Welcoming guests with a boastful umbrella-lined outdoor patio, the recently opened Postino, a new 5,200 square foot “WineCafe” at Park Place in Irvine looks as desirable from the outside as it does from inside.
With the opening of her first location in California, Postino Co-Founder Lauren Bailey explained to Irvine Weekly the “WineCafe” has expanded out of Arizona, and is designed to accommodate casual meetings with friends, dinner dates, or simply a quiet place to work and enjoy a glass of wine.
“Postino prides itself on providing a space for all people to connect over wine, with selections designed for a range of gatherings, from special to casual everyday dining, plus an all-day menu that satisfies any craving,” she said. “Today, we introduce to Irvine a wine bar that doesn’t have to be stuffy — because at Postino, we’re always playful, curious, and open-minded. I think the reason we didn’t call it a ‘wine bar’ was because we wanted people to know we had a really great food menu.”
In terms of offerings, Bailey explained that Postino’s wine collections are inspired by local varietals specific to each region. If you go, Bailey recommends not overlooking the bruschetta, a longtime bestseller which offers mozzarella, tomato, basil, burrata, bacon, arugula, salmon and pesto.
In Irvine, Postino guests can take advantage of daily offerings that include a “$6 ‘til 5pm” by-the-glass wine and beer list and “$25 Bottle & Board.”
Postino also offers a weekend brunch, with unique dishes like the Umbria Egg Toast, which is made with scrambled egg with crèma and white truffle, featuring crispy oyster mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano atop a toasted ciabatta.
With more than 20 locations outside of California, Postino has enthralled wine-lovers with a robust selection of local-first varietals, made possible with the help of an in-house advanced sommelier, Brent Karlicek.
Speaking with Irvine Weekly by phone, Bailey explained that variety is a very important aspect of the offerings at Postino. Bailey explained that in order to deliver quality wine at an affordable price, Karlicek remains extremely selective in choosing wine for Postino.
“We are very lucky to work with a very special wine person in our company — Brent, our in-house sommelier, he selects all of these wines,” she explained. “He works with wine makers all over the world to bring wines to Postino — that you only get there.”
The inspiration behind the design for each location is carefully selected, and Bailey points out that Postino locations do not share the same design. However, one aspect of design shared across all locations is a curated art wall. Bailey added that the art wall at Postino’s Park Place location was inspired by the boombox craze of the 1980s and 1990s.
“We do a unique art wall in each restaurant – you’ll know you’re in a Postino, but each one is different and that’s very intentional. You’ll see a lot of vintage furniture, antiques — we don’t have any of the same art in any of the restaurants,” she said. “We have a lot of vintage light fixtures that we collect, and actually have an employee whose job it is to procure vintage items and manage the mural artists, and all the art wall installations.”
Unique to Postino is a subscription-based wine club, affectionately known as the Postino Wine Cult. In presenting the WineCult to the Postino fan base, Bailey explained that the format for the subscription-based service was a silver lining that came out of the pandemic.
“It’s a relatively new offering that we have, it’s only about a year old — it’s called the WineCult. It really was galvanized for us primarily over COVID how much people wanted to take our wine home. Before COVID we would sell a little bit of wine but not a ton,” she said. “We had the right licenses to sell wine to-go, but we never put a lot of intention behind it, and that’s just one of the great things that came out of COVID was being about to develop this program for people to get really great, high quality wine at a great price that you can drink at home.”
Postino at Park Place is located at 2981 Michelson Dr, Ste. E, Irvine.
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