Happiest Hour: Happy Meals at the Silver Dollar 

What you’re drinking: Not what you thought. We aren’t going to lie: We went to the Silver Dollar on a recent afternoon in search of a shot of Tito’s vodka and a bag of Cheetos for $5—the bar’s longstanding special. We found, however, that the Dollar had just switched up its happy hour offering. The Railroad Street institution is now offering a twist on the Happy Meal, Missoula’s fairly widespread dive-bar special. In addition to the customary combo of Jameson and PBR for $5, the Dollar has paired a pint of Stella Artois Cidre with a shot of Espolòn Tequila Blanco for $7. It wasn’t what we expected, but we were relieved when we gave it a try.

How it tastes: Stella’s Cidre is different than the usual cider. Instead of the sweetness you might expect, Cidre has the refreshing crispness of a good light beer—a quality the Silver Dollar accentuates by serving it in an ice-cold glass. The Espolòn tequila is 100% pure agave, according to the bottle, and you can definitely taste the purity of the distilling process. There is no need for salt or a lime with tequila this light and clear. We found ourselves turning up our empty glass, searching in vain for one last drop.

When you’re drinking: Happy hour at the Silver Dollar officially lasts from 6 to 10 p.m., but bar co-owner Kevin Martello is willing to bend the rules. We were there before 5 and he was happy to give us a pour of this refreshing combo. While PBR and Jameson offers comfort in the doldrums of winter, the new Happy Meal of Cidre and Espolòn seems specially made for summer.

Atmosphere: Inside, it’s relaxed on a sunny summer afternoon. Most of the patrons are regulars who come for the cold glasses, the cheap drinks, the reliable bartenders and the generally untrammeled authenticity of the bar. While it’s not the kind of place that’s known for innovation, the Silver Dollar has definitely improved upon the Happy Meal tradition.

Where you’re drinking: The Silver Dollar is at 307 Railroad Street.

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

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