Happiest Hour 

Alcan Bar and Grille

Ambience: On a recent Friday afternoon the aroma of fried food fills the air inside Frenchtown's Alcan Bar and Grille. Bartender Kelsey Wigal chats with a man in a black cap and blue jeans who drinks a Miller High Life at the wooden bar, which, facing two large-screen TVs and emblazoned with cattle brands, looks inviting.

Who you're drinking with: Today, it's Wigal, the man in the black cap and three Japanese tourists looking for pizza. Wigal says the crowd is typically composed of working-class locals. Or, she adds, nodding toward the black-capped regular at the bar, "Not working."

What you're eating: The Alcan doesn't serve pizza, as Wigal tells the tourists. But it does offer an eclectic menu that features empanadas, hot wings and Indian tacos, among other things. We like the Wazoo Burger, made with local beef and topped with mushrooms, egg and ham. For $8, the Wazoo comes on a sesame bun and is served alongside a side of fries, tater tots or a salad.

  • photo courtesy of Susie Rosett

What you're drinking: At $2.25 a pint, Bud Light is the most popular beverage among Alcan patrons, Wigal says. Regulars also like Kettlehouse's Cold Smoke and Big Sky's Summer Honey, both of which sell for $3 a pint. The Alcan also offers a full bar.

What you're doing: On Friday nights, performing karaoke. On Saturdays, dancing to live music. "We get cover bands that just sing whatever," Wigal says. "And we get country bands. Every now and then, a group of fiddlers comes through."

Happy Hour specials: Monday through Friday afternoons between 4 and 6, the Alcan knocks 25 cents off all drinks.

How to find it: Take I-90 west from Missoula for 14.7 miles to exit 89, turn left on Demur Street and make another left on Beckwith. The Alcan is at 16780 Beckwith.

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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