Happiest Hour 

The Lochsa Lodge

Who you're hanging out with: On a recent afternoon, a family wearing pointy "Happy Birthday" hats and white-haired tourists who munch on hamburgers. As the summer sets in, an increasing number of rafters, hikers and bikers keen to experience the Clearwater-Lochsa Wild and Scenic River Corridor will flock to the Lodge.

Ambiance: Inside the dining room, a locally harvested black wolf lies stuffed and prone not far from the wolverine pelt hanging on the wall. The taxidermy, coupled with the restaurant's wooden décor, creates a rustic feel. There's also an outdoor deck nestled among the towering grand fir, larch and cedar trees.

What you're eating: During the summer, the Lodge sells a lot of "Breakfast Rafter" sandwiches, says resort manager Kelly Haley. For $5.99, you get eggs, cheese and your choice of sausage, bacon or ham on Texas toast. The Lochsa burger, topped with ham, Swiss and American cheese is a favorite for lunch at $9.99. And at night, nachos topped with your choice of chicken, chorizo or steak sell briskly, too. Haley calls them a good deal at $10.99. "It's a heaping mound," she says.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAN DAVEY
  • photo courtesy of Alan Davey

What you're drinking: Among the Lodge's most popular drinks is the dark and smooth Irish Death, an ale from the Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, Wash. A pint runs $4. Haley speaks admiringly, however, of the Lodge's wine sangria served with seasonal fruit. A colorful 23-ounce glass costs $7.99. "They're really pretty," Haley says.

Happy Hour specials: The Lodge is selling Pabst Blue Ribbon through the end of April for $1.50. Ask about rotating Thursday night drink deals.

How to find it: Lochsa Lodge is 57 miles from Missoula, just off Highway 12.

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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