APPetizing: BYOB App Chicago

By Anthony Todd in Food on May 23, 2012 3:00PM

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Sometimes, simple apps are the best kind. While we love bells, whistles and pretty graphics, they can often get in the way when we're just trying to find someplace to eat. BYOB App - Chicago has stripped a guide app down to its bare essentials, and that's just fine with us.

BYOB (Bring your own bottle) restaurants are popular with all sorts of diners. Some want to save money by bringing their own cheap swill, others think that they can curate better pairings than a restaurant wine buyer. Whichever sort you are, it can sometimes be difficult to find a BYOB restaurant close to you in an unfamiliar neighborhood. They often aren't quite as famous or prominent (though there are some notable exceptions like El Ideas, which isn't actually listed) and often storefronts don't clearly mark their BYOB status. Enter the App.

The app allows you to search for restaurants by type of cuisine, or to look for them on a map. It also allows for a quick study in BYOB-related ethnic trends: only 3 French and 2 Greek restaurants allow BYOB, but a whopping 39 Thai and 32 Mexican restaurants let you bring your vino in. There is also a map with all of the more than 250 restaurants in the system.

The app isn't perfect, and if you hate Yelp, it might annoy you. The app doesn't contain any specific information about each restaurant, relying instead on links to each restaurant's Yelp reviews. It also doesn't have anything specific about the nature of the BYOB at each restaurant. Some places provide plastic cups and hotel mini-bar corkscrews, while others have glasses for each varietal and someone to help you coordinate your pairings on site. On the other hand, the app is free, easy to use and comprehensive. So download it, already!