Gone are the barrels of peanuts, $1 vodkas, and near-naked, uninhibited go-go boys. All that’s left is the shell of what used to be one of Houston’s hottest gay cruise bars, The Montrose Mining Company.
Opened in the 1970’s, TMC would be packed to the rafters on most nights, and especially on Sundays for the beer bust and trash disco. Changing times, shifting attitudes, and years of neglect brought about the end of the 805 Pacific Street staple, and it shuttered in 2016.
In its place comes Postino, slated to open by late summer. Postino Wine Café will be looking to build on the legacy that has been left in the building by TMC as well as previous gay bars that occupied 805 Pacific Street. (Those bars include The Tattooed Lady, Pacific Street Station, and Uncle Charlie’s, according to JD Doyle at HoustonLGBTHistory.org.)
Postino founder Lauren Bailey said, “Walking into the old Montrose Mining Company — such a storied space that’s been a neighborhood gathering space since the 1970’s – gave us goosebumps. Something just felt right, and we’re thrilled to honor its historic legacy, the neighborhood, and the people who have come before us.”
Montrose Mining Company’s closure not only provided Postino with an ideal central location, but also with the type of rich history and revitalization opportunity which they have gravitated toward since its inception in 2001. The wine café is “over the moon to be opening its doors within the Montrose neighborhood — a community of eclectic businesses and restaurants that we feel privileged to become a part of,” said Brittany Baldwin, director of marketing at Upward Projects. “Every Postino location is different, adorned with unique vintage decor, found objects and artwork. Postino Heights features a wall made of reclaimed skateboards, but Montrose will have one of an entirely different nature, which is to be determined but some exciting ideas are in the hopper!”
It’s bittersweet watching what was The Montrose Mining Company being dissected, piece-by-piece, brick-by-brick. The end came as a shock but probably shouldn’t have surprised anyone. The Mine’s proprietor Charles Armstrong announced the closure via a Facebook post on September 8, 2016. In the post he cited, “with the changing times we recognize the concept is gone; times have changed.”
Remodeling and reconstruction is proceeding at a fast clip as the location prepares for its transformation into Postino Wine Café. The large covered patio, where many cheap cocktails were consumed while leaning over the too-high fence, people-watching, is gone. New sidewalks and curbs and gutters are being installed as well as a new exterior. The interior is completely gutted to make way for a new Montrose experience that includes a diverse menu of food like meat and cheese boards, a selection of bruschetta, salads, and Panini as well as $5 glasses of wine.
This will be the second Houston location for the Phoenix, Arizona-based company. Knowing that Postino Montrose knows and appreciates the history and significance of the area makes them a welcome addition.