Happiest Hour: The Forest Lounge 

Why you're here: You don't want to run into anyone you know. Maybe the hipper bars downtown are wearing you out. Maybe you're ashamed of what you said to an ex-roommate at the Mo Club and want to lay low for a while. Or maybe you just want to eat some inexpensive food and a have a really stiff drink.

What the vibe is: The Forest Lounge is a classic roadside bar and part-time restaurant, hold the frills. But its bare-bones setup is given life by an absolutely wonderful staff. They're witty as hell, extremely personable, and don't do B.S. Not that they have to—the regulars, many of whom mosey over from the apartment complex next door, tend toward the friendly, and if you avoid making a pest of yourself, they'll be delighted to chat.

What you should order: Regulars drink a lot of whiskey, so start there. I had a whiskey Coke (and my sober companion ordered a Shirley Temple). In total, that cost us $4.50, a price you couldn't even dream of seeing anywhere else.

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What about the food? The kitchen serves a litany of appetizers, from potstickers to hot wings. But on Wednesday afternoons, when the Forest Lounge is busiest, a huge prime rib special will set you back just $12.50. It also has a fantastic hangover-friendly breakfast starting daily at 8 a.m.

When to go: If you're trying to avoid a crowd, evenings seem to be the best, particularly on Sundays. If you're more interested in meeting interesting new people, head over in the afternoon.

How to get there: You can find the Forest Lounge at 3695 West Broadway, out toward the airport. If you're planning to have more than a few, consider a taxi or Uber—it's definitely a haul from most parts of town.

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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