MONTANANS love their rock 'n roll. So much so that they listen to more of it -- on a per capita basis -- than anyone else in the country. How do we know?

The online music service Pandora reports that Montanans listen to more rock, compared to other genres of music, than residents of any other state. Montana members listened to rock 19 percent of the time, followed closely by Colorado at 18 percent. Next up: Arkansas and Oregon at 15 percent, then Wyoming at 12 percent.

MONTANA has some great bars. Most of them are cowboy saloons, unpretentious places where you can relax with friends, sharing drinks and stories while chewing on a delicious burger and fries.

But what is the state's most iconic bar? According to the website Thrillist, it is the Sip-N-Dip in Great Falls,  tucked away in the O'Haire Motor Inn. It certainly doesn't fit the stereotype for a typical Montana bar.

The Sip-N-Dip, says Thrillist, is "an old-school tiki bar that serves up fruity cocktails that are in direct contrast with the state's unofficial order of 'whiskey and a side of solidarity.' Were that its only defining trait, the Sip 'n Dip would be a rarity. But it's their mermaids that make it an icon. That's right: in a state that defines landlocked, the servers (and, once, Daryl Hannah) dress as mermaids and swim around in a pool behind the bar, peeping in through a glass window. Throw in the soothing sounds of Piano Pat Spoonheim and you don't just have an icon. You've got a national treasure."

Thrillist picked the most iconic bars in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Its rules: The bars had to be famous, had to be around since at least 1990, and they still had to be popular.

NO SURPRISE here: Montana's most liberal town is Missoula.

How about the most conservative? It's Hammond. Huh? Where's that?

Hammond is about as far from Missoula as you can get, both physically and politically, in southeastern Montana. It only has about 150 residents.

​So who decided that Missoula and Hammond were the most liberal and conservative places in Montana? Business Insider came up with those designations based on data it got from political analytics company Clarity Campaign Labs. It also found the most liberal and conservative communities in the other 49 states.

WHO makes the best pizza in Montana? Eugene's of Glasgow, according to an online survey conducted by the website Montana Mint. More than 10,000 votes were cast in a March Madness -style playoff bracket.

The top vote getters had a distinctly Hi-Line flavor to them, with Eugene's winning 48 percent of the vote in the last round and Nalivka's of Havre taking 34 percent. Others that made the final round were Howard's of Great Falls (11 percent) and Me Too Pizza of Culbertson (4 percent).​​​

AS MONTANANS, it often seems as if we have to drive long distances to go where we want to go. After all, we're the fourth largest state, with just over 147,000 square miles. 

But ironically, we have some of the shortest commutes to work. Montanans have the fourth shortest travel times to work, with a mean travel time of 18 minutes, according to the American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau.

​Our neighbors in South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota have the nation's fastest commute times at 17, 17.5, and 17.9 minutes, respectively. The longest commutes are in Maryland, where it takes 32.5 minutes to get to work.

"AN ARMY ​marches on its stomach," Napoleon  Bonaparte once declared.

So does a Legislature, it appears. And the nice thing for the legislators, and the folks who work around them, is that much of the food is free.

If you want to get in on the action -- or you just want to read a glib account of who is providing the latest free snacks at the Capitol -- you can look up the Twitter account called "MT Capitol Free Food."

One recent tweet noted that advocates for a new Historical Society museum had set up a spread in the Rotunda and, as they were 'looking for a $40M building--you gotta think the free food will be nothing less than historic."

Another noted that the Montana Trappers Association was hosting a free lunch. "No word if beaver mink or gopher on menu," quipped Free Food.

A daily digest of Montana news

April 27, 2015


Hash-oil production, which caused recent Billings blast, more prevalent

Searchers suspend hunt for girl, 8, who fell into river near Three Forks

2 women rescued after getting stuck in snow on Beartooth Pass

2 UM students survive Nepal's earthquake unscathed

UM to offer course in Hindi language in fall

Flathead tribes prepare to take reins of Kerr Dam this fall

Despite setbacks, advocates keep pushing for transfer of federal lands

Krakauer: 2 university officials reinstated expelled UM quarterback

Much of legislators' budget deals worked out in secret sessions

Infrastructure bill again stalls in House, will be taken up again Monday

Helena man denies exposing 5-month-old to meth

Nigerian sentenced for scamming women using Montana AG's photo

Disagreements over infrastructure bill delays end to legislative session

Senate confirms Motl to political practices post on 29-21 vote

For $50K, you can go shooting with bin Laden foe Robert O'Neill

Crews expand search for girl who went missing in river last Sunday

Montana dinosaur skull goes on sale for $1.8M in Hong Kong

Crews to try to recover 3 snowmobiles from lake mishap that left 3 dead

Legislators limit use of asset forfeiture by law enforcement

State may sue Common Core test administrators

Bullock signs law limiting what MT law officers can take from Pentagon 

Bullock signs Flathead water compact

Judge upholds jury's verdict that bank must pay logging firm $17M

Idaho earthquakes shake residents as far as Washington, Montana

Massive blob of magma discovered beneath Yellowstone supervolcano

Panel puts together budget that hikes state spending by about 6%


Drone businesses take off in Montana

Ranchers from around country come to MT to find replacement cattle

Old Whitefish hospital to be demolished

Hi-Line bus service expands, mulls Glacier Park runs

Kalispell couple carve out niche making high-end leather bags

Missoula distillery wins silver medal for vodka at national conference

Montana cab drivers hope to put brake on ride-sharing services


Former Griz Zach Wagenmann breaks foot in draft workout

Bobcats, Grizzlies will each appear 5 times on Root TV in the fall

Bullock runs Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 40 minutes

Defensive front dominates in MSU's final spring scrimmage

Dave Guffey looks back on his 37 years as UM's SID

UM's athletic scholarships not close to NCAA's 'full cost of attendance'


Nice to see Montana legislators crack down on 'dark money'

Lawmaker: Cost of state's 'free' health clinics is skyrocketing

Krakauer repeats some of the same mistakes Rolling Stone made

Defense attorney blasts Krakauer book as one-sided, inaccurate

City should push for equal pay resolution

Bullock administration finally gets honest about causes of wage gap

Ivan Doig spoke to -- and for -- Montana


An incredible collection of vintage aircraft -- out in the Montana woods

Smithsonian series looks at lives of Bakken oil patch residents

MSU professor explains why Montana politics aren't anything special

Bozeman writer's story of a killer makes it to the big screen

In seeking campus-rape villains in Missoula, Krakauer comes up short 

Krakauer: I relied on documents and victims to tell the story

One of Titanic's 705 survivors ended up raising family in Butte


Eagles to perform at Billings concert June 2

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss on stage in Missoula June 17

Country star Clint Black to headline Headwaters Jam in June

Hank Williams Jr. to play at Billings music fest July 11

Norman Maclean festival runs July 10-13 in Seeley Lake

Martina McBride coming to Helena stage on July 22

Motley Crue, Alice Cooper take stage in Billings July 26

Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice take stage at State Fair in late July

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ryan Bingham headline Red Ants Pants Festival

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blue Oyster Cult to play at Billings fair Aug. 8

Martina McBride coming to Billings Aug. 9

Send tips to

The search has been called off for Madison Veele, 8, who fell into the river at the Headwaters State Park near Three Forks on April 19. (Veele family)