Beloved Bar: Historic Miles City watering hole has new owner
Story by Cathy Moser, Photos by Jackie Jensen
Why would a young, first-time bar owner rejoice in the responsibility of owning a century-old bar? Why would he relish the duties of not only being entrusted with upholding its reputation as a respectable place to drink and socialize, but as curator of its traditions and impressive collection of Old West artifacts?
“I love this bar,” Blake Mollman said unabashedly.
Perhaps, then, it was fate when Mollman and his cousin trailed a pretty girl to Miles City in 2006 and Mollman found himself striding into the Montana Bar on Main Street.
Mollman soon found himself bartending there. Soon after that, he was promoted to assistant manager. While working all those day and night shifts, he learned that Scotsman James Kenney opened the upscale bar in 1908, and that it is a beloved Miles City institution where the dark tones of much of the bar’s original furnishings continue to uphold its rich Western heritage.
Mollman also came to learn that someday he’d like to own the Montana Bar.
“Someday” came for 31-year-old Mollman in August 2013 when former owner Currie Colbin decided he wanted to sell the place.
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Pilots and Paws
Nine Labrador retriever puppies only eight weeks old yipped and barked, their yelps melding into the engine-rumble of a Cessna 182 awaiting them under afternoon skies at Logan International Airport in Billings. They regarded pilot Jerry Cain, chocolate-blue eyes peering as he loaded their crates into his plane. Moments later, the pups and Jerry were airborne.
The flight was originally planned for transport from Billings to Missoula, but this Pilots N Paws (PNP) mission in January had fallen behind schedule, and approaching darkness necessitated landing at the Lincoln Airport (S69). From there, Jerry drove the puppies to his nearby Smiling Gulch Ranch. Ground transport volunteers arrived an hour later to continue the mission. Jerry handed off the pups to them, thereby concluding his segment of another PNP mission.
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