Top BYOB Restaurants In Connecticut

May 28, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images News

Some restaurants do not have, cannot afford or simply do not want a liquor license, or the liability that comes with serving alcohol. In Connecticut, this is especially true among the seasonal restaurants, in particular those with outside seating. Rather than lose customers to establishments that do serve booze, they allow patrons to bring the beverage of their choice to the table – which is usually a picnic table.  There are other, year-round establishments that allow BYOB for another reason. Restaurants make a very high profit on alcohol, thanks to the high mark-up, but they also realize in these lean economic times that many patrons are put off by such high prices. Again, rather than lose the customer, allowing the diners to bring their own is a compromise, one where everybody wins. Here are just five BYOB establishments in Connecticut.

Nu-Nu’s Bistro
45 Hayward Ave.
Colchester, CT 06415
(860) 537-6299

Nu-Nu’s is a year-round Italian restaurant with indoor seating and one of the few to openly advertise as a BYOB place. Guests are encouraged to bring their own beer or wine, and Nu-Nu’s will supply the glasses – albeit at a corkage fee of $2 per glass. There are traditional pasta dishes and specialties of the house such as double-breasted Sicilian chicken, top round veal cutlet and a children’s menu to choose from. Regulars, however, keep coming back for pastas topped with one of the two house sauces: Nu-Nu’s Marinara or Nu-Nu’s Sunday Sauce. The first is made with plum tomatoes and basil, the second with veal and pork. Come in and try them both.

Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
80 Hamilton St.
New London, CT 06320
(860) 439-1741

Dining outdoors by the water is one of the great pleasures of visiting or living by the Connecticut shore. Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London is a seasonal restaurant that serves up fresh, classic, local seafood in a family-friendly, casual setting – and at prices most people can afford. Clams, scallops, oysters, fish and, of course, lobsters are available on their own or in combo dinners, and the “Captain” even has “Create-a-Combo” option. The fish fritters, by the way, are not to be missed. The restaurant, which is open from April to October, is now in its 18th year, is family owned and operated and is named for a famous local seafaring hero. Diners thus get a little history with their seafood – but the only way they will get a good stiff drink is if they bring their own.

Sea Swirl
30 Williams Ave.
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 536-3452

Seasonal clam shacks used to sprout up all of the time on the Connecticut shore, and the Sea Swirl is one of the best-loved heirs to that old tradition. Best known for its chowders – including a Rhode Island broth style – and other staple New England seafood dishes, the Sea Swirl is not fancy. Most of the food is breaded and fried and served up in disposable containers. Diners stand in line outside of the glass-enclosed building, order at a window and take their meals to nearby picnic tables. There are sandwiches, rolls, side orders, complete dinners and even ice cream – but to have anything stronger than a soda, customers have to bring their own.

Bayou Smokehouse
214 Route 12
Groton, CT 06340
(860) 440-8776

Chili, gumbo, pulled pork and jerk chicken can all be hot and spicy, especially if they are made by Pierre Boutros, chef and owner of the Bayou Smokehouse in Groton. This BYOB BBQ place serves up a variety of smokehouse styles, including Caribbean as well as traditional Southern cooking. Whether diners chose the Cajun taco salad, brisket, Carolina-style chicken or baked shrimp mac and cheese, they will not be disappointed. As the name indicates, however, there is a lot of New Orleans flavor in the menu, including Creole cooking.

3 Guys Flippin Pies
1098 Main St.
Watertown, CT 06795
(860) 945-0606

The flavored crust at 3 Guys is a big draw at this Watertown pizza parlor. For just 50 cents a flavor, customers can have sesame, oregano, basil, garlic, parmesan or any combination of those added to the crust. This unique twist on the traditional build-your-own pizza has served 3 Guys very well. This spot, of course, also offers all of the usual toppings and make Sicilian deep dish as well as specialty and gourmet pizzas and calzones, as well as old world style “stuffed bread” – which is the grandfather of all pizzas. Bring your favorite bottle of wine and enjoy it in true Italian fashion at 3 Guys.

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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