Great Falls has no shortage of locally-owned breweries and craft cocktail lounges. Our great city also has no shortage of snow and frost once October rolls around… what better way to escape the cold than a drink with family or friends?
Fun fact: on average, the Electric City gets 58 inches of snow annually (even though it feels like 58 inches weekly!). Local brewers and mixologists have curated winter drinks for every taste bud. Hurry though – many of these drinks are seasonal or will only be sold as long as stock lasts.
1. The Tom and Jerry, City Bar and Casino
This one is a must. Undoubtedly the most famous cocktail in Great Falls, City Bar’s special Tom and Jerry cocktail consists of an egg-and-sugar foam served over hot milk and spiced rum, sprinkled with nutmeg. Trust us, it’s warm-you-up-from-the-inside good.
City Bar and Casino has been owned and operated by the same family – the Watson’s – since 1939 when they opened. Eighty years later, the bartenders still wear white shirts with ties and serve tasty lunches and appetizers. Whether you need a quick place to stop for lunch or a lively location to escape the cold, the City Bar and Casino is a Great Falls staple.
This year, Tom and Jerry season begins November 4 and runs through New Year’s Day. Get it while you can!
Location: 709 Central Ave. Great Falls, MT.
Hours: Mon-Sun 9AM – 2PM
2. Crème Brûlée White Russian, Elevation 3330
Sorry Santa, we’ll be enjoying the milk and cookies this year. Elevation 3330 has three cocktail specials this season, including the must-try sweet and creamy Crème Brûlée White Russian: Disaronno liqueur, Kahlua coffee liqueur, caramel sauce and half & half served with a special cookie crumble rim. This drink tastes like curling up next to a fire while a dimly-lit Christmas tree twinkles in the background.
Having opened in April 2019, this “new kid on the block” has no shortage of craft beers and handcrafted cocktails. Owners Trever Ziegler, Brandon Cartwright and Joe Anderegg keep 24 craft beers and six wines on tap at all times. Elevation 3330 also offers an array of sharable plates and snacks (think: charcuterie boards and black pepper Parmesan popcorn), all sourced from local or family-owned small businesses.
Location: 410 Central Ave. Great Falls, MT.
Hours: Tue-Thurs 3:30PM – 10 PM, Fri and Sat 3:30-11PM
3. Bonneville Brandy Blazer, KellerGeist
KellerGeist may be a German pub, but the Bonneville Brandy Blazer has its origins at The Bonneville in London. This sweet and smooth mixture of German brandy, orange and demure liqueurs and fresh berries is torched over a glass of cold water before being sprinkled with cinnamon and served hot. Can you say, “Another round, bitte”?
KellerGeist – literally, “ghost in the cellar” – was opened last winter by Great Falls-native Jolene and German-born husband Matthias Schalper. The couple plan to expand into the building, which, when built in 1886, was the first two-story building in Great Falls. The space will be used as a community theater and mini-bar, hosting themed movie nights and plays by local acting troupes. As far as the reason behind the pub’s name… that you’ll have to ask Jolene or Matthias.
Before you leave, make sure to enjoy a mug of homemade glühwein, a warm, spiced red wine drink – a must-try German staple. Prost!
Location: 111 Central Ave. Great Falls, MT.
Hours: Tue-Wed 4 PM – 10 PM, Thurs- Sat 4 PM- 12 PM
4. Sip n’ Dip Fishbowl, Sip n’ Dip Lounge
Get a taste of summer this winter with one of Sip ‘n Dip’s famous fishbowl cocktails, a glorious 10-shot mixture of white, spiced, and coconut rums, blue Curaçao and blue maui topped off with assorted fruit juices. Bright blue and alcohol heavy, you’ll be feeling like you’re on a Caribbean vacation in no time.
The Sip n’ Dip Lounge may have fake palm trees and seashells, but this Great Falls hotspot isn’t your typical tiki bar. Starting at 6 PM every Monday through Saturday, real mermaids flip and float through the water past the giant glass window at the bar. If you’re lucky, Piano Pat will be playing American classics at the same piano she’s graced for the past 54 years. We’re not joking, check it out.
If you get hungry, you can order from an array of delicious appetizers and signature entrees from 4-and-a-half star restaurant Clark and Lewie’s, located downstairs (plus they bring the food to the bar for you).
Location: 17 7th St. S, Great Falls, Montana
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30 AM – 2:00 AM, Sun 12 AM – 12 AM
5. Alpha Wulf, The Mighty Mo Brew Co.
The Mighty Mo Brew Co. in downtown Great Falls brews all of their beers in-house, including the must-try Alpha Wulf. This fresh hop IPA is the antidote to any cold Montana night – not to mention a truly local beer experience: the hops used to brew Alpha Wulf come from a local farm five minutes south of Great Falls, allowing for less than 36 hours between when the crops are harvested and when the brewing process begins. Cheers to drinking local!
Owners Seth Swingley and Casey Kingsland are brewing up several winter specials this year, including a Mexican chocolate stout, an oatmeal stout and a Norwegian spruce tip ale… yes, it was hard to choose a favorite. The Mighty Mo is also known for their hearty pizzas, sold by the pie or the slice.
Every Monday is Raise-A-Pint Night, when the Mighty Mo donates $1.00 from every pint sold between 5-8 PM to support local organizations and nonprofits. So raise a pint, eat a pizza and make a difference this winter at the Mighty Mo Brew Co.!
Location: 412 Central Ave. Great Falls, MT
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11 AM – 8 PM
6. Hot Buttered Rum, The Celtic Cowboy
Everything at this Irish pub is mixed, whipped or made in-house, including their special homemade Hot Buttered Rum recipe. The batter of unsalted butter, brown sugar, hand-whipped whipped cream, cinnamon and nutmeg is mixed with spiced rum and boiling water and served hot. Bar Manager Spencer will be whipping up a batch of Hot Buttered Rum batter mid-November and will serve it until it’s gone, so you *butter* get it while you can!
The Celtic Cowboy menu boasts of over 100 Scotch, Irish, American and Canadian whiskeys and a variety of hand-mixed seasonal cocktails (even the eggnog is made in-house!). There are always 31 beers and 8 wines on tap and on ever-changing rotation.
The food menu, which includes a classic Irish breakfast, Fish and Chips, and their Famous Bread Pudding French Toast, undoubtedly has a pair to whatever you’re drinking. So eat up, drink up and be merry at the Celtic Cowboy this winter!
Location: 116 1st Ave S, Great Falls, Montana
Hours: Sun – Thurs 6:30 AM – 11 PM, Fri and Sat 6:30 AM – 12 PM
Whether you say “Cheers,” “Prost,” “Salud,” or “Santé” – wherever you’re from or wherever you’re going, don’t miss these five drinks during your trip to Great Falls, MT this winter. Enjoy!
Soren Chargois is a third-generation Great Fallsian who enjoys international travel, telling stories and managing Digital Content for the Duke University Alumni Association. She guest writes for Great Falls Tourism to highlight all that her hometown has to offer, from regional food and drink to special events to local entrepreneurial ventures. Follow her on LinkedIn.