Well, I've reached a pretty magical number - big number One Hundred. This is my 100th post - and I'm so pleased to get here. Unfortunately, for anyone who was looking forward to a little Sneak Peek Saturday, I have been out of town at the Montana Rural Water Convention (in Great Falls) all week and I wasn't able to prepare a post.
So, instead, I have something a little weird and wacky for you. Great Falls is home to a institution, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's the Sip n Dip Bar, attached to the O'Haire Motor Inn, in downtown Great Falls. Most of these pics are from their site.
I 'm pretty much a lifelong Montanan, and I had never been to the Sip n Dip. To tell you the absolute truth, I'm not much of a bar-goer - I would much rather hang with friends at home, but GQ magazine named this the #1 bar in the United States - supposedly one for which you should consider buying an airline ticket and flying in just to visit this nightspot. I'm not so sure I would go that far, but when a friend at the convention advised me that he was planning to hit the Sip n Dip the last full evening of the convention, I jumped at the chance to go. Several of us from my workplace went, and we had a really good time.
Here's the scoop: The back wall of the bar is actually a glass wall through which you can see into the pool. Starting about 9:00 p.m., young lovelies in mermaid suits swim around in the pool to entertain the patrons. They're actually quite modest by today's standards, and it's kind of cute. The decor of the bar itself is cheeseball tiki. Can you imagine a tiki bar situated in, of all places, Great Falls, Montana? It's pretty odd, you have to admit. There are bamboo poles, a woven banana mat ceiling, rattan bits-n-pieces, and tiki gods here and there.
There's an enormous drink called the fishbowl, and it has nine - count 'em - nine shots of various liquors, along with tropical juices. (By the way, I was the Designated Driver, so I did not imbibe. I'm a pretty lightweight drinker under the best of circumstances, which means at home, near my bed, so partying hearty out on the town is just not my cuppa tea, if you get my drift.)
But it sure wasn't necessary to drink to have a good time with friends. The best part of all was that Pat Spoonheim, a local legend, showed up at 9:30 to play the organ and sing. Pat is 132 years old and has been playing at the Sip n Dip since she was 17, or so it seems. Actually, I have no idea how old she is. She appears to be held together with Aqua Net and she's been playing there since I was eight years old! And I'm no spring chicken.
All I have to say is that you've got to give it up for an old lady who comes to work at 9:30 at night! Pat does what she does very well. However, that said, the music is so bad, it's good. Mostly because every song sounds
a bit a whole lot like the one before and the one after. You can sit with friends, laughing, trying to play 'Name that Tune' - for the entire length of the song. We - along with the rest of the patrons, identified Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' at one point and pretty soon the whole bar was singing along: Sweet Car-o-line! Bum! Bum! bum! We laughed so hard. It was great. If you ever get the chance, you must go! As one friend said, "It's been checked off the bucket list, but it's got a note for 'must go again'.