When you announced your move to Missoula, someone probably told you there was plenty to do here, but of course they didn’t say where any of this bustling activity was. And even if they did, things change. Whatever you’re looking for in a hangout, Missoula can probably accommodate you with something. Here’s a guide to a few of our favorites:
The Quiet Side
Grabbing a tasty cup of coffee and surfing the Internet always has its perks, but Break Espresso
is more than that. With low lights and a library-like atmosphere, the Break, located at 432 N. Higgins, is a great place to escape the winter cold, meet up with your friends, or have that awkward “getting to know each other” date. Plus, since it’s so close to Starbucks, you can snub the corporate behemoth if that’s your bag.
Like your coffee, but not as much as your baked goods? Well Bernice’s
(190 S. 3rd St. W.) sounds like the perfect place for you. The coffee is a great blend worthy of the most caffeine-dependent, but the bakery is where this place made its name. Grab a scone and your favorite weekly and relax for awhile.
The After-Work Release
On those days when everything goes wrong, there is one place guaranteed to make your day a little better: Kettlehouse
. Whether you’re in the mood for companionship or seclusion, the Kettlehouse taproom at 602 Myrtle St. is Missoulians’ go-to venue for just letting go and having a good time without the accompanying feeling of being a barfly. Monday nights have live music, but any evening is worth a trip to grab a pint of your favorite local brew, or some sadly underrated root beer. Just be aware that because it’s not a bar, the barkeeps don’t have to listen to your tale of woe.
Plenty of jobs are mind-numbingly boring, repetitive and unrewarding. It’s the sad truth of adulthood. One easy way to gain some joy out of life is a night at Sean Kelly’s
Pub Trivia (130 W. Pine St.). Questions range from the most basic of pop culture (Who voices Apu on “The Simpsons”?) to advanced geography (Name two islands located in the Baltic Sea), and when you get something right you always feel like a champion.
New to town since spring is a little place called Badlander
. It’s quickly becoming the best venue to hear local and touring bands. The real perk is that the cover charge is never too taxing.
The Badlander space has been through plenty of changes over the last few years, going from music venue to sports bar and back, but one thing has remained: fried chicken.
Come on, fried chicken and good music? That’s like the best Christmas ever.
A certain breed of person just doesn’t feel right unless he (or she, we suppose) sees as many football games as possible. But despite claims, cable and satellite feeds are pricey as hell. Thank the gridiron gods for The Press Box
(835 E. Broadway St.) and its policy of never having a cover charge. Missoula’s favorite sports bar carries football, yes, but they’ll also order just about any sporting event available, from boxing to Premier League soccer. Just call and ask.
You could walk by it without ever knowing it was there, but Charlie B’s
is as Missoula as Nalgene bottles and a black Labrador (that means “a lot”). Once you walk through the door of this old watering hole you know you’ve found something special. Unlike the newbies surrounding it, Charlie’s harkens back to yesterday, and retains enough retro charm to make it worth a stop. If “Cheers” had been filmed in Missoula, this would have been the setting.
Sometimes you need to hit the dance floor, whether it’s to rock or make a drunken ass of yourself. And when that special feeling takes hold, let it guide you to the Union Club
, where you’ll find plenty of seating and a vast dance floor to get your groove on. Plenty of weekends the live act is Tom Catmull and the Clerics, which, among other recommendations, includes guitarist Gibson Hartwell, who once played lead guitar in Tarkio, the local band now-famous Colin Meloy (you’ve heard of the Decemberists, haven’t you?) once fronted.
When the bars empty out and the stomach gets rumbling there are two places that should come to mind: Finnegan’s
(24 hours) and The Oxford
(all day, every day). While the former is a family restaurant by day, the latter is always a decent bar. But it’s at other joints’ closing time that you truly appreciate everything they offer. For instance, Finnegan’s spans Rattlesnake Creek. And the Ox has an old-style diner ambiance that would almost be Mayberryish if not for the remnants of spilled beer.
Before putting an end to your night, get some coffee, grab some fries, and reminisce about the evening’s debauchery before tomorrow’s hangover. You owe it to yourself.