Bars Are Still the Hub of Vast State’s Small-Town Life

Blaine Harden writes in The Washington Post that In Mont., It’s Home, Home at the Saloon

The rhythms of small-town Montana bar life go something like this: Bars are often open at 8 a.m. with farmers and ranchers coming in to drink black coffee, complain about the weather and argue about things they have been arguing about for decades. Drinking usually doesn’t commence until about 3 in the afternoon. Because Montanans, especially in small towns, tend to get up early, most people go home by 9.

Here in the Big Hole Valley of southwest Montana, children often come into bars after school, especially on cold winter afternoons.

“We give ’em candy and watch out for them, until their parents get off work,” said Charlie Beck, owner of the H Bar J Saloon in Wise River, about five miles from Dewey.