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By: Ryan Newhouse

It may sound strange to say, and I admit to feeling a tiny tinge of guilt putting this down on paper, but Missoula has a bar for kids – well, at least an evening dedicated for them.

Every Friday at the Top Hat is “Family Friendly Friday” from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Hosting music since 1952, the Top Hat is one of Missoula’s premier venues for everything from jazz, rock, bluegrass, and now kid’s music.

I’ve taken my family there the last two weeks to see the Whizpops and Balinese Gamelon.

And each time, my daughter was in the center of a pack of wee ones jumping up and down and having a grand time while the parents built a perimeter of appreciative onlookers.

We parents were appreciative of several things:

It's Family Friendly Friday at the Top Hat!

1) We could take our kids to a smoke-free and safe environment at a reasonable hour, at no cost (except for a beer), and let our kids enjoy the music and company, and 2) we could enjoy ourselves at the end of the week while sipping a beverage and catching up with friends.

And as one of my friends (who now lives in Idaho) said to me, “That’s so Missoula, I love it!”

She’s right, only in Missoula would this fly so well.

Clearly, the audience who brought their kids to a bar did so for the child’s enjoyment, not to knock back a few and party.

The Whizpops!

It shows that Missoulians can respect a time and place for an event like this, and the fact that it happens every Friday and features a revolving array of live music only makes it that much more respectable in my book.

Of course, this being a blog about where and what to drink in Missoula, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a proper rundown of what the Top Hat does offer in terms of libations.

Not only do they have a full liquor bar and talented bartenders to craft your drink of choice, they offer red and white wines, a well-rounded tap line-up of local and regional micro beers, and a strong selection of bottled beers that includes a $12 Chimay.

For listing of upcoming “Family Friendly Friday” bands, check out the Top Hat website. The Whizpops will make another appearance on March 23.

I encourage you to check them out!