Denver’s coolest new restaurant of 2019 is finally here — just a few days before the year ends

If, like me, you’ve been waiting all of 2019 for that knock-your-socks-off new restaurant, it’s finally opening on Dec. 22.

No surprise here that Sunday Vinyl, a record-spinning wine bar and dinner spot, comes to the platform at Denver Union Station from the owners of Tavernetta next door, as well as Frasca Food & Wine and Pizzeria Locale in Boulder.

This latest addition to the Italian family of restaurants is, surprisingly, not Italian at all. It feels more art deco and grand European. The room, designed by Denver design firm Semple Brown, is lined with arched drinking and dining booths that double as listening nooks. Blush pink walls and black and white marble fill the space.

Aside from large picture-window views of incoming and departing trains, the focal points here are clear: a glowing McIntosh turntable at one end and a massive Sonus Faber stereo system at the other.

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Curtis Landrum, general manager of Sunday Vinyl, changes the record on the turntable at the bar on Tuesday, Dec. 17. The new wine bar is set to open at Union Station on Sunday.

While this particular grouping of words doesn’t exactly turn me on, audiophiles will be blown away by the acoustics at Sunday Vinyl, and even casual listeners will likely be impressed. When I arrived during a pre-opening staff training, I quickly spotted a first-pressing of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors.” Swoon.

Over the course of a meal, the restaurant’s soundtrack progressed by region and genre, sort of like a wine list, from France to Brazil, jazz to bossa nova and beyond. Sunday Vinyl is working with Denver record club Vinyl Me, Please to curate its playlist.

“My goal is for guests to unplug from the digital world and plug back into the analog world,” said Justin Williams, the restaurant’s director of operations. The concept is one that’s been picking up in bigger U.S. cities, and also in Japan, where Tokyo has become known for its hidden record bars.

Mousse Fils MV, Branc de Noirs ...

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Mousse Fils MV, Blanc de Noirs Champagne with porcini toast on Dec. 17 at Sunday Vinyl.

Originally, the idea here for a wine bar, restaurant and listening room stemmed from co-owner Bobby Stuckey’s weekend tradition of listening to vinyl while drinking wine at home with his wife, Danette. Stuckey, along with business partners Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and Peter Hoglund, also yearned for the type of wine bar they would frequent when visiting Europe.

“For some reason, a lot of wine bars in the U.S. have been afraid to commit to a (full dinner) menu,” Stuckey said.

Sunday Vinyl is largely run by the next generation of Frasca and Tavernetta alumni, and it feels younger than those predecessors right off the bat.

When head sommelier Clara Klein serves you a wine, for example, she might describe it casually as a “sleek nighttime” French rosé, with lavender notes and herbes de Provence (Terrebrune Bandol Rose, $18 per glass), or a “new-guard” Spanish Godello with a “sunny richness” and saline at the end (Guimaro Blanco, $14 per glass).