The ‘Best’ in Missoula for Libations


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

Finalists: Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Red Robin [terrific Happy Hour]

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.

Looking for a local bar or pub? Check out our Missoula Restaurants and Dining and Missoula Nightlife sections.

   Visit the Drink It Missoula archive.


Ryan Newhouse tips one back.

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.