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Old World Charm: Long-Awaited Neighborhood Bar Pastiche Bringing European Flair to San Antonio's East Side


Pastiche’s Benjamin Krick takes a break in the bar’s backyard, which will be open for tastings and other events. - LEA THOMPSON
  • Lea Thompson
  • Pastiche’s Benjamin Krick takes a break in the bar’s backyard, which will be open for tastings and other events.
Soon-to-open neighborhood bar Pastiche’s name is inspired by the French term for creations that borrow or imitate past works. But its owners aren’t looking to replicate anything already done in San Antonio.

Pastiche Manager and Partner Benjamin Krick, the barman behind downtown craft-cocktail bar Jet-Setter, has taken Old World inspiration from European drinking spots to create a unique space with drinks, bites and a relaxed and quirky style. The spot — located near landmarks such as St. Paul’s Square and Tucker’s — is expected to open in late August.

Plenty of bars and restaurants have gone into the revitalized East Side recently, but none with quite the twist Pastiche hopes to bring to the area.

A former cottage, Pastiche is filled with a mix of refined and quirky features including plush and inviting armchairs, a vintage wall-sized Swatch timepiece and stacks of hardcover books Krick found when he opened Jet-Setter.

The small bar also includes an open-faced refrigeration case for champagnes, ciders and wines, while a second case holds European wines and spirits such as cognacs, absinthes and brandies. With a price-point similar to Jet-Setter, Pastiche will serve premium cocktails for about $10 each plus hot organic teas from Blüm and small bites from local French bakery La Boulangerie.

“The idea is to replicate what you’d find in Old World Europe. It feels like you’ve stumbled into someone’s house,” Krick said. “But the idea for Pastiche has been years in the making.”

Pastiche investors Jean-Luc Mette and his wife Lindsey were living in Dignowity Hill when they discovered the building and saw its potential. German-born Mette and his brother Maxim grew up in different parts of the world, but the idea for a shared passion project in San Antonio brought them together.

The Mettes purchased the space in 2016 and approached the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association to discuss rezoning the former residence. The Current reached out to members of the association but didn’t hear back by press time.

“They were on board right away,” Jean-Luc Mette said. “The building had been vacant for years, and the small house didn’t fit in with the rest of the businesses that were opening on Houston Street.”

Then plans changed. Immigration officials denied Maxim Mette’s visa application, and Jean-Luc and his wife decided to relocate to St. Paul, Minnesota, to be closer to family and raise their two young children.

Jean-Luc Mette approached Krick, then bar manager of downtown craft-cocktail outpost Juniper Tar, about joining the project. After learning about Krick’s shared passions for great wine and food, sustainability and some of the same bars in cities like Hamburg and Budapest, he realized he’d found the ideal hands-on partner.

When Juniper Tar closed in 2018, Krick took the lead on the East Side project.
The Mettes were saddened to move away from the city, but as Pastiche’s investors and building owners, they’re looking forward to having an excuse to visit San Antonio, Jean-Luc Mette said.

“San Antonio has a really special place in both of our hearts. The city is a cool mix of the old and new,” he added. “I really think the business is going to fit well in an existing neighborhood with a fabric that is changing so dramatically.”

The East Side, home to San Antonio’s first African American neighborhoods, suffered from years of divestment before new development spread east from downtown. Though Pastiche was expected to open in 2018, a slew of ever-changing city permit requirements forced Krick to take another year before opening.

“I’ve been ready to open Pastiche for a while, but it makes sense that we’ve had to wait,” he said, adding that he’s stayed in contact with neighbors throughout the process. “I’m not a native, so the last thing I want to do is show up to a historic neighborhood and just announce ‘I’m here.’”

Krick hopes to make Pastiche a place for people to learn, connect and support the creative community. Aside from the bar and sitting areas, the location features a small working kitchen and a separate room to showcase work by local artists. The space will host up to four artists a year, providing 68 days for each to install, exhibit and sell work.

Pastiche’s backyard fence is lined with found residential doors, which will remain part of the decor. Krick will soon add string lights and outdoor seating to allow for special tastings and events with a view of the city.

As he did with Jet-Setter, Krick will take a zero-waste approach to Pastiche’s daily operations. The bar will wash linens on-site rather than send them out, squeeze fresh citrus as needed and work with San Antonio-based green business the Compost Queens to turn its organic trash into nutrient-rich compost for local farms and gardens.

Krick has ambitious plans for the new space, but at the end of the day, Pastiche is uncharted territory both for him and for San Antonio.

“There’s no way to say what’s going to happen here; I’m just going to keep listening,” he said. “Like most good things, we have to start small and let it build.”

1506 E. Houston St.

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