Happiest Hour 

The Hub

What you're doing: Laser tag, brah. A 12-minute game costs $8 and accommodates up to 26 players. Play with friends and against strangers, individually or as teams. At the end of the game, players get printouts detailing their laser war prowess, including how many times you got shot compared to your friends. Such records, we've found, are good to keep around for bragging rights.

Who you're playing with: Hub owner Norman Parmiter says just about everyone. On a recent Friday afternoon, it's a smattering of 20-somethings sizing up the go-carts and little kids ogling prizes in a glass case. Even old people play laser tag, Parmiter says. "Grandmas, grandpas...I mean, it's exercise, like mall walking," he says.

Ambience: The Hub has five pool tables, air hockey, go-carts, pinball machines and "Dance, Dance Revolution Extreme." It smells like French fries and has a race car painted on the wall. We can't imagine a better to way to spend a Friday night.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JESSICA MAYRER

Specials: Friday night is ladies' night, where a 14-lap go-cart race costs $10 compared to the normal $14 adult price. The Hub also has a lunch-hour special, a 12-lap race for $12. Junior carts run $8 for the first eight-lap race.

What you're drinking: A bottomless root beer in a big blue cup for $1.59 from the Hub's food counter, The Pit Stop. Sugar is the perfect drug for waging faux war.

What you're eating: Pit Stop burgers on par with quality bar fare. We recommend "the Racer," a bacon cheeseburger for $6.99.

How to find it: Take North Reserve to Expressway. It's 1.4 miles west, at 5055 Expressway. It's open now, but the grand opening celebration is Nov. 3 with plenty of prizes and free soda.

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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