Patrick van Hoorebeek, former maitre d’ at Restaurant August, celebrates one year of opening his own place, an exclusive wine bar on Bienville, just off Bourbon, on July 21. Originally from Belgium, van Hoorebeek chose the Manneken Pis holding a wine glass to advertise the opening of his bar, Patrick’s Bar Vin. The location, steps from strip clubs and big beers, brought that image to life in an unexpected way when Patrick found a lost and confused man urinating in his parlor. Other than such mishaps, Bar Vin is doing quite well. The 36 temperature-controlled, private wine lockers are all rented out on an annual basis, and there’s a waiting list. Van Hoorebeek likens the lockers to memberships at a health club—only less expensive. Patrick’s Bar Vin offers members any bottle of wine at a 20-percent markup, which is significantly less than most bars and restaurants.
Having “hand picked the staff like grapes,” van Hoorebeek continues to emphasize great customer service. He’ll open any bottle of wine and sell it by the glass. Three times out of four, people appreciate it so much they end up drinking the whole bottle: “You leave the bottle in front of them, and you leave them alone.”