Rachel Marshall and Kate Opatz’s Montana Opens December 11

A come-as-you-are bar from two industry vets offers carbonated cocktails on draft.

By Allecia Vermillion December 5, 2011

This sign may grace the interior of Montana, but rest assured the beer list will actually be quite good. Photo via Rachel Marshall.

Capitol Hill has no shortage of good bars, but I’m still quite excited for the opening of Montana in the Olive Way address that once housed The Buck. Owners Rachel Marshall and Kate Opatz say their unfussy Big Sky–themed hoodie will open December 11.

You might know Marshall from her eponymous Rachel’s Ginger Beer, a bracing gingery blast that graces some excellent cocktails in establishments throughout the city. And you might know Opatz from any number of places she has worked in Seattle, including Lark, La Bête and Matt’s in the Market. She’s also a Montana native.

The duo says their bar is a low key destination for beer and booze. “I will tolerate absolutely no snobbiness in here,” says Marshall. Don’t expect anything too fancy. Except…some force-carbonated cocktails. Marshall and Opatz have been experimenting with kegging and carbonating drinks like gimlets, producing fizzy cocktails available on draft.

This capability, along with the powerhouse juicer used for Rachel’s Ginger Beer, makes for some intriguing possibilities indeed. Recently the ladies juiced three cases of limes to make five gallons of carbonated gin gimlets. Marshall says she wants to use the fizz to redeem fruit-based drinks like lemon drops, greyhounds, and cosmos, “that have got a bad reputation because they’re done poorly.”

Montana will always have at least one carbonated cocktail on tap, alongside 10 beer taps, a rotating cider tap, one for ginger beer, and—hold the phone—Fernet on draft. Also: lots of tequila. Food offerings will consist of a rotating list of salty chips and schmancy versions of decidedly ungourmet dips like ranch, French onion, and queso.

The empty storefront next door is also becoming the headquarters for Rachel’s Ginger Beer, as well as a small retail space that will do growler fills. Marshall says the space will have an early 20th century laboratory feel, inspired by an old photo of Thomas Edison’s lab. It’s quite a different vibe from Montana’s dark walls and candlelight. Come witness all of this for yourself at Montana’s opening party, which starts up at 6pm on Sunday.

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