We're guessing that you, like us, are ready to embark on what's shaping up to be a beautiful weekend. If you're looking to get out of town for a stretch, at least as far as Lolo, we recommend this week's Happiest Hour pick: KT’s Hayloft Saloon & Deli.
Atmosphere: A stuffed wolverine, claws outstretched, stares down patrons from behind a glass case not far from where locals sit sipping whiskey. The small yet ferocious mammal constitutes one of several stuffed creatures on display at the tavern, including multiple deer, a mountain goat and a massive bear. You’ll also find a considerable stockpile of antique weapons, like knives, several Winchester rifles and a feather duster with razor blades hidden inside the plumage confiscated by Montana State Prison guards in the 1960s. Antique collector Frank Miller owns the rambling establishment, which doubles as a museum of sorts.
What you’re drinking: Fireball, a cinnamon flavored whiskey that puts off a good kick and sells for $3.50. Patron shots are popular, too. They run $5. A Pabst on draft sets one back $2.50.
What you’re eating: KT’s offers a full-service deli adjacent to the saloon. It’s similarly furnished with Montana décor, including prominent antler chandeliers dangling over diners who gnaw on fried chicken dinners. On weekends, KT’s serves up a screaming deal on prime rib sandwiches from 1 to 8 p.m., when the all-American meal sells for $7.95.
Who you’re drinking with: Mostly Lolo area locals wearing jeans, cowboy shirts and camouflage caps. They gather here nightly, soliciting advice from veteran KT’s bartender Dee Carpenter, who, after 18 years staring down the wolverine and serving whiskey, still likes hearing from her regulars.
“Everybody has a story,” Carpenter says.
How to find it: From Missoula, take Highway 93 south roughly five miles to Lolo. KT’s Hayloft is on the right. There’s a huge neon sign above the bar, plus a statue of a naked cowgirl inside a beer mug on the roof. It’s tough to miss.