Happiest Hour 

Trixi's Antler Saloon and Family Diner

Why you're here: It might be because Trixi's, beyond being a bar and restaurant, is effectively the Blackfoot Valley's community center and boardroom. It's the place where local ranchers, federal and state land managers and nonprofit leaders get together to hammer out conservation strategies over a beer. Trixi's, named for famed rodeo trickster Trixi McCormick, who opened the saloon in 1960, is actually better known than the town it sits in, Ovando. "People don't know where Ovando is but they know where Trixi's is," says co-owner Cindy Francis.

What you're drinking: That depends on whether you're a tourist or a local. Tourists tend to order Bayern Amber. Locals? Miller Light or Crown Royal.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MATTHEW FRANK

Atmosphere: Antelope, bear, moose, bighorn sheep, elk and deer heads hang from the walls. Dinner tables are interspersed with a pool table, a foosball table, a jukebox, a few arcade games and Keno machines. Dozens of signs and stickers include: "Earth First: We'll log the other planets later;" "Free beer tomorrow;" and "Eat more beef." Cattle brands are etched into the wooden bar.

If you're hungry: The most popular lunch menu item is The Logger, a bacon cheeseburger. Steaks for dinner.

How to find it: From Missoula, drive east on Highway 200 for about an hour. It's on your right. Can't miss it.

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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