ALTON – Culture and history are two words which come to the minds of many Altonians when thinking about their city – it has a fair amount of both.

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But Hugh Halter, who owns and manages the Post Commons believes both of those words are evolving constantly. Neither culture nor history are stagnant terms and every day they encompass the goings-on around town. To embody this philosophy, Halter said he hopes his business helps serve the culture of Alton and encourages its history to continue to be as beloved as it is now when looked upon by its future residents. And to attempt to achieve this goal, Halter is attacking the one night of the week during which Alton seems a bit sleepy – Mondays.

That's right, Alton seems to have a case of the Mondays. Many bars in its well-noted Downtown District are closed (with the obvious exceptions of Chez Marilyin's and Bossanova), and Halter wanted something to do and somewhere to go for Altonians to mix and mingle at the beginning of the week in order to start the week out with an oomph.

“Things seem to get a little sleep here on Monday nights,” Halter said. “I know some places do stay open, and I don't want to take anything away from those establishments, but the majority of Alton is closed on Monday nights.”

Yesterday was the third Monday in Halter's experiment, which was first described like a measure of Greek mythology, somewhere between an Herculean task and the boulder of Sisyphus. And, it was doing great, just as the Monday before and the Monday before that.

But the first Monday did not have a free seat in the entire house (which may be the largest non-chain coffee shop in the world).

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“That first night showed us there was a demand,” Halter said. “People in Alton want something to do on Monday nights. People want to be out and about and mingling.”

Last night, April 30, People were enjoying the amenities Halter had said in previous interviews with would bring people out. There were groups of people enjoying fine food and bottles of wine, couples on dates sharing meals and even people sitting with their laptops open drinking a caffeinated beverage and enjoying the music.

To foster even more diversity, Halter said the style of food would change every week – being announced each Wednesday on its Facebook page – and cocktails would also diversify.

Music will continue to be provided by GiGi Darr who has ambient piano music accompanied by various other professional musicians from across the region. Last Monday, she was accompanied by a saxophone, which caused Halter to pause the interview to savor the sounds.

“There are few establishments not capitulating to Alton's old culture,” Halter said. “We're here to build a new culture. We want this place to be a great third space for people. First space for people is home, the second is work. People congregate in the third space to discuss life and be connected with their friends. A lot of third spaces are loud, and can fit maybe 20-30 people. This place is huge. We can probably get about 250 or so people in here, and it's soft. It's a place you can speak easy.”The Post Commons is large, too. At 9,000 square feet, Halter said it may be a contender for the largest non-chain coffee shop in the world. He said he will be making a call to Guinness to confirm in the near future.

Previous menu options on Monday nights have included Chicago-style deep dish pizza, Latin-style and Mediterranean dishes. Halter said cocktails, which are mixed by Altonian mixologist Rory Morse, also vary with the fare.

More information can be found on the Post Commons Facebook page, or by visiting 300 Alby Street on a Monday evening. Usually the establishment closes at 4 p.m., but stays opened until 9:30 p.m. on Mondays.

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