By RYAN NEWHOUSE
The Missoula Independent has announced its winners in the annual “Best of Missoula” reader poll, and once again we are reminded of the terrific place we get to call home.
Eagerly, I first checked out “Best Writer,” only to learn it wasn’t me – no surprise. I’m tough; I can handle rejection.
Then I got to the heart of what matters – the drinks and the best places to get them. And the winners are…
Best Restaurant Wine List – The Red Bird
Finalists: Caffè Dolce, Pearl Café
Best Beer Selection – The Rhino
Finalists: Tamarack, Kettlehouse
Best Retail Beer Selection – Worden’s
Finalists: Orange Street Food Farm, Pattee Creek Market
Best Retail Wine Selection – Worden’s
Finalists: CVS, Good Food Store
Best Outdoor Dining [and drinking] – Finn & Porter
Finalists: Iron Horse Brew Pub, Old Post
Best Convenience Store [for the last-minute beer run] – Grizzly Grocery
Finalists: Holiday on Higgins, Ole’s on Orange
Best Liquor Store – Grizzly Liquor
Finalists: Krisco Liquor, Diamond Jim’s
Best Place to Eat Alone [and still grab a beer] – Taco Del Sol [PBR, need I say more?]
Finalists: The Bridge [I mean, just look at that deli case of beer bottles], Good Food Store [only beer to-go]
Best Burger [goes great with beer] – The Missoula Club
Best Sports Bars – The Press Box
Finalists: Tamarack, Elbow Room
Best Bloody Mary – The Last Run Inn [a perennial favorite]
Finalists: The Rhino, Old Post
Best Martini – Finn & Porter
Finalists: James Bar, The Badlander
Best Margarita – James Bar
Finalists: El Cazador, Rowdy’s Cabin
Best Bar for a Stiff Pour [some days you just need one] – Al’s and Vic’s
Finalists: Charlie B’s, The Rhino
Best Happy Hour [aren’t all hours happy when you’re at a bar?] – Jakers Bar & Grill
Finalists: Finn & Porter, Tamarack
Best Microbrewery – Kettlehouse
Finalists: Bayern Brewing, Draught Works
Best Brew – Kettlehouse Cold Smoke
Finalists: Kettlehouse Double Haul, Big Sky Summer Honey
Best Bar – Charlie B’s
Finalists: James Bar, The Rhino
Best Bartender – Greta Garr, Top Hat
Finalists: Claude Alick at The Golden Rose, Winter Sanor at Al’s and Vic’s
And finally…The Best Way to Spend your 21st Birthday [according to the Missoula Independent staff] is “Bar hopping downtown.” Of course it is!
What do you think? Agree or disagree with the selections above? Share with us.
Thirsty for more? Missoula’s beverage expert, Ryan Newhouse, has plenty on tap: Family Friendly Fridays at the Top Hat, Meet Missoula’s Serious Scotch Gals, and Get Your Summer Drink Mixers at the Missoula Farmers’ Markets.
Ryan Newhouse has lived in Missoula since 2002 and has tipped his glass in most of the town’s establishments. He is (in no particular order) a full-time writer, husband, and parent, and a part-time zymurgist. He makes a mean hard cider and pairs his cocktails with dishes from his blog, Cooked Animals: Recipes for Wild Game.His latest concoction is Montana Beer Finder.