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Williams & Graham offers bargain speakeasy experience

Old-timey speakeasy remains timeless

Tucked behind a bookshelf with low ceilings and even lower lighting, Williams & Graham is a modern embodiment of a speakeasy straight out of the roaring twenties.

The cozy bar is located in the swanky and hip Lower Highlands (LoHi) neighborhood. Williams & Graham subverts expectations for even the most clever of speakeasies with a storefront that looks remarkably similar to a used bookstore one might come across on south Broadway, although a little less cramped than a real storefront. In fact, rumors have swirled around that a password was required to gain access to the room of libations below, but perhaps the password is only a requirement for the weekends; the hostess also aims to scare off the less curious drinkers—the types that just want to slam jello shots in as little time as possible—with a wait time that seems a bit generous for a week night as well.

Williams & Graham has affordable drinks and food.
| Photo Credit: Sam Dufour

But the wait is more than worth it. Low tables are spread across the darker corners of the dim underground room, with one raised table perched in the very back of the room that provides a more removed and voyeuristic experience. The bar takes up most of the space in the small room and is surrounded by old-fashioned black  leather bar stools that contrast deeply with the rich, wood-paneled walls.

Served on rustic copper dishes with silverware to match, the dining options are less focused on large entrees and geared more toward smaller, shareable plates. Classic bar-food dishes like deviled eggs and fried pickles get a modern and spicy update, while the smaller portion sizes certainly make high-class items, such as duck pâté, nicely affordable.

While these classy cocktail snacks are certainly enjoyable, if not a bit redundant throughout the Denver speakeasy scene, the french fries ($7) served at Williams & Graham are, hands down, the best french fries in Denver. Cut up into wider slices, these meaty potato wedges are cooked down with a malt vinegar reduction and topped with a crumbling of parmesan and coarse salt. They may not sound like much, but the malt vinegar reduction is an absolute game-changer.

Of course, a speakeasy wouldn’t call itself a speakeasy if not for the artisan cocktails. The price, again, is a bit on the lower side in comparison to other Denver cocktail bars ($10-12), lending itself a bit more affordability for empty-pocketed students with exquisite taste. The drink menu boasts several original cocktails, invented by the sharply dressed bartenders of Williams & Graham themselves, as well as classic cocktails, such as Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds. So, for students of age who love a nice, neat, and no-frills cocktail, as well as a slick night out, this speakeasy will certainly feel like a cozy fit. Williams & Graham is located at 3160 Tejon St. Denver, CO. 80216.

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