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The BYO Guide: 5 Ways to Have Fun at a BYO Restaurant

Who says you need to visit a bar for a fun night out? While bring-your-own restaurants aren't quite as much of a party as your average nightclub, there's certainly no reason not to visit them. From fun nights out with close friends to a quick meal accompanied by your own favourite wine, it's hard not to think of a reason to head down to the nearest BYO restaurant for great times and good food.

With the right strategy, your next BYO restaurant outing can turn into a great time. Apply these five simple tactics and you'll have a great dinner, whether you're dining with close friends, the extended family, or simply with colleagues and work partners. Best of luck – and have a great night out.

1. Meeting friends? Bring beer. Meeting family? Bring wine.

Are you heading out for a night with old friends? Make sure to bring a cold six-pack with you, and encourage some of your friends to do the same. Meeting the family for dinner? Get a bottle of wine prepared, and don't dare bring any beer or party drinks to the restaurant.

It's important to pick drinks that your guests would appreciate. If you're meeting rowdy guests that you haven't seen in years, it's unlikely that a case of beers would offend. However, bringing such a drink to a family dinner might end up causing a slight faux pas, as others could have expected wine.

2. Find a restaurant that's open late, giving you more time to talk.

I's amazing how quickly a night can speed by, particularly when you're dining out with great friends and enjoying good food. A meeting scheduled for 8PM can easily end up going until midnight, with stories shared and great food passed around for hours on end.

Pick a restaurant that's open fairly late, ensuring you have enough time to talk with your friends and family. Local takeout restaurants and small eateries may not be the best choices – it's often better to book a table at a restaurant that's open until diners leave, particularly ones that offer outdoor dining.

3. Pick a familiar cuisine, not something gourmet and exotic.

If you're meeting up to reminisce and reconnect, it's important that your food isn't a completely new experience. Pick something that all of your friends, family members, and acquaintances are familiar with. It might mean passing over an exotic new option, but it's generally worth it.

Remember, the focus should be on conversation and fun, not exotic foods or unusual meals. Go for the type of restaurant that you would be comfortable eating in alone. While it may lack the flair of another high-end location, it's generally a worthwhile pick for simple, manageable meals.

4. Call ahead to check that BYO is allowed.

Unsure about drink regulations? Call the restaurant in advance to check that it's BYO compatible and willing to accept your party. Some restaurants have strict limits on what can and can't be used by diners. If your drinks aren't allowed or quantities are limited, it's better to dine elsewhere.

Alternatively, it could be worth dining out at a local restaurant before moving to a bar, nightclub, or late-night hangout. Some restaurants, despite advertising as BYO, will ask guests to keep alcohol to a minimum on peak nights. Worried about the 'legality' or your meal? Best to move somewhere else.

5. Don't get too carried away – BYO isn't an invitation to get drunk.

While bring-your-own alcohol restaurants expect a certain level of excitement and fun from their guests, they're certainly not interested in entertaining drunkards. Bring a bottle of wine, but think about the needs of other diners before your party, or even yourself, take things beyond the limit.

If you're uncertain about your party's intentions, it's best to call ahead and explain that you're going to meet with a large group of friends or relatives. Let the restaurant know that you'll be bringing an assortment of drinks, and understand that they may want you to move on should things get too fun.