When you’re presented with the chance to drop into one of the 50 best bars in the world, you seize it by the cocktail. New York, LA and London tend to sweep the top 50 list, but Denver based Williams & Graham deservedly crept into the coveted list of contenders. The bar is nestled in the trendy LoHi Denver neighborhood and boasts a boujee atmosphere. The prohibition era speakeasy is a gem for East Coasters in the more casual beer-oriented Mile High city.
The Grand Entrance
On any given day a line will start snaking along the unsuspecting bookstore facade by 4:45pm. Be there by first call, otherwise you risk sadness and sobriety. Upon your entrance, the keeper of cocktail cravings will write your name on a card, slide it through a hole in the wall, and flip on a light. Next, you will be instructed to stand back and prepare to enter the Narnia of bars. Just as you’re wondering if this is all a dream, an entire bookshelf will casually slide out of the way to reveal a dimly lit, velvety draped hallway.
Sidebar: they don’t seem to mind mutterings of “Omg this is SO freaking neat!”
The hallway ends with a jovial salutation from a greeter already versed on your first name. The bar seats a few dozen and offers small plates along side their exquisite cocktail selection.
First, you will be acquainted with your bartender. Before you even order, a refreshing AF aperitif will be set in front of you to wet your whistle. Their menu changes seasonally, but the featured cocktails are always a good bet.
The Crafty Cocktails
The “Shady Pines, Ma!” was hands down the coolest cocktail presentation I’ve seen. It was served on a mirrored slate. I theorize that this is so you can observe your face light up at first sip. Next, I tasted the “Dr. Green,” an order I heard echoed multiple times by other patrons. The chartreuse shone through as a dominant flavor, yet balanced well with the hint of cucumber to create an invigorating and memorable taste.
Third, “El Generalissimo” was a booze heavy man-drink not for the faint of heart. The marriage of bourbon and rum will warm your soul. “El Generalissimo” is best consumed after conquering your first black diamond. Finally, I had the bartender make something off-menu. My usual off-menu order is a spicy, smoky rye concoction of some sort. She knocked it out of the park by adding a dash of cinnamon bitters and lemon garnish.
So unstrap those skis and snap out of your Mile High haze to drop in for a drink at Williams & Graham. You will not be disappointed by the many leather bound books and rich mahogany.