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Dec 21, 2008 11:44 PM

Fifth Floor Report-Ambiance good, food fine, service poor

The ambiance was great and the food was creatively presented, even if it did arrive lukewarm. My major complaint was with the service. Fifth Floor aims to compete with the premium players in San Francisco-Gary Danko, Michael Mina, Masa, Fleur de Lys. And we've been to the others for comparison.

At Fifth Floor, we brought a bottle of 1996 Hillside Select-a fairly rare wine. We learned when we got the bill that the restaurant charged an additional $15 corkage (bringing the corkage to a whipping $50) for wines that they had on their list. We had another bottle with us that was a gift that evening, not on the list, and which we could have opened instead if we had been told about the additional charge.

When asked to waive the additional $15 corkage, the response was dismissive at best. For an additional $15, Fifth Floor lost two customers who eat dinner in restaurants every night and talk about their meals with people in the business. Not wise when the premium restaurants are seeing cuts in luxury spending.

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  1. I thought it was fairly standard to check a high-end restaurant's wine list first before bringing a bottle, and I thought it was pretty standard to charge extra corkage on something that the restaurant already has. Am I wrong? Is it possible that they thought it perhaps not classy to point out that you would be charged an extra $15 when you were having a very expensive meal? I can see that either way. Fifth Floor has notoriously high corkage that is well documented (but I thought Emily Wines had lowered it because of past complaints). Anyway, I'm not saying you're wrong, just have questions--others will pipe in and wipe the floor with me, I'm sure.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Atomica

      Concur...You still probably saved about $500 by not buying it off the list. Their list is online, so there's really no reason to bring in a bottle that's on it. Lesson learned, etc.

      1. re: Atomica

        Did you ask about the corkage before you brought in your own wine? That might have saved you some headache.

      2. You are lucky they opened the bottle for you at all. Many high end places do not allow you to bring in bottles they have on their list.

        1. Yea, I gotta chime in with the others. I have always thought it is bad form to bring a wine that is on the restaurant's wine list. I was surprised to hear that they opened it at all, and not at all surprised that there is an additional corkage on wine that is on the list.

          1. I'm always careful about bringing a wine that is on the list. I don't see it as fair, restaurants have real costs maintaining a good wine selection. When I do bring my own, it's always something that's old or very rare, something I want to share with friends. And we always buy a bottle of champagne (if there's at least four of us) or glasses of it if there are fewer than four of us. This makes it less of a "cheap out" with the restaurant.