A Gift From The Recession, Fewer Corkage Fees
The Bay Area's higher percentage of corkage fees is an offshoot of its nearness to the winemaking regions of Napa and Sonoma. Locals have easier access to more bottles from small vineyards and are more likely to bring a bottle with them to dine. In this winecentric city some restaurateurs take offense when a customer brings in a wine that is already on the list.
Diners, of course, are in favor of having the fees eliminated but for some restaurants losing the revenue from corkage can make a real difference in the bottom line and there is also the hope that the fee discourages some customers from the practice. These days restaurants need every last dollar they can get and selling alcohol is a big part of that.
If you want to bring your own bottle and are unsure about how to go about it, Lettie Teague from Food and Wine wrote the definitive piece on practice a few years back. The list includes the all important rule #3, don't bring a cheap bottle of wine to a place with a wine list. Bringing your own bottle is more about having a bottle that is special to you rather than trying to save a few dollars.