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Happiest Hour: Adam Vizzo of the James Bar

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Who’s serving: With 12 years of bartending under his belt and a lighthearted, welcoming spirit, Adam Vizzo fits right in at the James Bar’s cozy, dimly lit and laid-back quarters. “I get to host a party every day, play tunes and meet a lot of new people,” he says. In the bar’s modern atmosphere, patrons are greeted by a few TVs, large portrait photos of Janis Joplin and a young Willie Nelson, a fireplace and a generous back patio. When patrons leave, Vizzo doesn’t say goodbye, but rather “see you later.”

What he's serving: While Vizzo admits his drink of choice is tequila, he says his specialty is a “damn good Manhattan.” But during a recent shift, it’s clear Vizzo can make just about a damn good anything, including a Bloody Mary described by one customer as “just perfect.” That Bloody goes especially well with the James Bar’s newly introduced Sunday brunch.

The backstory: Vizzo began bartending in Akron, Ohio, after a construction job didn’t work out. At the ripe age of 21, while learning the tricks of the trade at a neighborhood Chili’s, Vizzo hopped from Ohio to Idaho and eventually to Missoula, where he’s been tending at James Bar since 2010. You can usually spot him by his appropriately Western pearl snap shirt. “Easy on, easy off,” he says. “I found one at a thrift store and have been hunting them down ever since.”

Where to find him: The James Bar is located downtown at 127 W. Alder St., next to Al’s and Vic’s. It’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

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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