Friends having dinner party on patio
Friends having dinner party on patio

KaiJuly 20, 2018

An illustrated guide to New Zealand’s loosest BYOs

Friends having dinner party on patio
Friends having dinner party on patio

Nothing goes better with cheap food than cheaper wine drunk quickly. Here are the 10 best BYO spots in New Zealand, as submitted by you. 

Ah, the BYO, most depraved of dining methods! Sinking seven standards with the fam and boofing a bit of Thai – it’s the degustation for the modern lad. What better way to prime yourself for an evening on the town than inhaling cheap curry and speed-drinking a cleanskin?

But not all venues are created equal. Many – nay, most – restaurants offer BYO as an extra incentive to get punters through the door, the expectation being that one bottle will lead to two, and overall lead to increased drink sales and thus profit. Others, however, seem to offer BYO as a defining feature of the experience.

Here are New Zealand’s best BYO spots for the… discerning diner.


Canton Cafe

An Auckland staple, the Canton Cafe sits in the middle of Kingsland village. Award winning as of 2008, the Cafe is a Chinese restaurant that “caters for large groups and intimate dining”. With a liberal attitude towards beverages on-site, they offer a serviceable menu too. The Canton Cafe straddles the line between authentic restaurant and BYO watering hole by sequestering drinking diners upstairs away from the proper patrons.

Mai Thai

In the shadow of the Sky Tower, just up from the bottle store, is Mai Thai. A really quite good Thai restaurant, Mai Thai has a dedicated ‘party room’ out back, yours for $20, which is a must-book for the more enthusiastic BYO crowd.


Royal Horse

With buffet services, a la carte dining and long, banquet-style tables, Pukekohe’s Royal Horse is a solid option for those stuck far to the south of the CBD. As one fella said on Twitter, ‘bring your chilly bin and away you go’.

Image: Google Maps


Royale Indian

Lovely ambience, proximity to Hamilton Boys’ High, and a feasible walk into town – what more could you want? Points deducted for turning me away when I really needed to pee on shrooms, however.


Rock Yard Vietnamese

Perhaps the most ringing endorsement of any establishment on this list: “I once saw a 20-year-old dude chug a bottle of cleanskin wine and then wipe his face with a plastic bag in Rock Yard.”

Long Xiang

Mrs Long Xiang will look after you super well, and is said to turn the occasional blind eye.

Genghis Khan

As described by Spinoff contributor Jamie Wall, “it’s the one place in Wellington where absolutely nothing has changed at all since the 80s, aside from them getting rid of the ash trays.”


Foo San

Decent food, $1 corkage and low standards – Foo San caught fire at the end of last year, but they remain “cool with you bringing a keg”.

Thai Orchid

“I have a memory of my friend sitting on the lazy susan while we all spun her around and chanted. The owner threw everyone out but locked me inside because I was in the bathroom and forced me to pay for everyone’s food. Pretty sure they called the cops on us once.”

Image: Facebook


The Asian

It’s described by Spinoff writer Calum Henderson as ‘legendary’, and locals tell The Spinoff that a “bottle of Heaven Hill bourbon pairs v well with Szechuan whole fish at the Asian”.

Manila Grill

A Filipino restaurant where karaoke happens while you have your dinner. Faithful patrons point to a “kindly small host/owner” who is known to come up and hug whoever is on the mic “gently round the mid”.

“India Garden is next door. They have no karaoke but the staff have the unmistakeable blankness of defeat in their eyes from the moment you step in the door.”

Got a better spot? Add it to the interactive map here.

The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. Our relationship with food, the way we produce it, buy it and eat it, provides wonderful insight into our society and how it works. Freedom Farms reckon talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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