Happiest Hour 

Plonk Missoula

The big opening: Four hours before Plonk Wine Bar officially opens, owner Brett Evje is busy fielding deliveries, consulting with craftspeople and signing off on the various permits and licenses he needs in order to open. "I've had five hours sleep in the last four days," he says, admitting that might be an exaggeration, but not by much.

Evje's work, and that of his employees, is evident in the fully renovated historic building on North Higgins. Original interior brick walls have been restored. Wines from California, Italy and France line shelves throughout the establishment. Full bottles of Bailey's, Tanqueray and Grey Goose wait to be tapped behind a custom-made granite bar. Also behind the bar are local brands painted on the wall, remnants of the area's cowboy culture. In the rear of the building, plush chairs are covered with pink and purple upholstery. Upstairs, a rooftop deck will be unveiled in May.

Plonk first opened in Bozeman. It's gained a following there for its fancy cocktails and savory appetizers. Evje, who co-owns the Bozeman bar, hopes to duplicate its success in Missoula.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF PLONK
  • Photo courtesy of Plonk

What you're drinking: "The signature cocktail is the GFC," Evje says, referring to the Great Fucking Cocktail. It's made with house-infused ginger vodka, fresh lemon and lime juice, muddled basil and simple syrup, and comes with a piece of candy ginger garnish. The GFC sells for $8.

What else you're drinking: Plonk features roughly 40 of its 250 proprietary cocktails at any given time.

What you're eating: Western, Asian, French and Spanish flavors incorporated into an upscale dining experience. Appetizers include chicken and pear salad, bison empanada and a sprawling meat and cheese tray that sells for $16.

In Bozeman, Plonk's $32 tenderloin is a top seller. Evje, however, acknowledges that Missoulians might have different tastes. "This town is a little more hip," he says.

How to find it: 322 N. Higgins Ave., in the location of the old Army-Navy store. Plonk opened March 29.

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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