Happiest Hour 

The Reno's Karaoke

Who's hosting: Jesse LaRocque isn't just a KJ at the Reno bar in East Missoula, queueing up songs for out-of-tune drunks. He's also a DJ/VJ who plays some of his own mash-ups between karaoke songs and projects music videos on a big screen for everyone's viewing pleasure. You might see the Flying Lizards' 1979 video "Money, That's What I Want" or Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It." In other words, cool videos you haven't laid eyes on since MTV got so lame a decade ago.

What you're drinking: If you hit happy hour between 4 and 6:30 p.m. any day of the week, you get 75 cents off any drink. But if you're showing up for karaoke to belt out some tunes, you're drinking a Pabst pounder for $3.

What you're singing: Almost anything. The karaoke books are gigantic and organized by song and artist. Bad English? Check. MGMT? Check. Garth Brooks? Of course.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RENO CASINO
  • Photo courtesy of the Reno Casino

Who you're drinking/singing with: A diverse crowd. On a recent late night, the dance floor is populated with a handful of bachelor and bachleorette partiers wearing dangerously short shorts and tube socks, plus one white-haired older gentleman in worn Levis who, frankly, has some pretty slick moves. The karaoke singers were a mix of talent, but one top-notch singer tackled Cherry Poppin' Daddies "Zoot Suit Riot" with nary a stumble.

When to go: You could spend a full Saturday at the Reno, which provides $2 drafts, breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a free Griz bus into town on game days. But if you want to get your karaoke on, just stroll in any Friday, Saturday or Sunday night at 9 p.m. and live out your singing fantasy.

How to find it: The Reno Casino bar and restaurant sits in plain view at 3650 Highway 200 East, in East Missoula.

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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