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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — An institution in the Boulder community, The Sink, is celebrating 100 years.

The Sink has molded itself into a legendary establishment featured on multiple television shows and has had visitors like former President Barack Obama.

Back in 1923, originally a fine foods restaurant called the Sunken Garden. It’s safe to say The Sink has adapted over the years to fit its college town surroundings.

The Sink is many things to people, a funky, eclectic, no-frills spot on the corner of 13th Street. It’s embedded with names on the ceiling of those who have passed through, marking milestones for many.

“First time I was here was 51 years ago, and I met my wife here,” said Paul Hamilton, one of those with memories to last from the establishment. “She was at a Sunday morning breakfast and beer, and boy was it wild.”

President Barack Obama greets people at The Sink, a small dim interior with art and writing all over the walls and ceiling
President Barack Obama greets people at The Sink Restaurant and Bar, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Sink turns 100: Reviving history

Partners Chris Heinritz and Tell Jones felt it was only fitting to revive a tradition from the earlier days — the “Friday Afternoon Club,” or FAC, to celebrate 100.

“It was an event back in the ’60s and ’70s, and this place would just be inundated with college kids after the week of school and just letting go for the weekend. We thought it would be a great thing to bring back for the 100-year anniversary.” Herinritz said.

At its start, guests would rent formal wear before hitting The Sink for brews and live music. Although less formal now, the beers and music were easily revived.

“Today (Friday) and the last Friday of every month from 3-5, we’ll have free live music, live bands here. We’ll also be doing the original Sink burger and a 1923 beer that’s brewed by Avery specifically for our 100-year anniversary,” Jones said.

Building community at The Sink

Its history is rich past FAC. Originally, it was called Somer’s Sunken Gardens and was a European-style restaurant.

There was a sunken fountain in the middle of the restaurant. It became a staple and was nicknamed “The Sink,” and years later, it became the official name.

One thing you may notice about The Sink is the funky and unique artwork on every surface of the walls. On The Sink’s website, it explains the story behind that.

“Early on, the twisted talents of beatnik artists Mike Dormier and Llloyd Kavich (spelled with three Ls just for the L of it), produced the unique and timeless artwork that characterizes The Sink. The trademark Sink Angel, sent off to university, represents those who are ‘pure of mind and clean of body,’ and then ‘transformed’ by university life (and The Sink!) into a ‘worldly’ soul (The Sink Devil). The Sink Angel and Devil have been watching over The Sink and its patrons ever since,” according to The Sink.

All of this is to create that lasting feeling that you’re part of something special.

“Being that vessel of memories for people and into the future is what we’re striving for,” Jones said.

“We want to create a memorable experience that keeps us alive for another 100 years, so we can affect the next generation and the generation after that and the generation after that,” Heinritz said.