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Meet Wen Yeh of neat. in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wen Yeh.

Wen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Over 20 years ago, one of my dearest friends turned me onto quality craft German and Belgian beer and that spawned the idea for BRU HAUS (2010, our first venture). We dove into it without the slightest clue as to how difficult, how much work and the commitment required to operate a restaurant/bar (My background is in commercial real estate investments). What drove us was our pursuit of quality beer that has been made for centuries in Germany and Belgium. This pursuit of quality eventually led us to the spirits world and gave rise to neat.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been anything but smooth; the path has been filled with obstacles, as in life. There are a lot of impediments that are completely out of your control like rising labor and product costs, ever-increasing rent, and governmental and political changes that make it very difficult for a small operator to thrive especially in California and Los Angeles. Then there are the struggles that are within your control: staffing, training, and offering a quality product on a consistent basis.

The biggest difficulties in the industry have to be the personalities of people we work with, by far. While we all have these attributes, pride, ego, various personal drives, and little idiosyncrasies can truly make or break professional environments. You really have to have an eye for who you’re going to partner up with before you commit or it can lead to years of heartache. For me, I’ve found it to be very similar to the world of romantic relationships: everyone puts on their best at first, but in the end, it’s all going to come out. Many in this industry put on a great front at the start, but in the end, you’re going to see exactly what that all was. Learning to sift through all of the tough experiences to let the great people settle out has been very difficult and is a continuous learning process.

I’ve made countless mistakes and will continue to make them. It’s OK to make mistakes, the key is to learn from them and move forward, by maintaining a positive and eager attitude to do what’s best for the business and instill these values into the people you work with. A master woodworker I know once gave me some great advice: he makes mistakes all of the time, just like everyone else, but it’s how he addresses and fixes his mistakes that sets him apart.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with neat. – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
neat. is a spirits and cocktail bar. We carry a highly curated selection of craft spirits, specializing in high-quality agave spirits (Tequila, Mezcal, Bacanora, Raicilla, Sotol), Scotches, Japanese Whiskies, Bourbons, Rum, and a multitude of others. Most of the brands we carry are craft or smaller production brands that invest their time and resources into producing the best quality product. People won’t recognize 95% of the brands we carry, so we spend a lot of time educating our staff and we love sharing that knowledge with our guests. We travel to the different distilleries around the world to learn about what makes these distilleries so great at what they do. We offer classes and tastings on all of the spirits and their respective categories.

At neat., we pride ourselves on our people, training and ability to provide the best experience and service to our guests. I’m extremely proud of our team here; they’re extremely hard working, have fantastic attitudes, and are the most humble group I’ve had the pleasure of working with. We foster a very educational environment here and our experience has been that the more we learn the more we realize how little we know. We love learning and teaching about great cocktails and spirits here and encourage our guests to join us down the rabbit hole of whatever spirits they enjoy.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our goal is to continue to grow the businesses and help my team grow and mature.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Christina Mia

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