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The Chef's Bar

Houston's most innovative restaurant chef is opening up his own bar in a historic downtown spot

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Pretty Salty Cotton Exchange Justin Yu Vann
Coming soon to the Cotton Exchange, Public Services Wine & Whisky.  Photo by: Eric Sandler
Justin Vann sommelier PSA Wines video still May 2013
Justin Vann will serve as beverage director and co-owner. PSA Wines/YouTube
Oxheart Restaurant diners Justin Yu
Oxheart chef Justin Yu and his wife Karen Man are the other owners. Oxheart will provide snacks.  Photo by © Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Visitors and Convention Bureau
Pretty Salty Cotton Exchange Justin Yu Vann
Justin Vann sommelier PSA Wines video still May 2013
Oxheart Restaurant diners Justin Yu

The rumors are true. Oxheart chef Justin Yu and former Oxheart sommelier Justin Vann are opening a wine and whiskey bar in the former Cotton Exchange space downtown.

Known as Public Services Wine & Whisky, the bar will feature a selection of spirits curated by Vann along with "nontraditional bar snacks" provided by Oxheart. Expect an opening in the early third quarter of 2014.

 The whiskey selection will be "distinctive" and "served with minimal intervention— straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers." 

Gin Braverman, the woman behind Oxheart and Camerata, will design the space, which features 15-foot handpainted ceilings. Sadly, the team reports they're removing the disco ball from the ceiling.

Vann writes that he looks forward to selecting wines "free from the constraints of pairing wine with stupid vegetable driven cuisine" in a bar announcement. He sees it as a outgrowth of his PSA Wines consulting business that's brought better wine to restaurants ranging from Paulie's to Mala Sichuan. Rather than trying to compete with the all conquering variety of places like Reserve 101 and Poison Girl, the whiskey selection will be "distinctive" and "served with minimal intervention— straight, on the rocks, or with a small selection of mixers."

A small selection of craft beer and cider rounds out the drinking options.

Another historic space gets a bar from one of Houston's highest profile duos. The Justins are back. 

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