Claim to fame: The VFW has long been the place for veterans of war with its collection of historical guns and medals. Now that the bar has opened its doors to live musicespecially on Thursday nightthere's a whole new post-10 p.m. vibe.
What you're drinking: For the Thursday night crowd it's all about $1.50 16 oz. cans of Miller High Life and Olympia; on a recent Thursday night show-goers cleaned out 30 cases of Oly. Also high profile: the "Man Can"a 32 oz. (that's a quart!) of beer for $3. For the record, plenty of ladies can be seen hoisting the "Man Can."
Who you're drinking with: The bar's happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. is a hit for the day crowd, which consists of Vietnam veterans and a small group of regulars drinking 50-cent-off drafts and well drinks. Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. it's quiet time, but after that you're drinking with college kids, plus connoisseurs of rock 'n' roll.
Who you're listening to: The free shows of mostly local musicians have been a big hit. The bar's residency program allows one band to take over the venue each month, playing every Thursday night. They get to hone their sound with the help of soundman Joey Connell (of Hi-Tech Audio), and select fellow bands to fill out the line-up.
Who's pouring: On a recent Thursday night bartender Odessa Joseph pours for a crowd two-deep. Joseph says she loves her day crowd, but she fits right in with the rock crowd, too, telling stories of seeing White Zombie and The Ramones back in the early 1990s. The bar used to close around 11 p.m. Now the madness goes until 2 a.m. "It's working out awesomely," she says, "I love it."
How to find it: 245 W. Main next to Biga Pizza.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.