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Happiest Hour: Raising the Dead at the Top Hat



What you’re listening to: On Monday nights from 5 to 7, talented Missoula bard Larry Hirshberg treats the Top Hat Lounge’s Happy Hour patrons to live recordings of Grateful Dead shows. As the curator of Raising the Dead, Hirshberg edits the recordings and projects animation and other visual curiosities onto a screen to accompany the music. On a recent Monday, Hirshberg played the set from the band’s 1974 Missoula show.

What you’re drinking: During Happy Hour, Blackfoot Single Malt IPA runs $3.75, draft beers are $2.75, Santa Rita red and white wines are $3.50 and well drinks go for $2.50.

What you’re munching on: The Happy Hour menu changes with the seasons but it currently features $4 items like lamb empanadas, zucchini and carrot fritters, caesar salad and stone-fired flatbreads including smoked salmon, antipasto and bacon-date.

Who you’re hanging out with: Young and old Deadheads, hippies and suits, plus unsuspecting patrons who came for the Happy Hour specials and stayed for the tunes.

What you’re doing: Raising the Dead isn’t a passive event. Hirshberg often approaches tables and offers listeners a chance to guess Grateful Dead songs—you listen through the headphones to a short snippet—for a free drink token.

Why you go even if you don’t like The Dead: Besides hanging out with the dry-witted Hirshberg, the main reason is the Deadhead punch card. Each night you attend Raising the Dead Happy Hour and order a Happy Hour item, you get your card punched. After six visits/hole punches, a cardholder is entitled to one free ticket to any Top Hat concert. That’s a big deal considering the venue’s propensity for bringing in big-name acts and underground favorites that appeal to Deadheads and anti-Deadheads alike.

Where to go: The Top Hat, 134 W. Front.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

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