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Are you one of the lucky folks that is planning a visit or currently visiting Glacier Country, Montana? Once you’ve caught your breath from the beauty of the surroundings and the many things to do in Northwest Montana, you’ll probably want to get settled. You might want to know where to eat in Whitefish, or Kalispell, or Big Fork. You also may want to know where to grab a drink in Whitefish, or Kalispell, or Big Fork. Read on to find out about some of my favorite watering holes in Whitefish, Montana.
Maybe You Want to Grab a Drink in Whitefish of the Non-Alcoholic Variety?
I know Kombucha on tap is very hip, but some people just can’t stomach the flavor of fizzy, sour ferment (e.g., my husband.) Fortunately, Whitefish Montana bucks this trend with Huck’s Place Ginger Brew and Juice Bar.
When I walked into the Whitefish Marketplace, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. As a WSET Sommelier, I had hoped to visit Unleashed Winery in the same space, but as it was before noon on a weekday, the winery was closed. The folks at Huck’s Place were smiley and offered taste samples, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
The story behind Huck’s Place is that the man on which the logo was based was diagnosed with cancer and thus modified his diet in an effort to prolong his life. He increased his clean juice intake, and added antioxidant rich ginger to his diet. While he unfortunately lost his battle to cancer, his daughter and family continue to honor his memory by sharing his recipes with the public.
While the entire marketplace qualifies as where to eat in Montana, even without room for a meal, it’s a great spot to hang. The Habanero Ginger Kombucha at Huck’s Place was delightfully spicy without being “hot,” and a fellow visitor from England was just as blown away as I was. With the communal marketplace seating, you can choose to sit at the bar, or sit at one of the tables of the gallery.
For Great Cocktails and Spirits from a Local Female Owned Distillery…Try Spotted Bear Spirits
If you are looking for an equally stylish and welcoming spot to grab a drink, head to Spotted Bear Spirits. The cocktails are so artfully crafted using proprietary spirits and locally grown fruits and vegetables–– like Montana sugar beets–– to make $8-$11 drinks. Don’t expect to have a meal on premise, however. For that, you’ll want to check out where to eat in Whitefish, Montana. This is a pre-dinner drink kind of place.
Why a Pre-Dinner Drink? What about late night? Hold your horses, buckaroos. Because there is a distillery on-site, local legislation only permits the tasting room to be open until 8 PM nightly. Additionally, there is a two-drink maximum per person. To be honest, I love this. It makes sure you neither spend too much money on drinks, nor get too inebriated. There is so much to do in Northwest Montana, spending a day hungover would be an utter waste.
For the Most Impressive Wine List in Montana…Try the Snug Bar at Café Kandahar
Café Kandahar is ritzy as all get out, but if you don’t feel like shelling out $70+/person on a prix fixe meal, head to their very intimate bar instead. Called Snug Bar, this is a great place to get a drink in Whitefish, Montana, especially if wine is your drink of choice. Café Kandahar consistently wins Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast wine program accolades, and the sommeliers who work there are very well trained. Besides, they can tell you what kind of wine will go great with that elk burger!
For an Extremely Welcoming and Family Friendly Spot…Grab a Drink at Bonsai Brewing Project
Have you ever been to a place that immediately makes you feel comfortable? You know, that sort of, “I-could-sit-here-for-hours” feeling? That’s what you get when you visit Bonsai Brewing Project. Maybe it is the original art by the various family members of the owners. Maybe it’s the smiles on all the customers, and the tasty food they offer up. It could be the beer, but it really is more than just the beer. If you are fortunate enough to visit in warmer months, the outdoor patio is just divine. The gardens and sculptures are quite exquisite and it’s far enough off Wisconsin Avenue that traffic sounds won’t be an issue. Of my entire trip, this is where I most recommend to grab a drink in Whitefish.
Sidenote: if you are looking for a tour that is beer focused and also responsible, I highly recommend calling on the services of Big Sky Brews Cruise. They will take you around Whitefish (and beyond) to lead you on brewery tours. No need for a designated driver because you already have one!
Looking for a Rooftop? Head to Skybar at Casey’s
For a city dweller like myself, it’s pretty magnificent when I find a great rooftop bar in Chicago. At ground level, there is often not much to see other than the facade of another skyscraper. At Skybar, you can see the mountains in every direction, and have some fantastic cocktails while doing so. Heights make you dizzy? Head down two floors to Casey’s for a dose of mountain hospitality. Please note: Skybar is open seasonally and closed in the winter.
When You Want to Grab a Drink with a Rustic, Mountain Themed Backdrop..Head to the Bar at The Firebrand Hotel
Sometimes you want to act like an adult at summer camp. When I head to the mountains, I want the culture to envelop me like a bear skin rug. So when I saw that the bar at The Firebrand Hotel had cozy blankets, exposed timber and brick, taxidermied stags and leather couches, it was exactly what I was hoping for. If you are like me and love wine, check out their once a month wine school where they do a deep dive on a particular region or style of wine. If you prefer cocktails, they do that pretty well, too.
When You Want a Great Beer and a Case or Two to Bring Hiking/Boating/Sitting in your Hotel Room…Head to Great Northern Brewery
As the first craft brewery in the valley, Whitefish’s Great Northern Brewery knows how to make a darn good beer. This year, they will celebrate 25 years of brewing and I can only imagine what sort of limited edition releases may follow. My favorite of their line up is the Big Mountain Tea Pale Ale. Brewed with Earl Grey tea, it is unlike anything I have ever tasted and is delicious. They also offer their canned beer in cases, which means their beer travels easily!
Have you been somewhere to grab a drink in Whitefish, Montana that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to know about it! Drop your favorite in the comments and I’ll make to check it out next time I’m back in town. Cheers!
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