As someone who used to visit Missoula and my friends at the University of Montana quite frequently in my twenties, I can say I was pleasantly surprised to see two Missoula bars, Charlie B's and the Oxford, make Esquire's list of America's best bars. That said, I was shocked that the tiny college town had more entries than Seattle, where only the Zig Zag showed up.
Great picks, Chris, but what about the Union Club?
When I sent the results to a handful of current and former Grizzlies, I found out the key to Missoula's muscle: In 2009, Esquire staffer Chris Jones was a guest prof at U of M, where he was frequently escorted to Charlie B's and several bars located within the fabulously compact and action-packed downtown Missoula sauce scene.Knowing that, we wonder how the Union Club, the Old Westest bar in a town that certainly evokes the spirit, didn't make the cut. The spartan, burger flippin' Missoula Club also could have contended. (Neither of these clubs are private.)
The moral of this story? If Seattle wants to rock the list in a similar manner, UW's journalism school had better make Juicin' Jones a guest professin' offer he can't refuse. A legitimate course, in our experience, would be a course on the mystique of booze in journalism, a slice of folklore that takes a punch to the gut with each hour that the Seattle Times newsroom stays punitively dry.