We had the good fortune of connecting with Wen Yeh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wen, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
People on the outside usually fantasize about how much fun it is to work at/own/manage, a bar but they have no clue as to how much hard work, discipline, perseverance and self awareness it takes to keep the business fun and interesting AND afloat. Ironically, this lack of awareness actually also applies to many within our industry as well and that ignorance permeates to the public so the public tends to have a negative association with our industry about being lazy, lackadaisical and superficial.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
neat. is about enjoying your experience with others through emotional connections, whether it’s your love, friends, family, a date, anyone. Our focus is on providing the customer with the experience they’re looking for by asking thoughtful and empathetic questions through clear communication and education. We carry a highly curated and eclectic selection of spirits focused entirely on the highest quality and transparency. We specialize and offer master->beginner (private is optional) classes/tastings on Agave Spirits (Tequila, Mezcal, Bacanora, Raicilla, etc), Bourbon, Scotch, Rye, Rum). . All of us here are students of life and spirits; we enjoy educating and being educated; our mantra is the more we learn the more we realize how little we know. Be Curious! Nothing worthwhile or valuable comes easily. I got into this industry late in my life and made a lot of mistakes, so many that I didn’t’ think I could make any more, alas, I was mistaken about that too. haha! Learning that mistakes are inevitable and figuring out how to course correct is crucial to survival in the business world and especially in life. Learn from these mistakes (and other people’s) and laugh at yourself along the way, don’t take yourself too seriously. Be kind, be generous and HAVE FUN. As our GM says: take your pleasure seriously.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Depending on where they’re visiting from, dining is a must in LA; LA has arguably the most diverse and authentic cuisines in the whole country. Outside of visiting the respective countries, the ethnic foods here are as close to authentic as you can get. Expose them to people of all walks of life and have a fun and open conversation on whatever interests them, generally, it’s something out of their comfort zone. Most people say they don’t like being out of their comfort zone, myself included, but the most fun I’ve had is always when I’ve been forcefully pushed out of that zone by my friends. That being said, favorite areas: -Koreatown; karaoke, bbq, soju, very diverse background of people who enjoy these same things. What else do you need? -San Gabriel Valley: All varieties of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican food. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, it’s the company you’re with and how you’re spending your time connecting with each other; everything else is background noise.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My friends and family who supported and invested in me, especially the Board of Directors group; they’re what kept my dumbass in check and made everything work. The entire team: barbacks, bartenders, servers, managers. Each team member plays a critical role in the business; this is comparable to an exotic, high performance sports car; there’s nothing glamorous about the individual pieces of the car, but when you put them together and they all work in unison, then you have a beautifully built and super performing sports car. There’s nothing glamorous about cleaning, being a great listener, wiping glassware, empathizing with guests, prepping garnishes, dealing with everyone else’s bs, and the dozens of other mundane responsibilities; but when we are working in unison, checking our baggage at the door, the product and experience we offer our guests is exciting and glamorous; this is what keeps our guests coming back over and over again.