Peccavi's future has been a blur since the tragic murder of owner Al Barretto seven days after the semi-exclusive establishment opened its doors in late 1997. The successful nightclub entrepreneur was stabbed to death December 18 of last year while escorting an unruly customer out of Crystal, another of his six Houston nightspots, which cater to a largely Hispanic crowd.

Now, Barretto's sister, Patty, is overseeing her brother's posh party franchise, of which Peccavi -- located on Norfolk in the club formerly known as Revere -- is only a part. "I don't really know all of his friends," says Barretto. "But I am trying to go with the same thing he was doing."

But because Barretto is not nearly as well-connected in the business as her brother was, it hasn't been easy keeping the new nightclub afloat; Peccavi relies on pricey VIP memberships of up to $3,000 a year as its prime source of income. Mostly, she's been renting out the space for private parties, although the place is technically still open to the public Wednesday to Saturday. Barretto is hoping her decision to revive the once-popular "Revere a Go-Go" Thursdays, starting May 21, will raise awareness of the club and help bring in patrons.

Meanwhile, Peccavi continues to tread water ... quietly and with class.

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Hobart Rowland