Happiest Hour 

Magic Diamond Casino and Liquor Store

Who you're drinking with: On a recent warm Friday morning a man smokes a cigarette outside the casino and checks out the casino's female clientele as they come and go. Inside, middle-aged women in tank tops that reveal tattoos sip highballs next to men in plaid shirts and ball caps. Magic Diamond barkeep Bobbi (who prefers we not publish her last name) wears a name tag with dollar signs on it. Bobbi knows just about all of her patrons by name; the others she calls "hon" and "sweetheart."

Ambiance: The Magic Diamond feels like someone plunked a Las Vegas casino down in the middle of Missoula's Westside. It's cavernous and cool. That makes it tough to discern whether it's day or night. Gaming machines emit a range of high-pitched bleeps that rise above AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds" on the radio. Illuminated dollar signs and dice that ring the wall just below the ceiling cast a blue, green and orange glow on the faux plants and patrons below.

What you're doing: Gambling. There are no barstools at the Magic Diamond. The casino's only chairs sit in front of Keno; Big, Big Win; and poker machines. "Everything is pretty much about the gaming industry," Bobbi says.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JESSICA MAYRER

What you're eating: Complimentary snacks that include apple Danishes and banana-nut muffins packaged in plastic wrappers.

What you're drinking: Whatever you want. Magic Diamond offers a full bar featuring hard booze and local brews. Drafts including Pabst and Kokanee are free for those who gamble, as are wine and nonalcoholic beverages. Magic Diamond's liquor store makes it easy when you cash out to take the party home.

How to find it: Magic Diamond is just a couple blocks west of Orange Street at 1210 West Broadway.

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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