Tuition (in-state)
$20,896 ($6,071)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Senior

Nightlife: I'm returning student so I'm not likely to part take in the night life..

4 College Senior

Nightlife: The downtown scene in Missoula has always felt safe to me and provided lots of great memories.

2 College Student

Nightlife: The night life is dangerous here with the highest amount of reported rapes in US.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: I don't do the party life. Most of my time is spent with friends that go to a college Christian club called simple truth.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Nightlife: The bar scene gets boring because it is a smaller town.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 68th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 164th
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 1211st
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Samantha Steven
View all previous student authors

Just like the sentiment expressed in Alicia Bridges' song "I Love the Nightlife," UM students "want to go where the people dance, want some action, and want to live." The action all starts on Thursday nights, with two-for-one well drinks at the Iron Horse. From there, students can choose the classy, pricey James Bar or hick-ish, cheap Al & Vic's, both attached to the Iron Horse. If students are ready to dance, Badlander hosts its Dead Hipster Dance Party on Thursday nights, with a $3 cover and $1 well drinks all night. The AmVets, a gay dance club, features TV screens with music videos, $1 jello shots, and a glittering, packed dance floor. A good place to end the night would be Charlie B's, a bar that Esquire magazine raved about, or The Rhino, a low-key bar that makes strong drinks and offers local beer.

For those looking for nonalcoholic alternatives, Missoula regularly offers readings by local and visiting writers, and monthly "First Friday" art events, in which downtown businesses open their doors to display both professional and student art projects. The Wilma Theatre regularly hosts independent movies and documentaries, as well as concerts with mainstream, indie, and hip-hop bands, not just country. The Decemberists regularly perform in Missoula, since the band's lead singer and songwriter graduated from UM in 1998 with a creative writing degree. Local downtown coffee shops have extended hours on Friday and Saturday nights and occasionally host small music shows, some of which are sponsored by the Missoula Folklore Society. For on-campus students, the dorms provide a lounge in which students gather to watch late-night movies or play board and card games. In addition to this, the University Center movie theater features two back-to-back movies on Fridays and Saturdays. With presentation of a Griz Card, students pay only $3 per movie or a $5 deal for both.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
Ryman Street
Other Places to Check Out
  • Feruqi's
  • The Palace
  • Red's Bar
  • Top Hat Lounge
  • Union Club Bar
Local Specialties
Cold Smoke beer: Cold Smoke Scotch Ale earned a gold medal in the 2007 and 2009 National American Brewers' Association (NABA) Brewers' Fests, respectively, and a bronze medal in 2009 at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Formulated with Montana grown two-row barley Northwest Goldings hops, this hearty ale drinks very smooth. Not bitter at all and not too sweet, either. Novice beer drinkers have been known to take a taste and then say, "Wow! That's not what I expected. That's good!" A hint of roasted barley lends a slight coffee-like smoky finish.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer Pong
  • Chandeliers
  • Flip Cup
  • King's Cup
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • The Missoula Independent, a weekly newspaper
Closing Time
2 a.m.-3 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Elks Club

The Elks Club hosts Salsa Dancing Night, which includes lessons. They're also known for their blow-out Halloween parties. Lots of shirtless old people and more freaks at the Elks Club than at other clubs, though.

112 N. Pattee St.


(406) 549-0542


Badlander hosts a Dead Hipster Dance Party on Thursday nights, with a $3 cover charge and $1 well drinks. The dance floor is always packed, but there's always the stage, the two bar areas, and lounge to escape the crowd. Also, Badlander connects to the mellow Golden Rose bar, which people go to to avoid the sweaty dancing. Badlander also hosts Jazz Martini Night on Sundays, featuring $3 martinis and live jazz.

208 Ryman St.


(406) 549-0235

AmVets Club

AmVets is a gay dance club that plays mainstream pop and dance/techno hits. It features TVs with music videos, a live DJ, a pole, and $1 jello shots. Tons of girls and gay gentlemen, but also straight guys. The entrance looks more dungeon than nightclub, but just follow the music down the stairs and you're in.

225 Ryman St.


(406) 543-9174

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

James Bar

The James Bar takes the "yuppie" classiness of the Iron Horse and steps it up a notch. It has small portions of expensive but wonderful food. Dimly-lit, formal, and chic, the James Bar is connected to the more hick-ish, lowbrow bar Al & Vic's, which serves cheaper drinks and features gambling machines. James has no TVs or sports, and features black-and-white pictures of Abercrombie-esque/James Dean models.

127 W. Alder St.


(406) 721-8158

Iron Horse Brew Pub

The Iron Horse features food and a variety of cocktails and shots with clever names. It's clean and classy, with yuppies, attractive girls with red drinks, sports fans, and anyone who enjoys quality food. Plus, it's family-friendly before 9 p.m. Thursdays feature two-for-the-price-of-one well drinks. Wonderful desserts, with fried cookie dough and red velvet cake on the menu.

501 N. Higgins Ave.


(406) 728-8866

The Rhino

The Rhino offers the strongest drinks, so it's a good place to end the night (or start, if you're hardcore). It has pool tables and shuffleboards, apricot ale, local beers, and typical well drinks.

158 Ryman St.


(406) 721-6061

Stockman's Bar & Lunch

Some people grimace and stick out their tongue at the mention of Stockman's, because it features sweaty dancing, scantily-clad women, and an overabundance of jocks and Greeks, but there are several people that do not fit into those labels. It's a fun place to dance and gamble. Plus, there are poker tournaments.

125 W. Front St.


(406) 549-9668

Sean Kelly's

Sean Kelly's offers Irish food and drink classics such as Guinness Stout. Regular live bands, trivia nights on Tuesdays, and a St. Patrick's Day celebration are the pub's highlights and definitely worth checking out!

130 W. Pine St.


(406) 542-1471


The Bodega has basketball hoops, and free tater tots and steak kabobs on Fridays. It attracts a sports crowd, but certainly not exclusively. It's very relaxed and comfortable.

221 Ryman St.


(406) 549-0435

Al & Vic's Bar

Al & Vic's connects to the chic James Bar and features cheaper drinks and gambling machines. It has a more hick-ish, cowboy atmosphere. Sometimes people buy drinks at Al & Vic's and take them into the James Bar. An older crowd and PBR guys gravitate to Al & Vic's.

119 W. Alder St.


(406) 728-4804

Charlie B's

Esquire magazine voted Charlie B's as one of the best bars in the nation, as a great place "to find a beautiful woman who can gut her own trout."

428 N. Higgins Ave.


(406) 549-3589

The Golden Rose

The Golden Rose has a Las Vegas feel to it, with its red lighting and tawdry atmosphere. It connects to Badlander and also to a bar called Blah.

123 W. Broadway St.


(406) 549-4949

Flipper's Casino

Flipper's doesn't card until you actually order a drink. It's a casual sports bar with TVs, gambling options, video games, pool tables, a grill, and plenty of open space. It's quiet and chill and easy to hear people talking.

125 S. 3rd St. W


(406) 721-4895

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Elks Club

The Elks Club hosts 18-and-over dances, so the salsa dancing and Halloween parties, as well as other events, are typically open to under-21 undergrads.

112 N. Pattee St.


(406) 549-0542

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 65 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 59 responses

  • 3% There are no good options.
  • 20% Use a designated driver.
  • 24% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 12% Public transportation.
  • 2% Taxis.
  • 39% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 63 responses

  • 13% Parties? What parties?
  • 11% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 21% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 49% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 6% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 8 responses

  • 58% Downtown!
  • 25% Friends' Houses
  • 17% Fraternities

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 9 responses

  • 56% Cat/Griz game
  • 44% Foresters Ball


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