Friday, October 28, 2011

Happiest Hour: Jazz night at Brooks and Browns

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 3:40 PM

This weekend has plenty going for it: Halloween parties, spooky theater productions, a hallow's eve burlesque fest. But before we know it Monday will be upon us. Here's something to keep in mind for when the weekend is just a distant memory.

This week: Jazz night at Brooks and Browns

Atmosphere: On a recent Tuesday night, Brooks and Browns exudes the sedate, undiscovered milieu of your average hotel bar. The lighting isn’t quite what you’d call dim, but the air is thick with the tonal swagger of blues guitar and the juniper scent of Tanqueray. The place is more getaway than downtown destination. A seat at the bar prompts a little light chatter with the bartender, Arlin. He says the jazz night—now about two months old—is usually pretty busy here, 30 to 35 people. Summer was hopping, with music on the patio and listeners on blankets in the grass. Tonight it feels more like something from the pages of a noir novel.


Who you’re listening to: Ruthie Dada has the kind of smoky, deep, haunting voice you’d expect to hear in a speakeasy in the 1920s. She’s got a bit of a sore throat tonight, but you really can’t tell. Her guitar accompanist, Chris Duparri, plays soft, dark riffs that have an almost folk-music vibe. It’s country jazz, or maybe Western blues. They cover “I wan’na be like you,” King Louie’s famed jazz anthem from Disney’s The Jungle Book. Duparri plays slow, Dada sings almost seductively. You love every minute of it.

What you’re drinking: Top-shelf martinis. They aren’t the $3-fare you get at the Badlander during Sunday Jazz Martini Night, but the pour is worth the extra squeeze on your wallet. For $6.50 you can get the Yellow Rattler, a bar specialty made with Tanqueray, sweet vermouth and orange juice. Take a glance at the discount menu too. Happy hour and jazz night overlap here, from 6 to 7 p.m., so you can get $4 well martinis and feel just as classy at two-thirds the price.

Who you’re with: The bartender, the musicians, a few hotel guests. Best recommendation, though, is to bring a date. Nothing says romance like a martini glass, a late-night appetizer and Dada’s voice. Tuesday night never felt so good.

Where to find it: In the basement of the Holiday Inn Downtown At The Park, 200 S. Pattee St. Jazz Night lasts from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday.

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

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