In my now many years in the wine business I have come to know many things. First, all good things must end at some point. Second, the nicest guys don't always finish first. Third, that my favorite people in the business are usually the ones who do the least amount of business with me and have the toughest time making it work.
That is the way it has been with Lou and before that with Hayes and Vine in San Francisco and so many others. The little guys who want real wine. The little guys who want you to drink real wine. The little guys who would like to buy more from you but it is usually better that they don't so they don't get too far behind on their payments.
But these are the guys you hang with at the tastings and rip on the big guys and their industrial wines. These places, like Lou, is where you go to hang out with your friends (if you don't have twins and never leave the house again after 6 pm!). These are the places where every time you belly up to the bar, you are treated like a member of the family and it just feels like home.
Lou and I go back before he opened the wine bar when we were in a tasting group together and his dream of a wine bar was still just that, a dream. He made his dream happen and for that I salute him.
I am going to miss Lou on Vine, even though I didn't get there enough in recent times. I am going to miss it for being the beacon the guided a small subset of wine lovers here in L.A. I am going to miss the idea of having a cool place to go with my wife where I don't need to put on my game face. I am going to miss getting hugged by Lou and him saying, "Hey man, long time no see!"
For the uninitiated, pulling back the curtain at the entrance of Lou and feeling the heat and noise spill out into the night air had a special feeling. A feeling of going back in time to a speakeasy or private club. And now my private club is closing.
I truly hope that when Lou talks about a second act, that this act will begin soon and be exactly what he dreamed it to be.
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