Summer Bucket List: Spending Aperativo Hour at The Highlawn

It’s no surprise, that with its incomparable view of the Manhattan skyline, that The Highlawn wins accolades for outdoor dining. Formerly the Highlawn Pavilion, the elegant venue at Eagle Rock Reservation, got a makeover and a simpler name and identity — The Highlawn — when it opened in fall 2021 under ownership by the Frungillo family after many years of ownership by the Knowles family and its early days when it was known as The Casino.

The Highlawn, featuring a New American menu and a revamped interior, feels more accessible, less formal, but still just as elegant and romantic (this couple certainly thought so!). On Thursday nights, the Highlawn offers Aperativo Hour with complimentary appetizers, live music and more at 5 p.m.

We went last Thursday on one of the hottest days of summer, but because of The Highlawn’s lofty location, there was a gentle breeze that made sitting on the patio delightful. You can opt to sit inside, too, or bring your plate of appetizers out to the patio. The night we visited for cocktails, there were wood-fired pizzas, cheese, salumi, olives and pickled vegetables to nosh on with stellar drinks (a Negroni and a spicy watermelon Margarita).

The patio view makes you want to linger and we ultimately ordered a shrimp cocktail and later some truffle fries of the bar menu. After we left, we put down a blanket at the adjacent park and enjoyed watching the skyline transform from day to the twinkling lights of night. A visit to The Highlawn was on our summer bucket list, but we will likely be back before summer is over to enjoy another drink and those magical views and to try out their brunch.

The Highlawn, 1 Crest Drive, West Orange

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