When Postino Wine Cafe opened on Pearl Street in late March, it was spring break. Many locals and college students had traveled out of town, resulting in a challenging first week in town for the new restaurant.
But ever since, Postino’s Boulder location has been bustling. Customers often fill the outside patio when the sun is out. The volume of patrons inside isn’t much different, according to Chad Halbrook, manager at Postino’s Boulder restaurant.
“Business has been building more and more every week,” he said. During Postino’s inaugural week, Halbrook estimated the restaurant sold around $60,000 worth of food and drinks.
“This past week, we did $93,000,” he told Boulder Reporting Lab during the second week in May.
With nearly 40 restaurants lining Pearl Street, local and visiting diners have an abundance of options when it comes to eating out downtown. But Postino — with its relatively affordable prices, outdoor patio and eclectic interior that together try to cater to multiple demographics — seems to be filling a void in Boulder’s hangout scene.
Postino offers $6 glasses of wine and beer pitchers every day until 5 p.m. It has a $25 deal for a bottle of wine and bruschetta board on Mondays and Tuesdays after 8 p.m. At weekend brunch, mimosas and bellinis cost $6.
“The menu is something that was needed on Pearl Street, when it comes to approachable, shareable food and drinks that are not overly expensive,” Halbrook said. These deals, he added, attract a range of Boulderites looking for more affordable options downtown.
College students and younger people tend to frequent Postino on Monday and Tuesday nights, Halbrook said. And while tourists wandering Pearl Street also pop in to Postino, the wine spot was designed as a neighborhood watering hole for locals who will keep coming back.
“We’re offering a unique wine experience for the townies,” Halbrook said. “We are that neighborhood bar that you can go to and have a couple pints with your friends. We are the place that you can go with your family or your significant other on a date.”
But Postino is not entirely local. Opening as a single restaurant in an historic Arizona post office in 2001, Postino Wine Cafe is part of a chain in the Southwestern U.S. Each of Postino’s 23 locations include neighborhood-specific decor, however, as an ode to the locals.
Postino came to Colorado in 2015, settling inside the former Denver Bookbinding Company building in LoHi. The restaurant pays homage to its previous inhabitant with a large wall decorated with books.
Postino on Pearl Street features a 300-square-foot wall of recycled roller skates. The skates are a nod to the scene in “Mork & Mindy” where Robin Williams races down the Pearl Street Mall. A photo of the actor also hangs above the bar. If you look at it from the right angle, a halo appears over his head.
‘Something that was needed in Boulder’
Perhaps not surprisingly, wine is one of the restaurant’s best sellers. Brent Karlicek, Postino’s national beverage director, chooses around 30 rotating varieties for each state’s locations.
Outside of happy hour, Postino wine usually runs $11 a glass and typically no more than $50 a bottle.
“It’s not something where you have to be willing to spend $150 to get a good bottle of wine to share with friends,” Halbrook said of Postino’s wine list. “I think that was something that was needed in Boulder.”
In the evening, the restaurant fills with groups splitting appetizers, like the bruschetta boards or a salad, and a bottle of wine, Halbrook said. Lunch time often consists of people on Pearl Street stopping in for a panini or those at a business meeting sharing a bite.
“Our lunches and brunches at this location are higher than our other locations in Colorado,” Halbrook said of the state’s four other Postinos. He sees potential for increased sales as the weather warms up Boulder and the restaurant seats more customers on the patio.
Though other Postino locations have outdoor seating, the Boulder spot was designed with sliding glass doors and windows that, when opened, aim to bring the outside in. “It feels like the entire restaurant becomes a patio,” Halbrook said.
The wine bar already boasts a slew of regulars who frequent the restaurant two or three times a week. Its staff knows their names and stories.
“For me, that’s the reason I’m in the hospitality industry,” Halbrook said, “to build those connections that go deeper than just a business transaction.”
Postino Wine Cafe is located at 1468 Pearl Street, Suite 110, Boulder. Open seven days a week.