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  • Writer's pictureZachary Epps

The Sink is an iconic restaurant on "The Hill" in Boulder


The Sink is an iconic restaurant on "The Hill" in Boulder

The Sink restaurant on "The Hill" has a rich and storied history that dates back to the early 20th century. The restaurant has become a beloved institution in Boulder, known for its unique blend of food, drink, and culture.


The story of The Sink begins in 1923 when it was originally established as a soda fountain and ice cream shop. It was a popular gathering place for University of Colorado students, who would congregate at the counter to enjoy ice cream sodas and other sweet treats. The business changed hands a few times in its early years, but it maintained its reputation as a favorite student hangout.


In 1947, a man named Herbert "Herb" Kauvar purchased The Sink. Herb was a charismatic and eccentric character who infused the restaurant with his personality. He added the iconic mural, featuring caricatures of famous patrons, which still graces the walls today. Herb Kauvar's approach to running The Sink was unconventional but undeniably successful. He allowed patrons to decorate the ceiling tiles with their own drawings and messages, and this tradition continues to this day.

The Sink's popularity continued to grow over the years, thanks in part to its unique ambiance and affordable, delicious food. The menu included a variety of burgers, pizza, and other comfort food, which further cemented its status as a local favorite.

One of the most famous events in The Sink's history occurred in 1962 when Robert Redford and Hunter S. Thompson frequented the establishment while working at the nearby Aspen Times. Their association with The Sink added to its allure and contributed to its reputation as a gathering place for counterculture figures and free spirits.

Over the years, The Sink went through several renovations and expansions, all while maintaining its quirky, bohemian charm. It became known for hosting live music, art shows, and other cultural events, turning it into a hub of creativity in Boulder.

The Sink's legacy was further solidified when it was featured in numerous films, television shows, and books. Its popularity among the locals, students, and tourists has remained steadfast, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of Boulder's unique culture.

In 2014, the restaurant underwent a major renovation but managed to preserve its historic atmosphere. The Sink continues to be a cherished institution in Boulder, attracting a diverse crowd of patrons who come for the food, the drinks, the history, and the vibrant spirit of this iconic establishment.

In summary, The Sink in Boulder, Colorado, has a history dating back to the 1920s and has evolved into a cultural landmark that's beloved by locals and visitors alike. With its mix of good food, quirky decor, and a rich history intertwined with pop culture, The Sink remains an enduring symbol of Boulder's unique and vibrant identity.

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