Happiest Hour 

The Missoula Winery and Event Center

Claim to fame: The Missoula Winery is owned by a French couple, Phillipe and Frederique "Frenchie" Leiritz, who offer a selection of—surprise!—French wines. The family likes everything with a French twist and they often throw fondue parties and barbecues featuring French cocktails. On Saturdays you can show up on the winery's lawn and learn a French version of bocce ball called petunque. Oui!

What you're drinking: The Muscat is a summer afternoon aperitif featuring white peach, apricot, and pear. The Mourvèdre Rosé is best chilled and showcases berry flavors. On weekends you can taste kir, a French cocktail, or gulp down some of Frenchie's sangria—the one thing that isn't exactly French.

What the best deals are: You can't beat the house red and white, which are stored in air-tight wine bags behind the tasting bar and cost a mere $3 a glass. If you're a University of Montana student and you have a Griz Card and are old enough, you can get $1 off glasses of wine.

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When to be there: The wine tasting room is open every day during the summer from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (and until 5 p.m. on Sundays). Live music nights are a great time to go so you can cool your heels until midnight. If you love swing, there's the Ed Norton Band every second Sunday of the month. And if you love all the rock shows at the Big Sky Brewery—like the Decemberists—you can show up to the winery for their pre-party partying. Check out missoulawinery.com for events listings.

Ambiance: Wood floors and a stage give this place a music hall feel. When you head outside to the fire pit and barbecue, you can indulge your redneck side—as long as you like it with a French flourish.

How to find it: 5646 W. Harrier off Airway Blvd. and across from Big Sky Brewery.

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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