Happiest Hour 

Mullan Station

Claim to Fame: "The cobra tap." Get your beer at the bar and you'll notice the icy, snake-like head of the bar's tap. The glycol-run system pulls moisture from the air to create a half-inch thick glaze around the tap, which keeps your beverages mighty cold. Beer is served in frosted mugs, and all the chilliness creates snow-like particles that last as long as your favorite convenience store slushy. Though there's no longer a sign that says "Don't Touch the Cobra Tap," the rule still applies since oil on hands disrupts the icing process.

Atmosphere: The bar is part of a multiplex, which includes a convenience store, laundromat, and casino. It may not have the kind of romance or vintage character that so many downtown bars do, but it's a cozy place to meet friends...or wash your clothes. Plus, the feisty staff and regulars make it feel a little bit like a "Cheers" episode.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIKA FREDRICKSON

Happy hour: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you get $1 off all drafts, $2 off pitchers. But the real deal happens for the ladies on Tuesday nights when they get 50-cent domestics drafts.

What you're eating: Fried stuff and burgers. But it's the Super Duper sauce in which Mullan Station takes pride. The dipping sauce comes from a family recipe used back in the early 1990s at a now-defunct drive-thru called 93 Stop and Go.

Who you're drinking with: Concrete workers off Mullan and employees from Dazzler's car wash and Best Buy fill the place at lunch. Since the Carmike 10 is just a parking lot away, evening and weekend moviegoers often stop in for a pre- or post-screening drink. "Sometimes they show up in the middle of the movie if it's a real stinker," says evening supervisor Jim King.

Where to find it: 3420 Mullan Road on the corner of Reserve just before the turn to Carmike 10.

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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