An Arms' Embrace
Lansdowne Arms Bistro & Pub
9352 Dorchester St. (in Highlands Ranch Town Center)
Happy Hour Still in development. Lansdowne offers a late-night "three for three" special Sunday through Wednesday, with $3 drafts from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Lansdowne Arms, the latest venture by bar owners/restaurateurs Dave Hickey and Rob Dawe, has taken up residence in an odd spot: Highlands Ranch. The Lansdowne is one of the anchors of the insta-commerce village known as Highlands Ranch Town Center, joining places like the Tattered Cover bookstore and a Floyd's barbershop. With what it has to offer in its relative infancy, the Town Center looks to be something of an oasis of commerce. Along with its cousins (Darcy's in the DTC and the freshly minted Casey's in Stapleton), the Landsdowne is part of Hickey and Dawe's expansion plan: bringing a place to sip an imperial pint (20 oz.) to the nightlife hinterlands.
The building itself is an imposing thing when you show up looking for your average (translation: small, neighborhood) pub. The seating options sprawl over two stories; the warmer months of the year afford seating on a second floor, rooftop-esque dining area plus another, smaller patio in front of the restaurant.
For fall and winter pub-crawling, your best bet is to sidle up to the downstairs bar, take a seat under the pressed-tin panel ceiling, and order up something to whet your whistle. Should hunger visit, you can chase it off with any of the hearty appetizers (the shrimp cocktail is a standout).
If the night is particularly nippy, I give high marks to the chicken and mushroom curry on jasmine rice entrée ($13.99). It's hearty, spicy, and the perfect antidote to the mounting chill of autumn. As the curry mounts on your palate, fight off the fire with a pint of either Tetley's Pale Ale or the scrumptious (and light) Kronenbourg 1664, a French brew that pairs wonderfully with food.
And while the Lansdowne features hearty meals like the above and a selection of 11 draft beers, the proprietors also realized that the Highlands Ranch demographic is weighted more toward soccer moms than salty lads out looking to get smashed. Toward that end, they've built a menu that features 10 different salads and plenty of seafood, from the aforementioned shrimp cocktail to the oysters and clams served at a raw bar.
So how's it shake out? I reviewed Casey's last issue, comparing it to other pubs located in far more urban settings in Denver. It came out fine but not glowing: It's a great place for Stapleton families to feed their kids and grab the occasional brew. Landsdowne is the same: Sure, it's not the best bar you'll find in the Denver area, but it's about as good a place as you'll find south of C-470. Cheers, I say, to that.