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  1. Wealth
January 25, 2013

Taking Your Own Booze to BYOC Is a Gimmick Too Far

By Spear's

You bring your own bottle(s), pay a £20 cover charge for all of the extra juicy, mixy, fruity bits and let their bartenders spin you a drink according to your requirements and your bottles

While I’m a big fan of well-made, indulgent, delicious, surprising and thoughtful cocktails – a big fan, clearly – I’m not a sucker for gimmicks. (Well, a sparkler in a drink can’t hurt, I suppose.) But gimmicks seem to be what are on offer at new bar BYOC (Bring Your Own Cocktails), which opens in February.

As the name suggests, you can’t buy alcohol on the premises, but instead you bring your own bottle(s), pay a £20 cover charge (per head!) for all of the extra juicy, mixy, fruity bits and let their bartenders (mixologists, I suppose they’d call them) spin you a drink according to your requirements and your bottles.

Doing the maths, you’ll pay around £20 for a bottle of something nice on the spirit front – if you want a concoction of spirits you can double or triple that and should you want something fizzy slap a few extra notes on top – add the £20 cover charge and factor in the two-hour table turn-around time they demand and you’re not looking at a great price per cocktail.

Read more on cocktails from Spear’s

Perhaps the idea is that you bring in the dregs of your booze trolley or the remnants of your last house party back in 2008. That would be the only sensible option, thinking about it.

But if you bring your bottles in from home you’ll have to carry them around potentially all day if you’re not venturing home between work and après-work. Now, the thought of arriving clinking like an old alcoholic doesn’t scream fun to me; I like to turn up to a bar with an inappropriately small clutch bag and very little else. Rocking up with a Sainsbury’s bag full of half empty bottles is somewhere very far north of chic.

I am very happy to be proven wrong, and fingers crossed this is actually going to turn out to be a fun and interactive evening for those cocktail folk bored with the traditional offerings.

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Read more: Can the Artesian Bar really have the world’s best cocktail menu?

For those of you out there who have a well-stocked drinks cabinet, a somewhat unhealthy selection of hipflasks and a complete inability to mix it could be a great option. But what are the chances of that?

I’ll wait until I’ve been in to give my final verdict but I’m skeptical – BYO-Anything just reminds me of college sports team outings to curry houses, and they never ended well…

Read more from Food Friday

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