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Whitefish — Apres-ski and nightlife

On the mountain, The Hellroaring Saloon serves some of the best apres-ski nachos anywhere. Best deal: If you buy a Hellroaring baseball cap you get your second beer free every day you wear it to the bar. Moguls Village Pub has nightly entertainment, as well as “Powder Hour” Mondays with instructors pouring free beer and yakking about skiing and the mountain during apres-ski. The Bierstube (a.k.a. “The Stube”) offers free beer every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the Frabert Clod of the Week Award, presented each week to the employee or visitor who commits the biggest goof-up. On warm days, the crowds overflow onto the deck, with its gorgeous views of the valley.

In Whitefish, it’s worth a visit to the Palace Bar on Central Avenue just to see its turn-of-the-century carved mahogany bar. Great Northern Bar & Grille on Central Avenue has live music from Thursday to Saturday and acoustic open-mic on Tuesday. Locals come for the burgers and wide selection of microbrewery beers and stay for the music and general debauchery. For free beer, stop by the Great Northern Brewery, home of Snow Ghost Winter Lager, with a friendly tasting room open to the public noon–8 p.m.

Another top spot is Dire Wolf, a favorite hangout for Big Mountain’s boarders and teleskiers. It’s just outside town on the road down from the ski area.

Having all the Central Avenue bars lined up makes it easy to check out the scene and decide where you want to set up camp. Choose from the no-smoking Truby’s; Casey’s, in the oldest building in town; and the no-smoking sports bar (high school sports, that is) Bulldog Saloon. Like martinis? Then head to Paddle & Axe Saloon, with a great dinner menu to boot. For a more mellow time, plan on going to the lounge at The Grill in the Grouse Mountain Lodge.

For later night carousing, try the Remington, with gaming machines and poker, or the Palace Bar, both on Central Avenue. For a no-glitz, real cowboy evening—complete with live foot-stomping music and longneck beer bottles—head to the Blue Moon Nite Club in Columbia Falls at the intersection of Hwys. 2 and 40.

Photo courtesy of Whitefish Mountain Resort