Booze Hound - BYOBooze

I know it’s been awhile since you BYOBed -– like in high school, back when you used to sneak-sip Special Brews on some public beach on Key Biscayne while discussing the ever-important topic of whether to get a belly-ring, a fairy tattooed on your lower back, or just blow all of your hard-earned Dairy Queen money on a Full Moon Rave. Or, like last week, when you hid a couple of New Castles in your purse in order to survive a screening of Beverly Hills Chihuahua without prying out one of your eyeballs with a soda straw in front of your (insert one) son/daughter/niece/nephew/Paris Hilton’s My New BFF reject that dragged you there.

But with the stock market fluctuating like Oprah on a fad diet, it’s time to “vote no” on $3 (if you’re lucky)-$6 beers or $10 glasses of wine (and that’s on the cheap side) and hit up local spots that, like yourself, are probably feeling the eco-blues.

Sawaddee Thai-Sushi and Coffee Corner

Cuba Libre with pad thai? Why not? In fact, you can order a Coke, bust out a flask, and pour rum into your glass while ordering a California roll like you’re lighting up a spliff in Amsterdam. No big, because it’s allowed. Plus this restaurant, named for Thailand’s traditional greeting, is friendly and fair with pretty decent fare; most entrees are under $15 and are pretty generous portion-wise. And if you find yourself already at Sawaddee sans libations and are reading this blog on an iPhone or a Blackberry, no worries -– Normandy Beach Supermarket (open until 11 p.m.) is just across the street!

El Toro Taco

The only thing better than their bean dip -– a large bowl of equal parts refried beans and melted Mexican white cheese, zinged up with a mild blend of spices ($5.62 with unlimited baskets of tortilla chips) -– is this authentic, family-owned restaurant’s attitude toward BYOB. Walk in with a six-pack of Corona and the waitstaff promptly places an ice bucket on your table. They’ll even provide the limes. And if you’re lucky, you can catch mariachis … or some dude in a wheelchair who uncomfortably pushes you to buy roses -– in this case, not so lucky -- but whenever you go to this Homestead gem, you’ll always leave full, happy, satisfied, and hopefully a little buzzed.

Upper Eastside Garden

Apparently every event going down in this sublime, Biscayne oasis is BYOB -- from Janus “sunset picnic in the park” Film Nights (starting up again in January 2009), to this weekend’s Miami Kraft Market, where you can buy from local vendors (Eco Chic, Love Peace and Dye, and more) while munching on vegan treats, listening to live music, and playing free minigolf (noon–5 p.m.). And no need to feel like a Lush McDunkerd when you walk in at noon with a six-pack in tow -- the gang there is very pro-daytime boozing … just don’t act like an asshole. To check out more Upper Eastside Garden events, check out their website.

Ver Daddy’s Taco Shop

“Sure, why not? We’re cool with that,” was the response I got from a staffer at Ver Daddy’s Taco Shop when I called to confirm their BYOB stance, which only makes this hippy-dippy, Tex-Mex joint that looks like it was converted from a KFC (or Taco Bell) that much cooler. And since the cones and barricades that once took residence upon Ver Daddy’s unfortunate stretch of Biscayne have disappeared, other patrons are starting to indulge in the spot's macho-taco, deep-fried, cheese-smothered, and beer-battered deliciousness. Keep in mind that although this place is relatively cheap, portions are out of control, so drink up before your plate of Puffy Nachos arrives.

Pascal’s on Ponce

Garfield hated Mondays, and who can blame him? It’s a day filled with rush-hour traffic, empty bars, and the endless thought of “five more days until freedom.” French favorite Pascal’s on Ponce feels your pain by hosting a BYOB night every Monday. Best part? No, not lasagna (sorry, Garfield): They waive corking fees. Ha! Take that, Buena Vista Bistro and Pilar (two excellent restaurant that charge to pop a cork)! And FYI: This is a classy joint, so, guys, please make sure to wear shoes AND a shirt (I know, I know) before arriving. And leave the Coors Light at home and opt instead for a bottle of wine.

-- Elyse Wanshel

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