Fans of Tavernetta will have a difficult choice to make as of December 22: Return to the stylish Italian restaurant on the Union Station platform (the sister concept to Boulder’s award-winning Frasca Food and Wine) or explore Tavernetta’s new little sister, Sunday Vinyl. It’s a tough call because European-style wine bar Sunday Vinyl is unique and fabulous (just like Tavernetta).
Opening to the public on its eponymous day of the week, there’s a lot there to lure in regulars: A sexy, low-lit interior created by local firm Semple Brown Design; an outrageous sound system built around three turntables, McIntosh speakers and preamplifier, and a vinyl-only collection curated by Denver-based Vinyl Me, Please; stunning acoustics to match the playlists; a mostly-French wine list that sparkles under the guidance of wine director Carlin Karr and lead sommelier Clara Klein; a high-low food menu from chef de cuisine Charlie Brooks; and the warm hospitality the Frasca group has been nationally honored for.
The first and second things you’ll notice when you walk through Sunday Vinyl’s doors, located across the alley from Tavernetta, are the sultry interior and the stellar acoustics. Semple Brown has designed a gorgeous restaurant in the long, narrow space (formerly the Local(ish) Market), with a horseshoe-shaped Carrara marble bar; subtle coloring in blush, gold, and charcoal tones; arched banquettes; and unobstructed views of the train platform through a full wall of windows. The firm also worked with the stereo/tech geniuses at Onyx (Tavernetta regulars) to ensure that the acoustics in the space are set to facilitate conversation and optimize vinyl-based stylings across musical genres including East African funk and French pop.
If Klein attends to your table, you’re in for a treat. The affable sommelier is clearly excited about the wine list she and Karr are pouring, calling it a “celebration of Old World and new wave producers, with emphasis on winemakers who take exceptional care of their grapes.” Most of those producers are French, but the Sunday Vinyl cellar also includes innovative artisans from Spain, Chile, Slovenia, and beyond. And there are more than 20 by-the-glass options, including a special wine from Frasca alum Nate Ready’s Smockshop Band label in Hood River, Oregon. For those interested in non-vinous beverages, there’s also a concise line of spirits and exactly two beers: owner Bobby Stuckey’s beloved Anchor Steam amber and a Belgian pale ale from Brasserie d’Achouffe.
As a wine bar inspired by such hip European destinations as Copenhagen and Paris, perched along the tracks at Union Station, Sunday Vinyl’s food menu channels both ends of the culinary spectrum, from snacky to sublime. Put more plainly, there are deviled eggs, flaky crackers inspired by Cheezits, and a juicy sausage burger with fries, but there’s also lobster toast, pâté, and rack of lamb. (It is the team from Frasca, afterall, and Brooks cooked under chef Michael Anthony at New York City’s Gramercy Tavern for five years before coming to Tavernetta.) One piece of advice: Save room for the potentially messy, utterly scrumptious dessert cream puff.
Ask Klein to pair wines with whatever you do order at Sunday Vinyl; she’s got a story for every bottle in the house. She likes Domaine Jean Vullien Champagne with those complimentary cheese crackers; Valdespino fino sherry as a foil to rich anchovy-butter toast; and the biodynamic, “wild,” 2018 Naranjo from Gonzáles Bastías—a rare import to the United States from a winery in Chile that can only be reached by canoe, Klein says—with Brooks’ stand-out roasted carrot salad. She pairs that tasty kewpie-mayo-topped pork burger with a “dark and crunchy” Garnacha blend from Chile’s 4 Monos, made by a group of friends who met hiking in the Sierra de Gredos mountains.
Let the (restaurant) sibling rivalry commence.
Sunday Vinyl opens on December 22, and accepts reservations; Sunday–Thursday, 4 p.m.–midnight, Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m.–1 a.m. 1803 16th Street Mall, 720-738-1803