Why they're pros: In the mid-1990s, the Badlander used to be a house in the lower Rattlesnake where some of the first electronic-based dance parties were held, to the chagrin of the neighbors. Now those kids who threw rambunctious parties have a legit place to bring in DJ talent.
Take your pick: You can find a dance party at the Badlander at least three times a week. Prehab Thursday nights is the newest addition, which kicks out hip hop and electronic music from popular DJs Kris Moon, James Two and Vyces. Every few Fridays or so, you might get lucky enough to hit Fishbowl Friday, where you'll witness the Ebola/BassFace Crew throw down house and dubstep. And on Saturday, Monty Carlo and other DJs rock the house with a pretty eclectic collection of popular dance music.
- Photo courtesy of Kenneth Billington
Atmosphere: If you show up on Thursday Prehab dance party night, expect to feel like you just stepped inside a trippy disco ball. The walls and floor are covered in revolving lights. Small television screens offer a mishmash of "Sesame Street" episodes, vibrant underwater ocean scenes and retro aerobic exercise classes. Discombobulated images flash across the whole west side of the wall as dance music pulses through the air.
Happy hour: You pay $2 to get into the party night on Thursdays, but for that small fee you can enjoy $1 well drinks and $1 Pabsts from 9 p.m. to midnight. Fishbowl Friday doesn't happen every week, but when it does—watch out. Fishbowls are dangerously delicious potions, at a cost of $5. Saturdays offer 2-for-1 Absolut drinks from 9 to 11 p.m.
What you're drinking: When dancers aren't indulging in happiest hour specials, they're diving into the Red Bull for a little energy boost. One favorite: mandarin orange-infused vodka with Red Bull. It's called the Patrick Swayze or Roadhouse. Natch.
Where to find it: The Badlander is at 208 Ryman at the corner of Higgins, across from Red's and The Bodega.
Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.