wine, $2.50 corkage per person
126 Liverpool Street, CBD, Sydney 2000
Nine Asian eateries all in one place? BYO free of charge? Lantern-lit laneway? Yes, yes and yes – Spice Alley on Kensington Street has it all. There’s something for everyone here with hawker stalls serving up Singaporean, Thai, Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese and Vietnamese. BYO cup is also encouraged, but you can purchase one from the cashier for 50 cents.
BYO wine, free corkage
18-20 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney 2008
BYOs in Surry Hills & Darlinghurst
Chaco Bar are masters when it comes to yakitori, Japanese-style skewers of meat and vegetables grilled over charcoal. Try the chicken crackling, miso eggplant or wagyu tongue! We should add that the drinks list is extensive with beer, plum wine, sake, shochu and whisky imported from Japan. But if you’re after a cheaper option, vie for bringing your own wine. Corkage is steep, but the food is top-notch.
BYO wine only, $15 corkage per bottle
238 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney 2010
Maya da Dhaba
The lone Indian restaurant on our list, Maya da Dhaba is an institution when it comes to BYO restaurants in Sydney. The large dining room, extensive menu, authentic food and cheap corkage mean it’s perfect for big groups and a definite crowd pleaser. Because who doesn’t love sharing a bottle (or two) of wine with friends and feasting on vegetarian curries, tandoori meats, biryani and chef specials?
BYO wine, $2.50 corkage per person
431 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, Sydney 2010
Spice I Am
Lead by acclaimed Thai chef Sujet Saenkham, this is authentic Thai food in Sydney at its best. Dishes at Spice I Am demonstrate the perfect balance of flavours required in Thai cooking – salty, spicy, sour and sweet. Order a speciality dish like massaman roast duck curry or the deep-fried whole sand whiting. Other bonuses, we may add, include the free BYO policy and the fact that many ingredients come from the restaurant’s own farm. Be prepared for lines or go early, because this hugely popular restaurant don’t take bookings.
BYO wine, free corkage
90 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, Sydney 2010
Family-owned and running since 1992, Bar Reggio is an oldie but a goodie. The menu is full of rustic dishes that are simple, yet fresh and tasty, just as Italian cuisine is meant to be. Pizza, pasta, risotto and seafood or meat mains mean there’s something for everyone at this relaxed restaurant. Perfect for big groups, grab some mates and drinks and you’ve got a fun, casual evening out in Darlinghurst sorted.
BYO wine, beer and spirits, $3 corkage per person
135 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney 2010
This is the place to go for rustic Italian pasta in Sydney, matched with your hand-picked bottle of red wine to accompany it (of course). The authentic food stays true to Italian cuisine at Il Baretto, meaning it’s simple and divinely delicious. Expect to see homemade gorgonzola gnocchi, pappardelle with duck ragu, polenta with spicy sausage and mushroom risotto. FYI, no bookings and cash only, folks.
BYO wine, $3 corkage per person
496 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, Sydney 2010
BYOs in Bondi & Eastern Suburbs
Located right on the waterfront, the view alone is enough to pay a visit to this cosy, humble restaurant in Bondi Beach. The head chefs are dedicated to home-style cuisine that is comforting and tailored to what’s fresh on the market, meaning the menu is constantly rotating with delicious creations. Corkage is expensive, but still a more affordable option than picking from the drinks list. Treat yourself at the seaside and dine at Sean’s Panorama – you won’t regret it.
BYO wine, $25 corkage per bottle
270 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, Sydney 2026
This place is all about flavoursome Bangkok street food. The menu is huge and features morish entrees, grilled meats, fresh salads, wok-fried noodles, rice dishes and tangy curries. Seafood is definitely a drawcard with the likes of battered soft-shell crab, spicy marinated prawns and fish with herbs. Bangkok Bites’ energetic dining room is ideal for going out with friends, so grab a few mates and a bottle and imagine you’re in the hectic bustle of Bangkok.
BYO wine and beer, $2 corkage per person
95 Hall Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney 2026
Another wonder BYO restaurant in Bondi, Pompei’s is an authentic Italian pizzeria and trattoria. Food is traditional and the best Italian ingredients are sourced, like burrata, buffalo mozzarella, San Daniele prosciutto, pancetta and San Marzano tomato sauce. With house-made bread, pizza, pasta, desserts and gelato available, you can trust this is real and rustic Italian cuisine. A curated drinks list of natural and organic wines is on offer, but BYO.
BYO wine, $8 corkage per bottle
126-130 Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney 2026
Granted, this Paddington BYO restaurant only offers bring your own during weekdays. But if you ask us, a cheeky midweek lunch with matching vino is a great idea. Especially when the food is this good! The team behind Barbetta are the Cipri family, Italians hailing from the Calabria region who are passionate about bringing people together over their authentic and homemade recipes. We recommend a Barbetta creation like the spinach and ricotta gnocchi with burnt butter or the grilled meatball polpetta burger with eggplant.
BYO wine, $15 corkage per bottle, Monday to Friday lunch only
2 Elizabeth St, Paddington, Sydney 2021
Specialising in southern Italian style pizza, Vacanza’s creations are handmade and topped with only the best ingredients sourced from Italy and Australia. Following the Italian philosophy of less means more, the pizza is authentically simple and of the highest quality with both rosse and bianche varieties on offer. Pizza trumps here, with gluten-free bases also available, but the antipasti and stone-baked pasta dishes deserve just as much praise. Conveniently, all of the menu goes perfectly with your chosen bottle of vino!
BYO wine, $8 corkage per bottle
261 Bronte Road, Waverley, Sydney 2024
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BYOs in Newtown & Inner West
Emma’s Snack Bar
Emma’s is a local crowd pleaser, winning the hearts of diners all around who love the casual atmosphere and divine Lebanese food on offer. The menu has large plates, dips and sides that are great for sharing with friends alongside your chosen BYO wine. We recommend starting with nibbles like traditional hummus with lamb and pine nuts, fried cauliflower with tahini, flamed arak prawns or tabouli salad. Mains, meanwhile, should be dedicated to the Moorish chicken in tangy spices or aromatic spiced fish fillets with nuts.
BYO wine, $4 corkage per person
59 Liberty Street, Enmore, Sydney 2042
An artisan cafe and bakery during the day, Two Chaps is also open two nights a week to the delight of Sydney foodies wanting to get their hands on fresh handmade pasta and local cheeses. Dedicated to sustainability and seasonal produce, the menu is always changing and built around flavoursome ingredients, resulting in delicious and innovative dishes of top quality.
BYO wine, $4 corkage or free with $55 set menu, Friday and Saturday dinner only
122 Chapel Street, Marrickville, Sydney 2204
With BYO only available on Wednesday, other restaurants are more convenient yet none have the flavour profile of Hello Auntie. The only Vietnamese joint on our list, this fusion eatery in the Inner West has an innovative menu with influences from Vietnam’s neighbouring countries of Korea, Japan and China. Dishes are fresh and zesty, with an inclusive mix of seafood, vegetarian, meat and gluten-free plates on offer.
BYO wine, $3 corkage per person, Wednesday dinner only
278 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, Sydney 2204
The team at Rosso are passionate about authentic and artisan pizza, as simple as that. Using a traditional recipe from Bologna, the dough is proofed for 72 hours and topped with top-notch ingredients either imported from Italy or freshly sourced from local suppliers. A wide range of rosse and bianche pizzas are available, as well as vegan pizzas. If you’re after pasta or risotto instead, we recommend checking out Rosso’s sophisticated sister restaurant Mantecato (also BYO and located in Balmain).
BYO wine, free corkage
20-24 Buchanan Street, Balmain, Sydney 2041
Golden Lotus Vegan
We love Golden Lotus for several reasons. Firstly, it’s 100% vegan and entirely plant-based, which is perfect for those with dietary requirements or diners who would like to eat more consciously. But furthermore, the Vietnamese food at Golden Lotus is authentic in flavour whether it’s the pho soups or the street food snacks. Vegans deserve quality BYO restaurants in Sydney just like the rest of us, and Golden Lotus Vegan is happily there to deliver. For more recommendations on top-quality vegan restaurants in the area, check out this article.
BYO wine, corkage may apply
341-343 King Street, Newtown, Sydney 2042
Kepos Street Kitchen
A fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine is in full force at this neighbourhood eatery in Redfern. There’s Tel Aviv falafel with green tahini, smoked labneh with candied pistachios and pomegranate, burrata cheese with Persian eggplant relish, scallop ceviches with brown butter and hazelnuts, preserved lemon baby snapper with zucchini and lamb rump with strained yoghurt and fennel… Need we say more? Kepos is a must visit.
BYO wine, $8 corkage per person
96 Kepos Street, Redfern, Sydney 2016
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BYOs in Crows Nest & North Shore
Chiosco By Ormeggio
Located right on The Spit jetty in Mosman, Chiosco by Ormeggio is a laid back Italian trattoria with incredible views over the water. Customers can soak up the sun and relax in a beautiful outdoor setting, all while enjoying their chosen bottle of wine from home and feasting on antipasti platters, pasta and seafood or meat dishes. “BYO and barefoot-friendly” is the motto here – perfect for a leisurely long lunch or atmospheric evening meal, if you ask us. Chiosco’s sister restaurants Via Alta in North Willoughby and Sotto Sopra in Newport also offer BYO alongside authentic Italian food.
BYO wine, $12 corkage per bottle
The Jetty, D’Albora Marinas the Spit, Spit Road, Mosman, Sydney 2088
Papaya Thai Restaurant
Everything at this authentic Thai restaurant in Cammeray is packed full of flavour and bursting with freshness, meaning you’ll likely want to return again and again to Papaya. Alongside the cheap BYO corkage and lovely ambience, why wouldn’t you? We recommend digging into a traditional North Eastern Thai dish like the som tum papaya salad with crispy battered soft-shell crab, the pork moo num tok salad with chilli-lime dressing, or the roast duck larb mixed with herbs and roasted rice.
BYO, $2 corkage per person
506-508 Miller Street, Cammeray, Sydney 2062
Via Napoli Pizzeria
They say the main ingredient in pizzas from Via Napoli Pizzeria is passion and we couldn’t agree more. The attention to detail that head chef Luigi Esposito and his team show in creating their pizzas is meticulous, from the perfect temperature of the wood-fired oven to the hand-kneaded soft dough. The Naples-style pizza here is traditional, authentic and simple, using only the best toppings imported from Italy or sourced from quality local producers. The homemade pasta and antipasti boards are also an absolute treat.
BYO wine, $10 corkage per bottle
141 Longueville Road, Lane Cove, Sydney 2066
This neighbourhood BYO restaurant in the Crows Nest centre is dedicated to fresh seafood, so grab a bottle of white wine and feast on Sydney’s best market fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Consult the changing blackboard menu and take your pick of seafood sourced from the market that very morning. Alternatively, order a Garfish à la carte classic like freshly shucked oysters, chargrilled octopus, wood-fired Mooloolaba king prawns or the famous Garfish snapper pie.
BYO wine, $5 corkage per person
6/29 Holtermann Street, Crows Nest, Sydney 2065
For modern Chinese cuisine in an ambient dining setting, pay a visit to New Shanghai in Chatswood with your chosen BYO bottle and indulge in Shanghai specialities. Opt for the signature dishes and we promise you won’t regret it. There’s something for everyone with the likes of pan-fried crab and pork buns, xiao long bao soup dumplings, pork pot stickers, braised beef noodle soup, wok-fried prawns with salted egg yolk, sweet & sour whole barramundi or slow-cooked pork belly with sweetened soy sauce. We recommend dining with a group and sharing, that way you can taste as many dishes as possible!
BYO wine, $3.50 corkage per person
B38 Chatswood Chase, 345 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, Sydney 2067
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