Happiest Hour 

The Missoula Club

Atmosphere: Arguably one of Missoula's go-to watering holes for University of Montana football fans, the Mo Club boasts wall upon wall of Griz memorabilia. No surprise really that the bar has inherited so much material; the Mo Club's been around since 1890. If you want a spirited game day experience, or the chance to rub shoulders with past and present Griz players, this is the place to be.

Who's serving: Jace Palmer is a familiar face in these parts. Besides his Mo Club career, he played defensive end for the Griz from 2005 to 2009. He racked up 5.5 sacks and an interception in his final season, making him the perfect bartender for the regular lunch crowd of shop-talking football fans.

What you're drinking: "We're pretty meat and potatoes around here," Palmer says, noting that the bar doesn't have any happy hour special. Nor, he adds, do they have much in the way of a specialty mixer. True to the football den feel, most folks drink bottled domestics from the old-school wood-and-glass cooler. The Mo Club was, however, among the first local bars to offer microbrews on tap back in the 1990s. If it's a real cold one you're looking for, it also has milkshakes for $4 and malts for $4.25.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN

What you're eating: The fabled Mo Club burger is a Missoula staple, with Independent readers consistently voting it the best in Missoula. This place cooks the onion right into the patty for extra flavor. And that special horseradish cheese? Don't get us started.

Claim to fame: Never mind the state big wigs like Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Jon Tester that occasionally stop in here. Back in summer 2008—when his wife Hillary was running for president—Bill Clinton made an unannounced appearance at the Mo Club. He tried the burger, but went with a beverage choice that must have puzzled regulars: a Diet Pepsi.

Where to find it: 139 W. Main St., about half a block off Higgins.

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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