A Guide to Missoula Bars & Nightlife on a Budget

By AARON TRAYLOR

Let’s say you are the kind of person who doesn’t hold down a regular job with regular hours. In this economy, who does anyway? Some of us, like me for example, work five to six jobs. Anything to pay the bills!

Now let’s say you are lucky enough to actually have an evening off and yet the night doesn’t fall on a typical party night like a Friday or a Saturday. Where do you go, what do you do? And how do you do it on a budget? This is where I can help.

Allow me to point out the most tried, true, and traditional events in Missoula on any given evening that won’t break the bank:

Monday

To begin your workweek adventure, head to one of Missoula’s true nightlife cornerstones. Some describe it as an underground dive bar, but that doesn’t quite do The Palace justice. Hipster might also come to mind, but anyone who visits this unique arts and lounge bar is going to be pleased to experience a bar scene even exists on a Monday in Montana. It’s home to Milkcrate Mondays with DJs, occasional MCs, and all the interesting and trendy Missoula folk you could ask for.

Age: 21+

Address: 147 W. Broadway

Tuesday

Missoula doesn’t always have to be quiet and slow on a Tuesday. That’s why you and your special friends should make a night of it on the most uncommon of evenings by making your way down to the Holiday Inn Downtown and check out the Musician Showcase. A weekly affair inside the Brooks and Brown Bar & Grill featuring a decent Happy Hour from 4-7, followed by local music artists taking to its intimate environment around 7 p.m.

Age: All

Address: 200 S. Pattee Street

Wednesday

Why not go out to the Press Box to stimulate your brain and perhaps walk away with some free drinks? That’s right: It’s Trivial Beersuit, a night that encourages you to wear your thinking cap and actually pays you to attend with a shot at winning a free $50 bar tab! Rally your most intelligent friends and head across the bridge from campus around 8:30 p.m. for two hours of thought-provoking and free fun. Cheap drinks, too! Pitchers of PBR are $5 and $2 shots of Fireball will warm your belly.

Age: 21+

Address: 835 E. Broadway

Thursday

Now Thursday’s the night that we start to see most Missoulians come out of the woodwork. In fact, it seems that Thursdays are arguably the new Friday nights, as most party people seem to frequent bars and venues on this particular night. There are plenty of options and places to go, but if you are looking for a consistent place to dance and drink for cheap, then the Elbow Room is where it’s at. Live DJs, great music, and the cheapest progressive beer special in town, The Elbow has been a Thursday night staple for nearly three decades.

Age: 21+

Address: 1855 Stevens

Friday

It’s the kickoff to the weekend, and rather than limit you to just one venue to get your drink and groove on, my advice would be to simply start your night on Ryman Street and just see where the night takes you. Granted, some places may have a cover charge and others may have a pretty pricey drink and food menu, but trust me, if you just aimlessly wander Ryman like most Missoulians do on a Friday, you are bound to make a dollar stretch. So many options on just one block! Badlander, Palace, Red’s, Monks, Bodega, just to name a few. Ryman Street is where to simply park, then party.

Saturday

Missoula nightlife has plenty of energetic and fun venues that will keep anyone up until the late hours of the night. The Badlander on a Saturday guarantees good drinks and a very trendy crowd. With mind-blowing Elektro and Hip-Hop played all the way until last call, you will see more than your fair share of beautiful people as well as dance moves. The Badlander will keep you moving and guessing all night long with its diversity and great music selection.

Age: 21+

Address: 208 Ryman

Sunday

Again with The Badlander. This venue seems to be the only place worth visiting on the slowest of nights as Jazz Martini Night at the Badlander features an eclectic mix of DJs spinning downtempo lounge and jazz tracks in between some live performances. A perfect pace for the end of the week. Knock back a $3 martini and just groove the final few minutes of the weekend away at Missoula’s trendy downtown spot.

Age: 21+

Address: 208 Ryman

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Are there any suggestions you’d like to share with us? Where else are the places to see and be seen on any given night in Missoula? Give you favorite spot a shameless plug in the comment section below.

And if you’re looking for directions, info, or more ideas for going out in Missoula, check out the Make it Missoula nightlife page.

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America's tallest DJ, Aaron TraylorTo say he is America’s Tallest DJ wouldn’t be far from the truth when it comes to Aaron Traylor. He clocks in at a whopping 6 foot 10 inches and has been the premiere source of the Northwest’s born and raised talent for 20 years; he’s a radio disc jockey at ZooFM, turntable mix master, and a guy who has a hard time fitting into mostclothing.