Ready to get your weekend on? Here's another installment of our Happiest Hour column—which we post every Friday—so you can get a jump on it.
This week: The Central Bar & Grill
Claim to fame: Downtown’s newest bar. Jenny Rudh and Ryan “Rusty” Faris—former bartenders from the Badlander—opened The Central Friday, Feb. 5, with chef Gus Dazaobregon. They’re still honing the bar’s identity, but it already has one thing the rest of the Badlander/Palace/Golden Rose complex doesn’t: food. They also have Stella Artois on tap in chilled glasses, which seems to have the barflies buzzing.
What you’re drinking: Beer, wine and cocktails, but Rudh’s specialty is The Dark and Stormy ($6.50).
How the barkeep makes it:
Toss in two shots of dark rum, some ginger brew and a lime.
What you’re eating: Dazaobregon’s proud of his food and he’s constantly seen checking up on his patrons. You could order a full meal but the best accompaniment for your beer: Fried plantains, sweet potato fries, wings or nachos. The kitchen’s open until 3 a.m. Thu.—Sat., and 11 p.m. all other nights.
Where you’re sitting: The Central features a wide-and-roomy horseshoe bar. As one patron said, “It’s wide enough that you aren’t face-to-face with that guy sitting across from you, who might get pissed because he thinks you’re staring him down and so he throws a punch.” Sounds like this patron is talking from experience.
Atmosphere: Still developing, but a relaxed feel similar to an old hotel bar. Large mirrors cover the back wall, full windows overlook Broadway and all the vintage dressings—dimmed wall lights, archways, copper molding—give it a touch of class. Bottom line: tons of potential.
Happy hour: $6 beer and burger, $6 1/2 order of wings and a beer, $14 full wings, from 5 to 8 p.m.
How to find it: 147 W. Broadway, in the Historic Palace Hotel.
Happiest Hour is a new column that celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.