No more pole dancing at the Union Club 

Why you're there: The Union Club got itself a facelift. The bar recently closed down for a few weeks to replace the dance floor and tear out a large load-bearing column. The column had been a mildly irritating barrier to Union Club dancers for more than 100 years, and now that it's gone the room feels wider and the views from barstool to stage are unhindered.

What you're drinking: Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and features well drinks and domestic pints for $2. There are also daily specials featuring shots, tallboys and pitchers, but we recommend rolling in on Mondays, when you can get microbrews for $3 a pint.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIKA FREDRICKSON
  • photo by Erika Fredrickson

What you're doing: If you're there on a weekend night, you're dancing on the bar's new hardwood floor. But if you're there on a Monday, you're probably playing pool and listening to karaoke renditions of "Black Velvet" and "Sweet Caroline" (and if you're lucky, "The Monster Mash").

Why the makeover works: The Union Club is still a place where union workers and old-school townies come to unwind, and the dance floor, new tiling and dark-red sponge-painted walls haven't taken away from the bar's laidback flavor. Removing the column didn't diminish the bar's historical feel, either, though according to one bartender some people are now complaining that they liked being able to lean on the column when they grew tired of dancing. You can't please everybody.

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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