Happiest Hour 

Silvertip Casino

Ambiance: Mirrored walls make the already spacious bar and restaurant seem even larger. Patrons take breaks from their conversations to keep tabs on the baseball and football games playing on big-screen televisions on the wall. Not far from the bar is a casino area, where mostly white-haired locals try their luck at Keno and video poker machines.

Who you're drinking with: Among the people at the gaming machines and those enjoying lunch in the Silvertip Restaurant is 84-year-old Gene Shuler. He's sipping a brandy and soda at the bar. "I'm an educated drinker," says Shuler, who attributes his ongoing virility to his beverage of choice while flexing his biceps. "I'm feeling pretty gosh-darned good."

The Silvertip is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week establishment and, as such, draws a smattering of college students on the weekends. But the casino's typical clientele, at least during our visits, more often looks like Shuler.

click to enlarge JESSICA MAYRER
  • Jessica Mayrer

What you're eating: Tasty American cuisine, but you probably already knew that from the restaurant's ad campaign featuring "The Silvertip Food Guy," who strikes a suspicious resemblance to a certain celebrity chef. The Silvertip serves pork chops, steak, prawns and chicken. It also offers a full breakfast menu featuring eggs Benedict, corned beef hash and "the Big Boy," which is chicken-fried steak served with gravy, hash browns and toast for $7.95. Keep an eye out for lunch and dinner specials.

What you're doing: In addition to playing a host of gaming machines, you're scrutinizing your opponents during nightly live poker games.

What you're drinking: The Silvertip offers screaming Happy Hour specials. Weekday afternoons between 4 and 6, well drinks run $1.50, domestic drafts are $1.75 and microbrews set you back just $2.50.

How to find it: 680 SW Higgins Ave., at the corner of Bancroft.

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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