Why you're here: Because apparently Westside Lanes is striving to be like the Bitterroot's Qwivals Family Fun Center—but with alcohol. Brilliant! Beyond Westside's best-in-town bowling lanes and arcade games, visitors can swing away in the batting cages or putt around on the mini-golf course. And you can do it all while buzzed after Bowl Dog Bar & Lounge's two-for-one Happy Hour. But be careful: If you have too much fun you might end up embarrassing yourself during karaoke.
Who you're drinking with: On a recent Monday evening, I stroll in and belly up next to Jerry, a congenial census worker from Frenchtown who tells me I just missed the Happy Hour specials, which end at 6 p.m. He offers to buy me a drink to make up for it. Jerry had just spent all day driving around with his shih tzu Pepper trying to cajole people into telling him their race and telephone number. It was his first time in Bowl Dog. "Whoa!" he said of the clean, four-year-old bar with about a dozen flat screens. "I gotta come back here."
Who entertains you: Alas, despite all of the reasons to come back to the Bowl Dog, many will come for one thing and one thing only: the bar's famed karaoke, which happens Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. I avoid karaoke like sweat-soaked bowling shoes, so in lieu of sharing a first-person Bowl Dog karaoke experience, I ask the bartender, Maggie Cummings, about the most pathetic thing she's seen on stage. "White boys rapping," she says. "If you don't have any rhythm, stick to Neil Diamond."
Where to sing Neil Diamond: 1615 Wyoming Street.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.