One great way to become a go-to venue for guests is to be recognized as a hub for spirits and wine thought leaders. Recently the Fifth Floor Restaurant garnered high visibility in the drink-centric San Francisco market, attracting beverage and food experts and patrons alike with the fourth round of its Three on Five promotion, which began recently.
The competition is a monthly pairing challenge at the Fifth Floor in which three competitors — one sommelier, one mixologist and one brew expert — face off to see who can best pair executive chef Jennie Lorenzo’s five courses with his or her preferred category of beverage. Emily Wines, the restaurant’s appropriately named Master Sommelier, steps in to compete in a few of the competitions.
“It helps us pull in people in the area who are experts in each beverage field as participants,” Wines says. “The next one we are planning will be all sommeliers competing against one another; in the last one we challenged beer versus wine versus sake.”
To add to the excitement, diners — regular customers — act as judges. The evening’s meal is priced at $125, and patrons can reserve a spot to dine and judge by calling the restaurant’s reservation line and requesting a seat for Three on Five.
“We cap the attendance at 12 people, and as far as increasing business, this is more about doing something fun and playful and giving guests a look at culinary cocktails,” Wines explains. “But it does get our name in front of the press.”
One example of that is the mixology street cred of mentions by Alcademics.com blogger Camper English. The San Francisco-based spirits expert and creator of the blog site joins in the fun by offering a free ticket to the event each month for members of his “Alcademics A-Plus E-mail List,” driving traffic to his blog and people to the Fifth Floor.