Denver restaurateurs have a strong legacy of transforming storied historic buildings into beautiful dining destinations, from Stanley Marketplace and the Source to the Edible Beats group’s Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox and Linger. The newest addition to the Mile High City’s family of revitalized spaces is no exception: The second Denver location of Postino Winecafé opened today at 145 North Broadway, the former address of one of the city’s oldest gay bars, Compound Basix.
Constructed in 1895, the building has been home to multiple businesses, including Purity Creamery Co. from the early 1940s to the late 1960s and then a series of bars; Compound Basix ended its 25-year run in the 3,885-square-foot space last year. Before the Postino team discovered the property about 18 month ago, it was in danger of being torn down and replaced by a high-rise. “It’s a really special building and we’re blessed to be able to restore it,” says Lauren Bailey, co-founder and CEO of Upward Projects, a company dedicated to opening restaurants in historically significant structures.
Bailey calls the project a “huge labor of love,” as the spot on Broadway is the oldest her team has adapted. They restored the original brick walls and street-facing windows, which were covered up at some point during the building’s lifetime; replaced the unstable floor (there was hole that extended all the way to the basement); and added a sprawling patio with a fireplace.
The restaurant is decorated with eclectic touches, a nod to the funky vibes of the nearby Baker neighborhood. Guests are greeted at the front entrance by a kaleidoscopic Murano glass chandelier hanging above a lounge set with bright orange couches, and a 300-square-foot art installation made from hundreds of 1960s and ’70s concert posters fills an entire wall in the dining room, honoring the bar’s musical history (Compound Basix had a stage for live music). “We want people to know it’s old,” says Bailey, an avid vintage forager who sourced the posters from her own collection.
The LoHi and Broadway Postino outposts have the same menu, meaning fans of the wine bar’s 12 kinds of bruschetta, shareable tapas boards, and beverage program featuring over 30 by-the-glass options will feel right at home. Brent Karlicek, Upward Projects’ beverage director, encourages patrons to check out the proprietary wines—selections he works with winemakers around the world to create exclusively for the brand. Order the classic bruschetta board ($15 for four selections) to go with the Holly’s Way chardonnay, which pairs well with the brie, apple, and fig spread toast. Or, for something heartier, try a panini, such as the grilled chicken and mozzarella with spicy sun-dried tomato aioli ($11), which is excellent with a glass of Antioch zinfandel ($5 during happy hour).
Arizona-based Upward Projects established the first Postino in a vacant 1940s Phoenix post office in 2001; “postino” means “postman” in Italian. There are now 14 locations—all situated in reused structures—across Arizona, Texas, and Colorado, and Postino LoHi, known for its literary-focused decor, occupies the former home of Denver Bookbinding Co.
If you go: Postino Broadway is open Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday 11–12 a.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.–12 a.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m.–10 p.m. 124 N. Broadway, 303-351-7000