Friday, October 22, 2010

Road Photo Friday: A River. In A Bar.

Hunting traditions are funny things. For three years now, Jon and I have visited the Montana Tavern in Lewistown. It's a friendly dive, just the way we like it.

It's old school, with pool tables, a long bar, and precious little in the way of foo-foo drinks.

Every year, despite my better judgment, I order a shot of Yukon Jack here, and every year I swear it's going to be the last time I subject myself to that rotgut.

The jukebox is decidedly 21st century, wirelessly piping in damn near any tune you can think of. When the jukebox is silent, you're entertained by the din of a surprisingly active police scanner behind the bar -- a nice touch.

I'm not sure if we fell into the actually, apparently, obviously (or ridiculously) camp.

But the wackiest thing about the Montana Tavern is a feature that we somehow missed for the two previous years. A river runs through the damn place.

It's sort of hidden in the corner, but there it is, sure as shit. Enclosed in pine, plexiglas and rebar, you can look down through a cutout hole in the floor and see an honest-to-God artesian spring creek flowing underneath the bar.

Lewistown was built over this spring creek, and it has flowed through the bar for as long as it's existed. Local lore has it that the original owner fished while he worked, and reliable sources confirm that there is indeed a decent-sized brownie that frequents the watering hole (so to speak). It's also said that bartenders used to keep the kegs chilled in the cold spring-fed water. The rebar gate was added when locals would float the creek after the bar had closed and help themselves to purloined refreshments.

It's hard to argue with this claim.

Above the river shrine rests these treasures. A portrait of a bare-breasted indian woman and an apparent knockoff of same to the left, a couple fish mounts, and a really odd-looking beaded, feathered antelope horn mount.

If you're ever in the neighborhood, it's a must see. Heck, you might just start a tradition of your own. Just stay the hell away from the Yukon Jack, hoser.


  1. Great blog entry, We hope to be there next year! We really like your articles.

  2. Awesome entry! Terrific photography! I have in mind a dream trip to Montana next season, but can't get the cool bird hunting out of my mind that exists right here in Colorado this year. It's a sick mission, but I hope to tackle a few different species that are right in my own back yard before I move on to another state.

    I'm kicking around a return trip to Craig in October to fish the Missouri BWO hatch, and then throwing in some ducks before heading East for a mixed bag of birds. I'm sure I'll be picking your brain as I plan that adventure.