Happiest Hour 

Jakers Bar and Grill

Atmosphere: At first glance, Jakers comes off as more restaurant than bar. Booths outnumber stools. The menus have multiple pages. Heck, they have a hostess at the front door. But once you're in the bar area, the place feels as cozy as any favored dive around town. Martini glasses hang from racks above the counter. There are flatscreen TVs for sports. You can get your Bayern Oktoberfest in a pint...or a stein.

Whom you're drinking with: Pretty much any collection of locals, from the early-20s set to folks fast approaching retirement. Later in the football season, when the Griz are playing plenty of away games, the maroon-and-white masses descend. Veteran waitress Kari Rainer—she's been here almost four and a half years—says, "We get the crowd that knows we've got sports playing."

What you're drinking: Don't expect an atomic Bloody Mary or Caesar here. Rainer says their versions are less spicy than most, but still insanely popular. They also make a killer mojito. "I have a friend who moved to town and she was struggling to find a mojito she liked," Rainer says. "I took her here and she said it was the best yet." And don't worry about finding your way home when you've had a few. Rainer says the place has called a few cabs in its day, so they've got your back.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN

Double your fun: If you can't make the Jakers happy hour between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, don't sweat it. You get a second chance with their late night happy hour, 9 to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 9 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday. Beers, house wines and well drinks are two for one, and they've got some mean food deals, too. Rainer says she sees lots of guys stopping in late at night for beers and an $8 wood fired pizza.

Where to find it: Head southwest on Brooks Street toward the South Hills and follow the curve. Jaker's is on your right at 3515 Brooks.

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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