Friday, January 22, 2010

Happiest Hour: The Forest Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM

To get you — and us — ready for the weekend, we'll post our new Happiest Hour column every Friday, a little before quitting time.

This week: The Forest Lounge

Claim to fame: An unapologetic alternative to Missoula’s more progressive, Suburu-driving, granola crowd. The parking lot is full of rusted Jeep Wagoneers and Chevy El Caminos. Blue-collar patrons wear grease-stained pants and dirt under their fingernails. And barflies aim to protect that heritage: a bumper sticker behind the bar reads, “Loggers, Miners, Ranchers and Farmers are the endangered species.”

Another noteworthy sticker behind the bar: “Guns kill people like spoons made Rosie O’Donnell fat.”

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What you’re drinking: A full bar offers a range of well drinks. Domestic drafts run $2.50 and a tall cold Busch will set you back $2.25.

Who you’re drinking with: Almost entirely men in tractor caps, suspenders and flannel shirts.

What you’re eating: Gizzards, “shrooms” and cheese sticks, along with four-piece chicken dinners complete with jo jos, garlic toast and coleslaw. A chicken dinner runs $6.50 any day of the week, while Wednesday night’s $7.50 prime rib special lures employees of mechanic shops and truck stops across town, says Forest Lounge bartender Tuni Lefever.

Happy Hour specials: When a full meal with a couple of drafts sets you back only $10, Lefever says the Forest Lounge doesn’t need a happy hour. “We’re always happy,” she says.

How to find it: Look for the parking lot full of rusted rigs at 3695 West Broadway. It’s 2.2 miles from Russell Street on as you head from downtown Missoula toward the Missoula International Airport.

Happiest Hour is a new column that celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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