Cool weather is settling in on the valley, Missoula's primed for fall, and we're trying to fit as many patio drinking days in as we can before it's officially cold. With that in mind...
This week: The patio at Caffè Dolce
Atmosphere: Unlike the bulk of Missoula’s downtown bars, there’s a distinct European vibe at Caffè Dolce. Busy streets, a bustling patio, more gelato than you can shake a spoon at—all hallmarks of a pleasant lunch hour escape. And with the restaurant’s primo selection of beer and wine, you can get your drink on a few hours ahead of the 5 p.m. Friday buzzer. The only question you have to ask yourself, or maybe the wait staff, is which wine will best pair with your grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
What you’re drinking: On a recent Friday, Caffe Dolcè’s Madison Unsworth recommends a riesling, specifically the Bollenberg 2010 from the Dirler-Cade winery in the Alsace region of France. It’s not as sweet as your average riesling; the wine list describes it as a “bouquet of honey and honey suckle, flavors of pear, apple, lime, pineapple and baking spice.” There’s a “zippy freshness” to this $11-a-glass suggestion that makes it a great companion for pretty much anything on Caffe Dolcè’s extensive menu.
What else you can get: Caffè Dolce has a regularly rotating selection of wines from across the globe—reds from Spain, whites from Italy, the odd rose from France. If your palate is craving a brewski, the restaurant has a number of regional beers on tap including selections from Big Sky, Great Northern and New Belgium. For the time being, you can snag a pint of New Belgium’s cocoa molé ale, spiced with chili and cinnamon.
Where to find it: Caffè Dolce’s a hop and a skip from the Hip Strip at 500 Brooks Street.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.