You never know what you’ll find when you explore small town watering holes in our region. With spring just on the brink (or is it?), it’s time for a little adventure. And we’ve got a good starting place—a bar that you’ve probably driven past many times but at which you never thought to stop.
This week: Elk Range Lounge
Claim to Fame: The bar at Clearwater Junction shares a wall with a convenience store called Stoney’s Kwik Stop & Wildlife Gallery, all of which are located behind a giant plastic statue of a cow on wheels.
Who you’re drinking with: Kenny Price has owned the Elk Range Lounge, Stoney’s and the cow since 1997. He’s a laid-back character who tends bar and chats up the clientele, which includes locals from the Greenough area and staff from nearby tourist ranches like the E Bar L Ranch and the Paws Up resort. He’ll tell you stories about hunting in wild Alaska and about the time in 2001 when a Helena man torched the lounge. And the cow? “It gets shot at every year,” Price says casually.
Atmosphere: The lounge has a casino flavor, but it’s anything but bland. At least 700 signed one-dollar bills cover the walls. Saws and saw blades add an antique dimension to the place, and some of the saw blades have been hand-painted with scenes of mountains and country fields, giving the bar a little artistic color.
What you’re drinking: No drink specials here, but you can get cozy on a chilly afternoon with a pint of Moose Drool for $3. Add a pickled egg for $1.
Where to find it: Located at the junction of Montana Highway 200 and Montana Highway 83 near the Clearwater River. It’s by the cow. You can’t miss it.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.