Food & Drink » Happiest Hour

Happiest Hour

Charlie B's



Who you're drinking with: A regular crowd of full-time drinkers converges just about every morning before 10. On a recent morning, the regulars are all men. Most of them are over 40. They wear baseball caps and are missing teeth. A more mainstream crowd piles in for lunch, enjoying great bar food served up by the Dinosaur Café, nestled in the rear of the establishment. As afternoon wears into evening, artists, writers, college students and pool sharks pile in. Politicians love the place, too. It's not unusual to spot Missoula County Democratic Party leaders talking strategy over whiskey as the sun goes down and Charlie's regulars, after a full day of drinking, sink further into their barstools.

Ambiance: Photographer Lee Nye's gritty portraits of Charlie's patrons add an artsy vibe to the joint's distinctly blue-collar feel. Positioned at "the corner of space and time," Indy readers year after year vote Charlie's among the best places for a stiff pour. The dive bar also boasts a national following, with Esquire magazine last year naming it a favorite haunt. According to Esquire, Charlie's is "Without question the best place in the country to find a beautiful woman who can gut her own trout."

What you're eating: Cajun cuisine, including such delicacies as etouffee, po' boy sandwiches, jambalaya and gumbo. Nearly all menu items run less than $10.

What you're drinking: Select from a full bar stocked with local brews and hard booze. Blackfoot IPA pints, PBR and whiskey are favorites.

How to find it: 428 N. Higgins Avenue at Spruce Street.

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

Add a comment