Happiest Hour 

Feruqi's

Why you're here: Because Feruqi's sits so prominently in downtown Missoula, yet seems so out of place among the otherwise crunchy yuppiedom that dominates downtown. On a recent Thursday night, when there are about as many off-shift bartenders hanging around drinking as there are customers, the essence of Feruqi's proves elusive. Feruqi's really comes alive on a Friday or Saturday night, when DJs attract a bar full of dancers, or on Wednesday, which is Ladies' Night.

What you're drinking: If it's your birthday or bachelor party, Feruqi's will fix you its famed Flaming Blue Lamborghini. The recipe, says off-shift bartender Josh, is an "ancient Chinese secret." Otherwise, have yourself a light beer, or, if you're slackin' it on the dance floor, order up a vodka and Red Bull.

New words you'll learn: "Scrog," meaning to copulate. "Apparently, people scrog in our bathroom," laughs Matt the bartender.

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What you're listening to: Classic rock. But then electronic beats come over the speakers, and one customer yells, "This is my most favoritest rave song ever!" "No," says her friend, "it's my favoritest rave song!" Matt hollers, "Josh, get out your glow sticks!" Then Matt cranks it up. "Gotta keep the crowd on its toes," Matt says.

Why you'll come back: Because, even in a mostly empty bar, you like that the bartender, when pouring a stiff one, shows off his skills by lifting the bottle about three feet above the glass. And, if you're a crunchy yuppie, no one will know you.

How to find it: 318 N. Higgins Ave., Missoula. You can't miss the neon cocktail glass.

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

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