Theme Park for Rich Foodies?

It’s kind of bizarre when your opinions seem to cross over into the public sphere.

I’ve been privately airing my fears that San Francisco is turning into some sort of Theme Park for rich foodies and overseas investors for some time now.

Today the paper of record weighed in with similar concerns.

Exodus of S.F.’s middle class

“A kind of derogatory term for the city would be Disneyland for yuppies,” said Hans Johnson, demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California. “There is a legitimate public policy concern when a city that many people have lived in for many years and regard as their homes becomes so expensive they can’t afford to live there anymore.”

Which is all very serious and kind of outside of the subject sphere for this not very serious blog.

But to bring it back to the sphere of drinks and drinking, I do wonder what is the tipping point.

Lately, the trend has been to open very upscale bars.

Charge lots of money for drinks made with premium spirits.

I love a good drink and the service that these bars provide.

But I wonder how many of these bars even a seemingly “recession proof” city like San Francisco can support.

That’s one point.

The other point…

What seems to trickle down from upscale bars, it seems to me, is the wrong lesson.

What the average bars seem to take home from upscale bars is that if they serve drinks with premium spirits, they can charge more for their drinks.

You don’t see average bars controlling portions. You don’t see average bars with professional service. You don’t see well trained staff at average bars. You don’t see average bars realizing that the premium of fresh squeezed juice easily justifies the expense.

Here’s my question, not understanding much about costs for bars and where the price of the spirits fits in.

OK, you go to a place like say Slanted Door or Beretta. Drinks are, on average $10-15. At retail, most of the rail spirits are in the $20-30 range.

If you chopped $10 off the price of your rail brands, choosing carefully, could you run a similarly high quality drink program, with cheaper average prices and still turn a profit?

Or is it the premium spirit names, and not the quality of drinks or service which sells?

Casino Cocktail

Casino Cocktail

Casino Cocktail

2 Dashes Maraschino (2/3 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters (generous couple splashes Regan’s Orange Bitters)
2 Dashes Lemon Juice (2/3 tsp Lemon Juice)
1 Glass Old Tom Gin (2 oz Junipero Gin and a dash simple)

Stir well and add cherry.

Skipped Cherry and am quite cheery about it.

An enjoyably odd cocktail. One of the better features of orange bitters I’ve tried.

On modern cocktail menus, you’ll often find this cocktail significantly reformulated. Moving it away from its roots as a true Cock-tail, and moving it towards a lemon and Maraschino heavy Aviation Cocktail variation. I have to admit I prefer the old-fashioned version.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.