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West Village Scottish Gastropub Highlands Closes After a Decade

The restaurant couldn’t survive the COVID-19 crisis

The exterior of a closed down restaurant with plants set up out front on the sidewalk
Highlands in the West Village
Robert Sietsema/Eater

West Village Scottish gastropub Highlands is permanently closing its doors, according to the owners. The restaurant has been forced to shut down following months of economic distress due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Restaurateurs Donal Brophy, Brian McGrory, and Mary Wan opened Highlands nearly a decade ago, one of several gastropubs opening in the city at the time. But its unique perspective was its Scottish emphasis, which was featured in a long list of single malts, Scottish-themed cocktails, and a Scottish menu that included specialties like haggis, both a version made in a real sheep’s stomach and a vegetarian version.

The restaurant was famous in the early days for its packed bar scene in the front room — though customers could always find a seat in the dining room. It was always known more as a drinking spot than an eating one, and in the later years, it added specials like bottomless brunch drinks.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closing of Highlands but we will always remember the wonderful times we had,” Brophy said in a statement on the closing. “The people we met and the relationships formed will last forever.”

Highlands is the latest in a slew of restaurants across the city that have announced permanent closures in the past month due to the collapse of business amid the pandemic. Dining rooms have been closed for nearly three months as the city battled the COVID-19 crisis, with restaurants restricted to only offering takeout and delivery service. The earliest possible reopening date for NYC restaurants — which will likely come with heavy operating restrictions for dine-in customers — is now projected for early or mid-July.