Leaving the wine at home

The owner of the Athens Restaurant says his eatery has the best wine list in the city. Located only 200 metres from the NSLC on Quinpool Road, it’s one of the few restaurants in the province that lets diners bring your own wine (BYOW). Some places charge a corking fee for that but Athens currently doesn’t.
In 2007, the province amended its liquor laws to allow restaurants to offer BYOW service. Athens was on board immediately. “[It’s] a family restaurant,” says owner Evangelos Panopalis. “I was very happy to offer just one bottle of wine. I didn’t have to worry about any inventory, tying up a significant amount of money in a wine list when there’s literally a liquor store 30 seconds from my restaurant.” Customers can place their order, walk to NSLC, buy a bottle of wine, and be back before the food is ready.
Only about 10% of restaurants offer BYOW, says Gordon Stewart, the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia’s executive director. The association supports the practice and sees it as a way of attracting customers on traditionally slow nights or during off-peak season.
Surprisingly, BYOW isn’t particularly popular. Stewart says one of the reasons is people dine differently today. “People used to always go out with reservations, but now hardly anybody goes out with reservations,” he says. “They just go and so if you’re just going, you’re being more spontaneous, so you’re less likely to take advantage of something like BYOW.”

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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