It’s hard to believe The Sink turns 100 this year. This iconic restaurant on The Hill first opened its doors in 1923 and has been going strong ever since.
The beloved Boulder establishment has been celebrating all year long — with monthly Friday Afternoon Clubs, a movie premiere at the Boulder Theater, a block party and even a spotlight on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
But the festivities are far from over.
Now, in collaboration with Savor Productions, The Sink is unveiling a new exhibit at the Museum of Boulder that explores the last 100 years of its history.
Titled “The Sink: The Rest[aurant] is history,” the exhibit is an immersive experience full of art, music, film and more. It incorporates news clippings, photographs, old menus and other artifacts to explore The Sink through the decades.
READ MORE: Celebrating 100 Years of The Sink
The building that now houses the restaurant started its life in 1908 as a frat house with a stone tower and a big front porch. Then, in 1923, the Somer and Simon families purchased the structure, added a room onto the front and opened “Somer’s Sunken Gardens.” Diners began referring to the eatery as “The Sink” because it had a prominent sunken fountain in the middle of the dining room. From there, it changed hands – and names — over the years, but always remained a popular spot. It also provided much-needed jobs to CU Boulder students, including, of course, Robert Redford.
Though a lot has changed since The Sink first opened a century ago, the restaurant has never stopped being a community gathering place for CU students, Boulder residents, visitors and everyone in between.
If The Sink’s walls could talk, they’d have a lot of stories to tell, that’s for sure. And that’s the whole point of the Museum of Boulder exhibit and the 100th anniversary festivities more broadly.
“The emotional attachment is what’s most unique about The Sink,” says co-owner Mark Heinritz. “It doesn’t really belong to the Heinritz brothers and Tell Jones. It belongs to everyone in Boulder. We just have the honor of keeping it going.”
If you have a personal connection to The Sink or a particular story to share, the restaurant is still collecting anecdotes from fans and you can submit yours online.
In addition to the exhibit, you can also help The Sink celebrate by visiting the restaurant and having a bite to eat or drink. Be sure to order 1923, a special beer that Avery Brewing created specifically in honor of the restaurant’s 100th anniversary. It’s a “crisp, hoppy and refreshing” American Pale Ale with 5.7% ABV, according to the menu.
The exhibit opened Aug. 25 and will be on view through Jan. 14, so start making plans now to go see it. It’s located in the Lodge Gallery and is included with the price of general admission for the museum ($10 for adults, $8 for seniors, college students and youth ages 5-17, free for kids under 5 and members).
If you visit the museum on a Sunday afternoon, you will also have an opportunity to view a documentary about the last 100 years at The Sink. Check the museum’s event calendar for all the dates and details.
While you’re there, you can also check out the museum’s ongoing exhibits, including the Boulder Experience Gallery, the Playzeum and the Google Garage.
Also be sure to mark your calendar for “Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History,” which opens Sept. 29 and runs through September 2025 at the Musem of Boulder. This very special exhibit was created in collaboration with Adrian Miller, the Boulder County NAACP Chapter and the Boulder Public Library’s Maria Rogers Oral History Program thanks to a grant from Museums for America.
This important upcoming exhibit will shine a light on the untold and overlooked stories of Black Coloradans with oral histories, research and a series of programs about race.