Good drinks abound in Bozeman, but what if you had to choose just one drink from each watering hole? No lingering over endless pitchers at the Hauf or lighting your pocketbook on fire for round after round at the Bacchus.
Instead of wearing ruts into a few blocks of sidewalk downtown, branch out and try somewhere other than the main slog of college bars. What follows is a non-scientific exploration of some of Bozeman’s most interesting places to knock one back, none of which you’ll find downtown.
Start the most important meal of the day off right by heading to the Cateye Café for the best mimosas in town. While you’re there, give your waitress a bit of sass (she’ll give it right back) and try the banana bread French toast.
Head to lunch at Tarantino’s on 7th Ave. This place used to be a delightfully dingy dive called the Dock, but Tarantino’s pizza and tascas are decidedly better than what used to pass for Thai food. As the one place in town where you can obtain beer from Neptune’s Brewery in Livingston, bring a growler to fill with the chocolate cream porter, the Trappist ale or whatever else is on tap.
Fill your three-drink quota at either the landmark Bozeman Brewing Company, the relatively new406 Brewing or the soon-to-openBridger Brewing. When in doubt, try a seasonal — they’re usually interesting and are only available for short periods. As a standby, ask for a pint of Bozone Amber or 406’s brown porter.
While you’re keeping it local, find a buddy with a car to take you out to RoughStock Distillery in Four Corners for a sample of some 100 percent Montana whiskey. RoughStock was the first (legal) distillery in Montana since Prohibition, but now distilleries are popping up all across the state, with some in Billings, Butte and Missoula all within the last couple years.
Eat dinner atMontana Ale Works and be sure to take full advantage of their stellar beer menu — perhaps the best in town. Try something you can’t get anywhere else by checking out their rotating taps menu.
Spend some time wandering around the Barmuda Triangle, with its three points comprised of the Haufbrau, the Molly Brown and the Scoop. All of them offer cheap drinks, with locals and college students downing beer like PBR and Montucky Cold Snacks. Hit the Scoop for pool, the Molly for gaming and occasional live music or trivia, and the Hauf for music and tables etched with names dating back to 1962.
If you can find a safe ride, go enjoy the ambiance out at the Filling Station. Even though the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act chipped away at the Filler’s grimy charm by removing its ceiling-to-floor clouds of smoke, you can catch some great music out here.
Get some of the cheapest drinks you’ll find anywhere in town at the rough-and-tumble Cat’s Paw ($2 Jaeger and $5 pitchers of any beer if you hit the right nights), but book it out of there before you get sucked into a fight or one their gambling machines.
Now that you’re feelin’ good, carefully cross 7th Ave. (use a crosswalk) over to Mixers for some dancing and the promise of drinking from a glass boot on Thursday nights.
And if you can stomach all that, treat yourself to a big mug of water the moment you stumble into your house.
If Brent missed your favorite drink or hole-in-the-wall, let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d love to hash it out with you over a pint.