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Food

Venerating Vendome Liquors

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Beverly Hills Weekly's Tuesday cover story by Susan Monahan profiles Vendome Liquors on Olympic in Beverly Hills. The literary tone of the article, which Monahan wrote in the second person, reminds us of Bright Lights, Big City.

You won't find "Bolivian marching powder" at Vendome Liquors (at least we don't think so but some BH households are still stuck in the '80s), but it does offer all the other beloved vices: an extensive selection of kosher wines, a deli, a humidor, gourmet gift-baskets, wine-tasting classes and a tippler's history of Beverly Hills.

Vendome staffer Bill Shapiro informs Monahan, “We catered to the Hollywood set,” he said of the smaller storefront. “Alfred Hitchcock was a big client, and I remember us tracking down vintage Bordeaux wines for him. He’d buy cases and periodically, he’d give out bottles as gifts to the guys who worked there.”

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Shapiro’s memory of those days is sharp. “[The late actor] Laurence Harvey was another regular customer. He was British [raised in South Africa] and he loved his wines from England. Whites. He’d go climbing around in our store room up on boxes and bottles to find the one he wanted. It made me nervous.” Fred Astaire and Jimmy Stewart shopped at Vendome as well, according to Shapiro.

If you are in the entertainment industry, that pricey wine the agency just sent over probably came from Vendome. Another employee, Norman Figatnez, says, “All the assistants at the agencies seem to come through us to do their holiday shopping. It can be a tough job not confusing orders to the same company. Imagine if one employee gets a pricier bottle than the guy working next to him.”

Unequal treatment in Hollywood, imagine that.