Review By: Elizabeth Walle –
Highland Tap and Burger serves exactly that: beer and burgers, along with elevated tavern fare. It’s a neighborhood joint set in a converted garage, outfitted in dark wood and luring in sports fans with its 20+ flat screens. The bar is as dark as any tavern should be and there are dart boards and a few arcade games in the back for sportier patrons.
The tap is a long one: a row of 20 pull handles pour exclusively Colorado-brewed drafts. I showed up–when else?–during afternoon happy hour, which goes from 3:00 – 6:30. Select drafts are $3 a pour. I started with the Mama’s Lil Yella Pils from Oskar Blues brewery, and followed with Avery’s White Rascal — breweries based out of Longmont and Boulder, respectively. The bottles and cans section of the menu is also extensive, ranging from PBR to the storied Delirium Tremens.
We ordered the HTB Nachos to start off our meal. I enjoyed the house-made tortilla chips–nice and crispy–and was pleasantly surprised by the distribution of toppings. Distribution is undeniably the key factor in making a successful plate of nachos. It’s frustrating to eat that delicious top layer only to discover a pile of naked tortilla chips hiding beneath. These had black beans, tomatoes, cheese and jalapeños evenly layered all the way down. And rather than a side dish of sour cream and salsa, both were drizzled in a crosshatch pattern atop the entire dish.
For my entree I ordered the Bison Bacon Cheeseburger, subbing blue cheese for the usual white cheddar. Burgers, like nachos, also have a key factor to deliciousness: whether or not they’re actually cooked correctly! I was glad to see mine was pink and juicy when our server set it down before me, and it had the flavor to match. Juicy, flavorful, and I liked the brioche bun on which it was served.
The rest of the Highland Tap & Burger menu modernizes and fancifies basic greasy spoonfuls: duck fat fries, pilsner onion rings, an artisan cheese board–they even have that nouveau staple, quinoa salad. A full breakfast menu is available Saturdays and Sundays from 8 AM to noon. There are many dishes and drinks that I would like to investigate, but I would certainly order everything I ate again, and I felt that the $27 I spent on lunch (don’t forget I did go at happy hour) was worth it. Highland Tap & Burger is located in the Lower Highlands at 32nd and Vallejo, and with its elevated pub fare and stock of locally crafted brews, it goes beyond your standard neighborhood sports bar.