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  • The Denver Dish

Williams & Graham Booksellers (Highlands)

I've never been very good at reading. Not that I don't enjoy getting into a good book from time to time, but in terms of regular hobbies you'd be hard pressed to actually catch me in the act. More publicly, I confess to be a glutton for fine food and photography, hence the focus of this blog. Secret's out...

...and not just in the fact that the only thing I read is a menu. But also, as you can probably figure out by the title of this post, either I've gone completely rogue on The Denver Dish, or Williams & Graham isn't what it appears to be. Don't judge this book by its cover.

I was left reeling when my stubborn friend Jeremy refused to tell me where we were heading out for a post work happy hour. And after waiting 2 weeks without cracking the guy, I was directed to wait outside LoHi Steakbar on a blisteringly cold night and await further instructions. Once the smoke lifted, we took the long, lonely walk across the street and trotted into a bookstore. At that, a bookstore that's open from 5pm to 1am. Strange hours if you ask me.

Thankfully, it's not what it appears to be. W&G lies behind a decent guise and as the curtain opens, fills a thirsty void. Welcome to the roaring 20's- and Denver's most reminiscent speakeasy to date. Proprietors Sean Kenyon and Todd Colehour share their unique concept that captures the imagination, as well as an era that is as mysterious as it is scandalous. With a repertoire of cocktails that fits the rustic ambience of this speakeasy-style joint, it sort of takes you back. Back to a time that you likely weren't even a part of in the first place, but at least in my mind is somewhat romanticized.

On this particular night, as we got cozy with an amuse bouche of sorts in the form of an Italian apertif, we perused the bar menu while waiting for a scarce open table. Even though it was only a Tuesday, this quaint Highlands spot leaves little room for walk-ins, even on a slow night. We crammed 6 people into a booth meant for 4. With low incandescent lighting to accent the deep, wood planked walls, we took advantage of a dusting of small plates, only making a dent in the otherwise limited menu. Pate` terrine, deviled eggs, house-marinated olives and popcorn; just enough to complement our libations. But of course the drinks are the centerpiece.

"The Old" Old Fashioned.

Each cocktail we enjoyed had a certain balance to it- with acidity complementing sweetness, and in some cases spice. With so many liquors, cordials, and liqueurs that it requires a bar-side ladder to access everything, you're looking at some of the more capable mixologists in town.  A canvas of ingredients from fruit to spice also accompany the liquid sort, and yield some superior drinks that require a meticulous attention to detail. On top of the traditional Old Fashioned muddled with orange peel, I also downed a jacked-up version in the form of a Sazerac cocktail. Dating back to 1850's New Orleans, W&G brings a somewhat resurrected cocktail to the table with balance and poise, and brings you right back to the roots of mixology. Moscow Mules, copper mugs. Muddlers, shakers, strainers. W&G captures the art of the cocktail, and a talented service staff makes it well worth dropping by. And don't be caught without a reservation, or you can expect to run dry. Just like in the old days.

Dish It Up!


Open Daily 5p - 1a

Located at 32nd and Tejon

Street Parking (plenty of it)

Price avg: cocktails $10, small plates $6, entrees $20

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Call (303) 997-8886 for reservations

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