Best Of L.A.: Brown Bag It At Our Top 15 BYOB Spots



[UPDATE: This story was originally published on October 25.]

As Angelenos, we're blessed with a bevy of treasures at our fingertips at any given time: the ocean, never-ending activities, an eternal summer — the list goes on. Sure, it’s a tough life, but we think it’s fair. Although you know what isn't fair? When hunger strikes, the move to satiate almost always involves getting behind the wheel, which is why we make sure all culinary experiences are damn well worth it upon arrival.

With that requirement in mind, we tracked down and sussed out 15 spots where you're not only allowed, but also encouraged to bring your own booze. So, think of it this way: You'll spend on gas and cabs, but save on corkage. Oh, and nothing beats the experience of brown bagging it. From Baja’s best fish tacos to Fairfax’s most beloved Ethiopian joint, these 15 BYOB-friendly establishments mandate a trip to your favorite spirit shop, stat.

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Pinches Tacos
This famously pink Mexican go-to holds a dirty little BYOB secret, setting it well above the rest of its overrated neighboring eateries on this stretch of the Sunset strip. Ignore the celebrity gawkers at the Chateau, grab a table street side, and order up a plate of tender Al Pastor tacos. And, if you’re feeling thirsty, a Mexican coke to wash it all down.
Pinches Tacos, 8200 Sunset Boulevard (at Havenhurst Drive); 323-650-0614.

Good Girl Dinette
For kick-ass Vietnamese in a hip, Highland Park enviro, look no further than Good Girl Dinette, serving up killer bánh mì alongside a stridently relaxed BYOB policy. Whether you're on a date or with your BFFs, splurge on the garlic fries — you won’t be sad you did.
Good Girl Dinette, 110 North Avenue 56 (at North Figueroa Street); 323-257-8980.

Pinches Tacos, Photographed by Molly Cranna
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The Hollywood Bowl
Perhaps most shocking of all the venues in the list, The Hollywood Bowl abides by a generous BYOB-friendly policy. In fact, it encourages the behavior, allowing ticket holders to show up four hours early for any show. With unlimited picnic gear packed, you can chow down before you get down.
The Hollywood Bowl, 2301 North Highland Avenue; 323-850-2000.

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro
With a name as grounded in food ethics as Sage’s, you wouldn't think that boozing would be allowed, much less encouraged. But, au contraire — that’s just the first of many delightfully surprising things about this Echo Park legend. Beloved by carnivores and gluten-free vegans alike, hit up House of Spirits before settling in for a mind-bending-delicious Vermicelli Bowl, followed by a scoop of KindCreme vegan ice cream.
Sage Organic Vegan Bistro, 1700 West Sunset Boulevard (at Logan Street); 213-989-1718.

Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
If you have yet to hit up Little Ethiopia on Fairfax for some authentic, hands-on dining, start here! Manned by Rahel herself, this petite spot is the perfect place to dine on injera (flat Ethiopian bread). Try it with the flavorfully and earthy lentil and split-pea dishes — all vegan, all top-notch, and all better washed down with a little BYO-beer.
Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine, 1047 South Fairfax Avenue (at Olympic); 323-937-8401.

Photo: Via The Hollywood Bowl
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La Cevicheria
Fill your pockets with cash and head out to La Cevicheria, Pico's best and most well-kept secret (except when we told you about it here, of course!). Tracking it down may be difficult — it’s tiny and kind of in the middle of nowhere — but when you do, oh boy will you be pleased! From the ceviche and fish tacos to the bloody clams (trust us on this), everything is super fresh, made with love, and well worth any trek.
La Cevicheria, 3809 West Pico Boulevard (at 6th Avenue); 323-732-1253.

Garage Pizza
Part dive and part diner, Garage has a strong hold on the Silver Lake pizza-pie market. If you’re lucky enough to grab one of the handful of tables at the Eastside spot, you’ll have a place to set your previously purchased beverages, which will pair quite nicely with the enormous slices Garage divvies out. Carnivores should try their hand at the Cholo (chicken, jalapeños, onions, and olives), while veggie worshippers will find themselves well-served by ample selections, all crafted with vegan cheese.
Garage Pizza, 4339 West Sunset Boulevard (at Fountain Avenue); 323-668-1190.

La Cevicheria, Photographed by Molly Cranna
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Tinga
Short-rib tacos, killer horchata, and sunny outdoor seating — what else do you need? Cool-kid flavor and a friendly BYOB policy? Yep, Tinga’s got that buttoned-up, too! Falling well into the category of gourmet Mexican (i.e. über pork-focused with the pricetag to match), its churro game is sharp and well worth a stray from your neighborhood joint.
Tinga, 142 South La Brea Avenue (at West 1st Street); 323-954-9566.

Colori Kitchen
Chances are you’ve hit up a healthy dose of DTLA’s latest and greatest over the last few months, but if you've yet to try Colori (one of L.A.’s best family-owned Italian restos), you’re really missing out. Nestled on 8th Street, the spot whips up rich fare that the Italian grandmother of your dreams never did because she either doesn’t exist, or she’s just not as skilled as Chef Luigi. Pop open your own bottle of wine and settle into a window seat for a healthy serving of freshly baked bread dipped in your cioppino, followed by a can’t-miss ricotta cheesecake — delizioso.
Colori Kitchen, 429 West 8th Street (at Olive Street); 213-622-5950.

Cafe Brasil
Alfresco eateries are a dime a dozen in L.A., but few offer the bring-your-own option (much less the colorful canopy of Brazilian good vibes!), quite like Cafe Brasil. While we can’t vouch for the attached hotel, this bitty spot is often backed with Brazilian expats yelling loudly at soccer on the TV, and downing plates full of churrasco (steak), served with heaping sides of plantains, grilled onions, and salsa.
Cafe Brasil, 10831 Venice Boulevard (at Westwood Boulevard); 310-837-8957.

Photo: Via Tinga
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Houston’s
Sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned steak — and when that urge hits, Houston’s is your place. If you can get past the fact that it’s a chain (which shouldn’t be hard considering a no-fee BYOB policy!), it just might become one of your favorite un-chain-y chains in L.A. — decidedly unsceney, cozy, and downright dependable for your meaty tendencies.
Houston's, 320 South Arroyo Parkway (at East El Mar Boulevard); 626-577-6001.

Two Boots Pizza
Perhaps the most notable thing about Two Boots (besides the open-door-on-alcohol policy), is its close proximity to legendary music venue The Echo. So close, in fact, that you can order up a sweet slice of Cleopatra Jones (sausage, bell peppers, grilled onions, and mozzarella) while you tune in at The Echo’s bar — but then you’d miss out on the generous BYOB action next door. Tough call.
Two Boots Pizza, 1818 West Sunset Boulevard (at Glendale Boulevard); 213-413-2668.

Photographed by Molly Cranna
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Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
Fresh, simple, and super affordable, Best Fish Taco in Ensenada has earned its cult-like following. Boasting a severely pared-down menu consisting solely of a fried-fish taco, a grilled-fish taco, and very recently, a veg-friendly potato taco (game-changer!), it’s the salsa bar that keeps the locals coming back again and again, fully stocked with fiery mango salsa, cooling crema, and everything in between.
Best Fish Taco in Ensenada, 1650 North Hillhurst Avenue (at Camero); 323-466-5552.

Eddie's Italian Kitchen
As is the case with many stellar establishments in L.A., you mustn't be fooled by the strip-mall locale and less-than-exciting exterior of this Italian joint — it’s inside where the magic happens. Roll in with a bottle of wine and gear up for a feast of epic proportions at the spot formerly knows as Alejo's (same owner, new name). The hit list: Fried calamari, chicken alfredo, and the classic spaghetti and meatballs.
Eddie’s Italian Kitchen, 8343 Lincoln Boulevard (at Washington Boulevard); 310-670-6677.

Village Pizzeria
Go for the Clam and Garlic Pie, stay for the fresh side salads and pitch-perfect meatballs, and take in all of the "is-it-or-isn’t-it" up to NYC pie snuff banter (a tireless convo sure to make you glad you brought your own vino!).
Village Pizzeria, 131 North Larchmont Boulevard (at Beverly Boulevard); 323-465-5566.

Best Fish Taco in Ensenada, Photographed by Molly Cranna