The difference between a good drink and a great drink can depend on where and who you’re enjoying it with. Finding yourself in the mountains with friends, next to a crackling fireplace, cocktail in hand, is one of those times where you might tell yourself, “This is a great drink.” The majesty of the fireside libation is no secret to Montanans and, as such, there are lots of good fireplaces here to post up next to with a cold (or hot) one. These, in our opinion, are some of the great ones:
There simply isn’t a more comfortable place to enjoy happy hour than on top of a mountain … as long as you’re in Big Sky. Just take a ride up the all-new Ramcharger 8 chairlift (it has heated seats and a bubble to protect riders from the elements) and in a matter of minutes you’ll be dropped off at the doorstep of Everett’s 8800. Everett’s is an elegant, yet rustic restaurant that sits high on Andesite mountain, with no roads in or out*. The interior is warm and inviting, much like that of a traditional Montana cabin, but the best place to post up is on the deck, next to the giant outdoor fireplace. With an endless stack of firewood, maximum exposure to sunshine and an unbeatable hot cocktail list that includes winter warmers such as the Black Diamond Hot Toddy and 88 Below (Everett’s unique take on Irish Coffee), a trip to Everett’s will take the chill off any winter day.
*During regular skiing hours, Everett’s 8800’s guests may ride up, then ski down. During dinner hours, guests ride the chairlift up, and then back down to the base area.
Horn and Cantle at Lone Mountain Ranch
Lone Mountain Ranch is nestled deep in the woods between Big Sky’s Meadow and Mountain Villages. Lone Mountain Ranch is most famous for its extensive network of precisely manicured Nordic skiing trails, and the restaurant here, Horn and Cantle, is known by locals and long-time visitors alike as one of the coziest places to relax, next to their giant copper-clad fireplace, listening to live acoustic music, while sipping on a local cocktail. Horn and Cantle has one of—if not the best—Montana Whiskey selections in the world. Available in single servings, but recommended in flights, make sure you don’t miss out on discovering your new favorite spirit. If you’re into something sweeter but equally as strong, ask for a sample of their in-house-barrel-aged Manhattan. They’re a top-seller for a reason.
Sometimes, no matter how cold it is, you just want a beer. Nobody gets this sentiment more than the crew at MAP Brewing in Bozeman, which is why they keep the stone fireplace in the tap room just as hot as their beer is cold, all winter long. Here, plenty of living room-style seating surrounds the fire, where an attentive waitstaff makes sure your pint is never empty, so you don’t have to worry about it. Hop-heads will be in heaven here, as MAP offers several types of IPAs among their award-winning selection, along with the other styles you’ve come to expect to see at a microbrewery, as well as some styles of beer you may have never heard of. If you’re hungry, stop by the food counter before you hit the couch, and pick up a charcuterie board or some local lamb sliders to share with the gang as you warm your bones.