SINGAPORE - Business is booming for many food and beverage (F&B) outlets situated around or near the Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix circuit.
Restaurants such as Lavo Singapore on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands and Altro Zafferano on the 43rd floor of Ocean Financial Centre, which offer a view of the circuit, are fully booked for both lunch and dinner over all three days of the event, from Sept 30 to Oct 2.
Altro Zafferano's bookings this weekend include full corporate buyouts, with the largest booking for 350 guests. The Italian restaurant was also fully booked for lunch and dinner all of this week.
Also fully booked for all three days is contemporary grill and wine bar Skai on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford.
While there are available spots for walk-ins at Skai Bar on the 71st floor, managing director Marcus Hanna of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford expects it will be full house over the weekend.
F&B operators said bookings this year is higher than expected, and for some, bookings are on par or higher than in 2019.
Mr Hanna said: "Covid-19 seems to have created a pent-up demand especially for events and experiences that were not possible during the pandemic."
At rooftop bar Smoke & Mirrors which is the venue for The Penthouse, a premium F1 event on Oct 2 hosted by the Tom Barker Group saw most of the 150 tickets which cost $1,880 per person snapped up.
Only 24 tickets are available as of Thursday, and bar manager Eileen Colzani expects all the tickets to be sold. It will not accept walk-ins.
The event, which will start at 6pm, includes free flow of champagne, dining, views of the race and an after-party until 2am.
Microbrewery LeVeL33 at Marina Bay Financial Tower 1, which offers a 30 per cent view of the track, is also fully booked for the weekend. It can accommodate up to 230 persons, with a mix of spaces for sitting and standing.
Founding managing director Dr Martin Bem noted that there is a strong need for socialising after the pandemic, with more group bookings this year, many for groups of eight to 10 persons.
But he said: "A single event cannot recover the F&B scene. It is a one-off opportunity. An important one of course, but it is one weekend."
While F1 does boost F&B businesses, Altro Zafferano's managing director Vadim Korob said the difference is not significant amid the growth in business after most of the safe management measures were stood down.
Business is also brisk for F&B outlets which do not offer a view of the track.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore's Town Restaurant, which will have live screening of the race, is also fully booked for its Fuel Up Sunday Brunch on Oct 2. Diners will be able to hear the roaring engines from the race track.
The restaurant, which has a seating capacity of 240, has extended seating to The Courtyard located in front of Town Restaurant to accommodate an additional 70 diners.
The 95-seat rum-focused cocktail pub Sugarhall in Cecil Street, situated near Gate 5 of the circuit, has seen a 20 per cent increase in reservations for the weekend compared to average weekend numbers.
Reservations started streaming in three weeks ago. But the bar will be closed on Oct 2 as it is not open on Sundays.
True Cost Restaurant and Wine Bar, which opened at Suntec City in June, is 80 per cent booked for the weekend despite not live streaming the race. Mr Ram Prasad Naidu, 30, the restaurant's managing partner, said it has seen more foreign visitors among its customers this week.
F&B outlets away from the circuit are also enjoying better business even without F1-themed specials or live-streaming.
Zouk Group's omakase restaurant Sushi Ichizuke and speakeasy Here Kitty Kitty in Clarke Quay have more reservations for the F1 weekend compared to other weekends.
The 34-seat Sushi Ichizuke is almost fully booked for all three days of the race, while Here Kitty Kitty, which is closed on Oct 2, is 75 per cent booked with an increase of 10 per cent for Sep 30 and Oct 1.
Mr Andrew Li, chief executive of Zouk Group, attributed the spike inbusiness to the large number of foreigners who are here for the weekend.
He said: "F1 creates a buzz in Singapore that is unparalleled to any other events."