Is Highland a gastrotavern?

The Highland Tavern is an enigma. Wrapped in a mystery. Covered in pork. The food sounds like quintessential tavern-type fare, but it's so much better-tasting than typical tavern food that I feel like I should dub the place a "gastrotavern." I'm pretty sure the owners would sneer at such snobbery, though, so I'll just call it what it is: a great neighborhood bar with a really great kitchen — and customers who mocked me when I asked for a specialty cocktail. But at least the bartender took my request seriously, and worked hard to make me the perfect cocktail. Perhaps it was because Motörhead was playing, loudly (at least 11, but close to 12) that I heard the drink's name wrong the first three times. Rock & Rye, Rock Candy and Rye, Rock & Rye Sour all sounded fine, but I finally learned that I was drinking a Rock-A-Bye ($6.50), made with house-made Rock & Rye and a variation of a true Rock & Rye, the bartender said: Russell's Reserve Rye Whiskey base with rock candy and citrus, soda and lime. Like everything else at the Highland, it was really good — even if I wasn't sure why.

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Nancy Levine
Contact: Nancy Levine