Postino's sunny, casual, comfortable wine-bar aesthetic fits in as perfectly in Denver as it does in Phoenix, where the company was founded in 2001. So after bringing Postino to LoHi in 2015, co-founder Lauren Bailey says she and her business partner, Craig DeMarco, knew they wanted to expand into more of the city. Today (October 29, 2019), that vision comes to life, as Postino WineCafe opens at 145 Broadway.
Upward Projects, the restaurant group that operates Postino (as well as several other concepts), is fond of renovating old buildings. The original wine bar in Phoenix made its home in a historic post office, and the LoHi location landed in part of a building that was once a bookbinding business. The new Broadway outpost takes over a building that was originally constructed in 1895, served as the Purity Creamery in the mid-twentieth century, and also housed Compound Basix, a gay bar that lasted for more than 25 years before closing in 2018.
Bailey points out that the interior was stripped back to bare brick, and windows facing Broadway were restored to bring the space back to its original appearance. She says that the intent was to save the wood floors, but when that wasn't possible, dark penny tile was added for its retro appearance, something that runs through Postino's vibe at all of its locations.
At the LoHi Postino, Bailey personally installed a wall of books, with layer upon layer of book spines creating an artistic pattern around the kitchen pass-through window. At the new Postino, she used concert handbills from San Francisco's psychedelic era to wallpaper the entire wall between the dining room and kitchen. While little is left to remind guests of the bar's previous life as Compound Basix, an antique vault was hauled up from the basement and now sits in the front window as part of a lounge area that also includes mid-century modern couches and coffee tables.
Xan Creative designed the 3,900-square-foot space, which encompasses a dining area with tables, a leather banquette and spacious booths; a back bar with high-tops and wine displays; and a back patio with a fireplace and garage windows with additional bar seating. Glass chandeliers and other distinctive light fixtures add to the mood once the sun goes down.
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Postino's wine-friendly nibbles are much the same here as at the LoHi location: bruschetta with myriad toppings cut into quarters for easy sharing, panini, soups, salads and charcuterie boards. Brent Karlicek, beverage director for the entire Postino group, says that the wine menu at each location differs just slightly while still offering many exclusive labels he brokers with wine producers all around the world. "Our goal is balancing the approachable with the exceptional," he explains. Karlicek is currently visiting Greece, where he's looking into some uncommon wines to add to the roster.
With two Denver locations now up and running, Bailey says she'll be turning her attention toward the third, slated to open next year at the 9th + CO development at Colorado Boulevard and East Ninth Avenue. Unlike Broadway and LoHi, this will be located in a new building.
Postino Broadway is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Those early weekend hours, of course, are reserved for brunch, which runs until 1 p.m. both days, with $5 mimosas and bellinis. And, as at all the other locations, happy hour runs from opening until 5 p.m., when you can score $5 glasses of wine and pitchers of beer.