Upon walking to the new Postino at 805 Pacific St. in Montrose, you may think, "Well, it's a Postino." Its sign is the same, and there's a substantial patio that'll surely be full of folks sipping and noshing during happy hours, weekend afternoons, and late at night.
But like all the other Postinos in the country (it originated in Arizona), there is a story behind the building where the wine is served.
In Montrose, that story is about the Montrose Mining Company, which was the oldest gay bar in the city, operating from 1978 to 2016. Before it was the Montrose Mining Company, it was Uncle Charlie's, Pacific Street Station, and the Tattooed Lady, and it was a safe haven for Houstonians not welcomed by everyone during those times.
"It's so special to us to be able to be in this space where amazing things happened," said Lauren Bailey, co-founder and CEO of Upward Projects, which owns and operates Postino. "These guys were having pride parades—they were creating a sense of place for people to come and be able to meet other people in their community that they felt safe in."
The new Postino pays tribute to that history in a few ways, most notably a wall of posters, newspaper advertisements, and photographs primarily from the Uncle Charlie's and Montrose Mining Company days. The material was taken from this website, which chronicles the life of the Mining Company property. Anyone new to the Montrose Postino should take a few moments to look over the wall.
Out in that patio is a fresh way to look at the past, present, and future: a vivid mural by artist Jacquie Comrie called "Love. Period." And the sign in front of the wine bar and restaurant reads "Montrose," in typography reminiscent of the old Tattooed Lady front door sign. These reminders blend in effortlessly with the Postino look—boho-industrial chic with an emphasis on found vintage furniture. There's a living room lounge setup by the patio door, plus antique desks and lamps placed expertly about the space.
Advanced sommelier Brent Karlicek, beverage director for Upward Projects, maintains the Postino emphasis on a mix of tough-to-nab and affordable Old World wines, adding in just a little bit of New World funk when it makes sense for them. And yes, guests can find those ever-popular $5 by-the-glass wines in Montrose.
Complementing that is the Postino menu, which is the same at all locations but has a few added menu items with this new Montrose location. The best bite is the irresistible sweet potato wedges—a perfect wine pairing—that come with a bright and tingly Calabrian chile tahini aioli. And look for roasted cauliflower in a lightly earthy romesco sauce, and tuna tartare with cucumber and salsa verde made to be spread across crunchy slices of baguette.
The space feels like Postino, and the wine and food tastes like Postino, but you can't help but think about the importance of the property, the courage and community that was forged within the walls of the old building.
That was on Bailey's mind from the moment she learned that she could buy the old Montrose Mining Company. While Postino signals a change in some ways to the ever-evolving Montrose landscape, bringing wine and tapas to a historic landmark, it keeps its eyes on the past. And maybe it'll do just fine.
"I had one person come by last night and told me 'I wanted to hate you guys,'" said Bailey. "And he said 'I don't. I really love what you did. This is meaningful for us.' And we have to earn it; it's on us. We have to earn it every day."