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Happiest Hour: Drum Coffee


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What it is: Surely you’ve heard of Missoula’s newest coffee shop, founded by Fitz and The Tantrums drummer John Wicks and his wife, Jenna. Drum has dominated local news since its grand opening last Thursday—and rightfully so. It’s an immaculate yet cozy neighborhood coffee shop and bakery with a star-driven backstory. On the morning we visited, ABC Fox Montana was on-site to film a segment. The daily newspaper splashed Wicks and his staff across its front page. Even radio station blogs are writing about the latest addition to our competitive coffee scene.

While Wicks is grateful for the attention, his fame shouldn’t overshadow Drum’s focus what’s ultimately most important: its drinks, food, service and atmosphere.

“It takes a little bit from all of the best coffee shops I’ve visited or worked in and brings it all into one place,” says Wicks, who spent years as a barista in Seattle before his music career took off. “This is the cafe I always wanted to hang out in.”

What you’re drinking: A cortado, which is two ounces espresso cut with two ounces steamed milk, served in a Gibraltar glass. (In the Bay Area, the drink is also known as a Gibraltar.) Wicks proudly proclaims his the best in Montana.

“This is the drink I want us to be known for,” he says.

The cortado
  • The cortado

Why you’re drinking the cortado (or any other drink here):
Wicks worked with Missoula’s Black Coffee Roasting Company to create an exclusive blend for Drum. It’s based on a blend from Abraço in New York City—one of Wicks’ favorite coffee shops—and he describes it as “a classic Italian espresso” that’s “comforting and not so pungent.”

What you’re eating: Any number of global-inspired delectables, all made in an open kitchen situated right behind the register. On the day we visited, the menu included cured olive cookies ($2), chocolate babkas ($3), honey saffron cake ($3) and chorizo empanadas ($5). The “Lil-Eggies” breakfast sandwich served on brioche with pesto ($4) looked especially good.

“It’s such a competitive market, I wanted to do something to set myself apart,” Wicks says of the menu. He adds that the rotating food items are inspired by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, North African and southern Spain cuisine.

Where you’re sitting: On a barstool. While the drink and menu options certainly help Drum stand out, the feel of the place makes an equally strong first impression. Barstools overlook the espresso machine and kitchen for a diner feel, and also line the front wall, where garage-style windows can open to a spacious patio. The vibe welcomes conversation over doing work and would appear to fit perfectly with Wicks’ vision of a local hangout.

“We specifically chose this spot because of the neighborhood,” he says, noting the previous lack of a central gathering spot. “We wanted to build a place where people would want to come and hang out and feel a part of things.”

Where to find it: Drum Coffee is located at 600 South Avenue. Open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday.


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