When you need to know where to find the best dive bars are in Montana, you shouldn't have to look very far. Even with so much gentrification and "newness" sneaking in, Montana still has plenty of well-loved, funky dive bars who's walls could speak volumes of history.

As with any list of 'favorites', there will certainly be several great choices left out. That just means we'll do another installment! So how did this particular list come together? We gathered the favorites from local Montanan's suggestions but also some extensive national lists. We cared more about the locals, though.

Our favorite part of putting together this list was stumbling across the question, "What's the difference between a dive bar and a regular bar?" LOL. So what is the difference? According to Binwise.com, it's this:

Dive bars and regular bars differ in terms of vibes, atmosphere, and clientele. At a regular bar, you're more likely to find something more high-class. At dive bars, the vibe is strictly grunge-chic. They're laid back in every way.

Dive bars take their name from the 1880s when they were defined as a grungy place where folks would “dive below.”

Charlie B's & The Dinosaur Café (Missoula, Montana): Located at 428 N Higgins Avenue, Charlie B's is a Missoula staple. Esquire said Charlie B’s is one of the "15 bars you should drink in before you die." The bar itself offers all the ambience a proper dive bar should, and the Dinosaur Café is much loved for it's Cajun specialties. Good bar, good food? Double win.

Charlie B's - Facebook
Charlie B's - Facebook

FYI, TheHill.com declared in 2022 that The Rhino in Missoula, Montana was the best dive bar in Montana. Different lists are surely going to have different top picks - there are just too many great choices around the state.

People like dive bars because, not only do they have inexpensive drinks, but they also have an atmosphere that sets you at ease. They’re comfortable, easy to spend time in, and suitable for many occasions. You can throw a birthday party at a dive bar or head there after work on a Friday night. (Binwise.com)

The Murray Bar (Livingston, Montana): The Murray made it on several of the national lists AND was mentioned many times by locals...but I'm not sure I qualify The Murray as a dive bar. Perhaps I'm too close and in too deep - The Murray has always been one of my favorite bars on the planet. Pool, music, good drinks, food from next door, and downtown Livingston...there's nothing else I need for bar happiness. Now with Livingston's next stage of fame, there seems to be very little that's "divey" about the town anymore. The Murray is a SOLID choice, no matter.

Murray Bar - Facebook
Murray Bar - Facebook


The Haufbrau (Bozeman, Montana): This Bozeman icon is probably the most mentioned dive bar when the topic arises. Locals and visitors can both feel at home here, as long as you're not an uptight jerk. Locally owned, a live music hub, and home of one of the most famous bar burgers in Montana, The Hauf is the definition of a perfect dive bar. Trip Savvy said this about The Hauf:

A small corner stage, where cowboys, hippies, farmers, and college students perform, is the shining star of Bozeman’s Haufbrau House, where anyone can sign up for an open-mic spot three nights per week (the other nights also have live music). This watering hole, a hidden gem, is truly a dive, where regulars hang out and spin a yarn or carve up the wooden tables with their initials and graffiti.

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