Happiest Hour 

Diamond Jim's at Eastgate

Ambiance: On a recent weekday afternoon, muted televisions cast a warm glow over white-haired men and women who try their luck on Keno and poker machines. "Bad Company" plays on the radio. The cushiony red chairs that line Eastgate's bar, and the fact that casino staffer Darcy Tepp refers to patrons as "hon," makes the idea of staying for a drink inviting.

Who you're drinking with: Today, it's casino regulars, a serious crowd that sips their glasses of Natural Light that Diamond Jim's serves free in exchange for a $5 buy-in. At night, the lounge draws a harder-drinking crowd, says Tepp, one with a taste for Fireball Whisky and Jello shots.

What you're doing: Gambling and chatting with Tepp, who says that she once cashed out an $1,800 win. More typical jackpots run in the $800 range. "I've had some pretty big ones," she says.

click to enlarge JESSICA MAYRER
  • Jessica Mayrer

Booze specials: Diamond Jim's boasts an impressive selection of Jello shots, including sour grape, apple, raspberry, watermelon and strawberry flavors, that sell for $1 each. The lounge also hosts rotating Happy Hours specials. On Tasty Tuesdays, for instance, domestic drafts run $2.50, with tap microbrews going for $3. Wednesday is Ladies Night from 4 p.m. until close, featuring $2 well drinks for women. And birthday celebrants get a special present from Eastgate—buy one drink, get the next one free.

What you're eating: Gamblers get complimentary cookies and soup.

How to find it: 900 East Broadway, at the intersection of Van Buren Street.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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