We've got a special incentive to celebrate Happiest Hour this week—Plonk Missoula's grand opening.
Ambiance: It’s March 29, and roughly four and a half hours before Plonk wine bar opens its doors in Missoula for the first time. Owner Brett Evje fields deliveries, consults with craftspeople and signs off on the various permits and licenses he needs in order to open. “I’ve had five hours sleep in the last four days,” he says, admitting that might be an exaggeration, but not much of one.
Evje’s work, and that of his employees, is evident in the fully renovated historic building. Original interior brick walls are restored. Wines from California, Italy and France line shelves throughout the establishment. Full bottles of Bailey’s, Tanqueray and Grey Goose Vodka wait to be tapped behind Plonk’s new custom-made granite bar not far from local brands, remnants of the area’s cowboy culture, that are painted on the wall. In the rear, plush chairs are covered with pink and purple upholstery. Upstairs, a rooftop deck will be unveiled in May.
Plonk first opened in Bozeman. It gained a following there for its fancy cocktails and savory appetizers. Evje, who co-owns the Bozeman bar, hopes to duplicate its success in Missoula.
What you’re drinking: “The signature cocktail is the GFC (great fucking cocktail),” Evje says. Made with house-infused ginger vodka, fresh lemon and lime juice, muddled basil and simple syrup, it comes with a piece of candy ginger garnish and sells for $8. .
Plonk features roughly 40 of its 250 proprietary cocktails at any given time.
What you’re eating: Western, Asian, French and Spanish flavors incorporated into an upscale dining experience. Appetizers include chicken and pear salad, bison empanada and a sprawling meat and cheese tray that sells for $16.
In Bozeman, Plonk’s $32 tenderloin is a best seller. Evje, however, acknowledges that Missoulians might have different tastes. “This town is a little more hip,” he says.
How to find it: 322 North Higgins Ave., at Pine Street.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email firstname.lastname@example.org.