What is the Salon? An Introduction

A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. -Wikipedia

For the past two years, St. George's Dave Smith and I have wanted to put together our own Salon in the Bay Area – an exclusive place where people could meet, talk, have a few quality drinks, and gather in a friendly, festive spirit of celebration. Of course, we could always just meet at a bar, but there's never enough room for everyone and you can't simply invite a hundred people over to your local hangout. We debated doing it at the Alameda distillery for a while, but the legalities were very hazy. We obviously couldn't do it at K&L. Every time we thought we had found a venue we wound up with some sort of roadblock. A bar or restaurant would be our only chance to pull off the Salon, but what kind of bar has that much space? What kind of restaurant would be willing to give us that type of room and offer up their own staff as well?

Enter The Vault 164.

Recently opened in downtown San Mateo, The Vault 164 is in a unique position to be the central headquarters of our Salon shenanigans. First off, it's close to my house. Second of all, they have a private dining room with a fully equiped bar at our disposal. Thirdly, I've been meeting with their private events coordinater and she and I are seeing 100% eye-to-eye: we both want to create fun, creative, unique, and exclusive tasting events unlike anything that anyone else is currently offering.

There will be music, multi-media, high quality booze, and plenty of tasty snacks on hand. There will be a limited number of tickets available. There will be a manifesto as well. The Salon is a place to socialize, not cower in a corner, taking pictures of your whisky glass with your iPhone while jotting down notes. We'll have plenty of time for that at our educational dinner events. The Salon is about bringing the social element back to booze. The Salon will be a party. A room full of people who love alcohol and love to have fun.

The details are simple. You buy a ticket for the Salon, we give you a punch card as you enter. That card is good for a limited number of 1 oz. pours from the buffet of booze that I will command. There will be a common theme and a thread linking each spirit to the next. For those who don't drink whiskey or are manning the wheel for the night, we will be offering a limited number of guest tickets for a much lower price. Guests are free to munch on snacks and receive free non-alcoholic drinks if they are driving. Guests can also order any number of non-whiskey, fully-alcoholic cocktails from the fully-functioning bar if they don't like the brown stuff.

All in all, we're looking at around 100 spots for our first Salon meeting which will take place on Saturday, February 16th at The Vault 164's private dining room on B Street in downtown San Mateo. Tickets are not yet on sale, but the fee will be $40 per person with a limited-number of guest tickets for $10. The entrance fee will cover six 1 oz. pours of six different Bourbons. Snacks and light appetizers will be available all night long. The doors will open at 7 PM and the event will run until roughly 9:30. Guests do not have to arrive right at the start, as pours will be rationed out and reserved in advance.

Sound like fun? Singles, couples, married folk - rejoice! The Salon is in full effect and we're going to make whisky tastings exciting again. Meet your future spouse or bring your current one with you. It is a party after all. Tickets will be on sale shortly, available via the K&L website.

Stay tuned!

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll