Bartender Chat: Danny of Vinoteca Poscol

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One of the great things about this gig is talking to a new bartender every week and finding out where they like to go to sip and snack after a hard day. Last week Marcus of CHA recommended Poscol, and I had never been. Italian food? Good. Wine? Good. So why did it take so long for me to pop in? I don't have an answer for that but boy am I glad I finally did.

As we walked up to the restaurant located in a strip center on Westheimer, my eyes spied the happy hour specials written on a little easel chalkboard. I rubbed them. Does that say $2 glasses of wine? Yes. Yes it does. $2 glasses of wine and $1 cicchetti from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

The lone patrons on a Wednesday, we grabbed a spot at the bar and met Danny, our friendly bartender. The $1 cicchetti, little pieces of toasted bread with various toppings like shrimp, asparagus and olives, were savory and definitely whet the appetite, but my favorite was the prosciutto with robiola (mmm...robiola...). I think we got one of each kind available, you know, just to taste. Danny really knew the menu. He was super-helpful, and when I asked about dessert, suggested the Roman dates with mascarpone and red wine sauce, which were heavenly. We'll absolutely be back for a cheese or house-made salumi plate.

Where are you from? Mexico City. I lived there until I was four, and I've been in Houston ever since.

How long have you been bartending? Just over a year. This is my first bartending job. I've never had a job that lets me have so much interaction with other people. I'm actually a certified welder. When you're welding, you don't talk to anyone. You get one 10-minute break, and you just want to go eat. The industry got pretty slow, and they let go of a lot of people, so this was just supposed to be something to help me get back on my feet and then go back to welding, but I'm still here. This is much more fun and a lot less physical work.

How would you describe your bar? This bar is very chill. I also work at Dolce Vita during the day, and it can get pretty fast-paced there. Sure, we get busy, but for the most part, it's pretty relaxed.

How would you describe the crowd? Mostly regulars, people that live in the neighborhood, around 25 to 40 years old. We get a lot of people on dates. It's nice and dark in here with the candlelight.

Do you have a favorite wine or beer you carry right now? Well, I don't really drink. I taste what we have so I'm able to describe it to people, but that's about it.

Do you have a favorite item on the menu here at Poscol? What you ordered is one of my favorites...the schiacciata (flatbread) with bufala, tomatoes and olives. It's good, huh?

Where do you like to go to get something to eat or relax? I like to go to 13 Celsius. If I do drink, I'll get something really light, like a Riesling.

One thing that would make Houston a better city? I think Houston's a great city already. My friends that have moved here from other cities love it. It's always growing.

***Wildcard: If you were to write a book, what would it be about? It would be about me- a tell-all. I like reading biographies. The most random people... their lives can just be so interesting or outrageous, they have so much to say.

Poscol, located at 1609 Westheimer in Montrose, is open Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m. Next time you're in the neighborhood, stop by, say hi to Danny and try some of the delicious cured meats and cheeses they have to offer. It's a great little spot for happy hour or a date.

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