Anyone who has called the east side of Highland home for more than a few years can remember a time when it wasn’t all that easy to walk and drink in the neighborhood. Sure, there were a few seedy watering holes, but they weren’t the type of places that you’d want to, say, invite Cherry Creek friends to.
Well, a little redevelopment has changed that, and now you can actually host an East Highland Bar Crawl at some of the city's best drinking establishments, so long as you don’t mind trudging a few blocks.
Williams & Graham
3126 Tejon St.
The newest addition to the ‘hood is arguably the most unique. Sean Keynon, the city’s best barman, helped build this throwback bar that fashioned after a Prohibition speakeasy. The entry way is a bookstore — with a few cocktail-related books for sale, to boot — that has a false wall that opens to the bar. Inside, it’s a simple 1920s cocktail mecca, with capable bartenders slinging handcrafted drinks from a lost era. The Smokey Mountain Cocktail is a mezcal pleasure, but it’s almost too much fun to pass up a bartender's choice. Reservations strongly suggested.
Highland Tap & Burger
2219 W. 32nd Ave.
Fancy burger joint? Yawn. Well, that’s the normal response. Then this joint opened up in 2010 and totally took over the Highland scene. It’s equal parts upscale burgers and food, sports bar, beer heaven, community gathering space and live music venue (even has a tasty wine list). On the first point, the burger named after the the restaurant is a must: It’s piled high with pulled pork and a fried egg. Crazy good. Then, there are the TVs. Flatscreens circle the place, making it easy to watch just about any game without having to do more than swivel. The beer selection is crazy good, too. Of course, none of this is worth anything if no one comes in. Highland Tap has catered to the neighborhood by having cool events like a weekly Wednesday run and women-focused beer events. Oh, and somehow it’s managed to pull acts such as Soulja Boy to preform.
3200 Tejon St.
One of the pioneers of serving the foodie crowd in the area when it opened, LoHi caters to the high-end burger aficionados or those looking for a tasty, yet affordable, steak. Try the Blue Cheese Fondue as a side to your drinks. While the menu itself is delicious, the bar scene is the draw on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s become even busier as a spillover for those who can’t get into William & Graham across the street.
Zio Romolo's Alley Bar
2400 West 32nd Ave.
Perhaps lost in the excitement of Pasquini’s opening a Highland outpost a few years back was the addition of a “separate” bar, Zio Romolo’s. It’s technically connected and serves the restaurant’s full menu, but it feels like its own bar. The bar area is dive-y in a nice way, and narrow and cozy. It’s a perfect late-night stop for a slice and a cold beer.
3400 Navajo St.
We come back here just for a tator tot binge on occasion. Beyond that, this gem on the east, east side of Highland is a quintessential neighborhood pub that is warm and inviting. It’s the type of place that simple begs you to tip back a pint with some buddies during a happy hour endeavor. With the requisite tots — or mac ‘n cheese.
View East Highland Pub Crawl in a larger map