Friday, August 27, 2010

Happiest Hour: Sunrise Saloon & Casino

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 3:00 PM

TGIF, right? Whether you want to prop yourself up at the bar with a cool beverage or get up on the dance floor country style, we've got an idea for you. Time to visit—or revisit—an old haunt with a new makeover, that's off the beaten path from downtown. Electric slide, anyone?

The scoop: When Tom Reed, the owner of The Other Side, passed away in May 2009 he was in the middle of selling the bar to Kammy and Rick Zavarelli. Over the last year, the couple took out the old club’s big back stage, put in a new front door, built a small stage and created an outdoor beer garden friendly to smokers. The transformation to the Sunrise Saloon turned the joint from a rock and metal venue to the kind of bar that will have you humming, “A Country Boy Can Survive.”

HH_Sunrise.jpg

Motto: “Where the sidewalk ends and the West begins.”

Atmosphere: In the afternoon, the Zavarellis spend time chit-chatting with patrons at the bar. When the bands hit the stage in the evening, the huge wooden floor fills with dancers. On the walls around the bar: Rusty horseshoes, signed dollar bills, wagon wheels and old leather saddles.

What you’re listening to: “Not everyone likes hip hop,” says Rick Zavarelli, “but you can get everyone to listen to country western.” A stretch? Maybe, but it’s true the range of country music at the Sunrise could draw a diverse crowd. If you show up Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you can catch free live sets from bands like Cash For Junkers, County Line, The Cold Hard Cash Show and Whiskey Rebellion, among others. Show up on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and you get country western and line dancing lessons for an easy $5.

What you’re drinking: The saloon has no set Happy Hour yet, but there are drink specials like Pabst pounders on Sundays from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

How to find it: On the corner of Regent and Strand near the Fairway Shopping Center.

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

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