Like other Montana communities, Billings  has a nightlife centered on bars and restaurants.
The Rex Hotel (2401 Montana Ave., 406/245-7477) began as an experiment in urban renewal through drink. By putting a trendy bar in an old hotel in the dilapidated historic district along the tracks, the developers began the rejuvenation process of Billings’s most historic district . Several other clubs and bars now line the streets down by the tracks, including the Carlin Club (2501 Montana Ave., 406/245-2500), which features Billings’s best live jazz scene.
Jake’s (2701 1st Ave. N., 406/259-9375) is one of the liveliest bar scenes downtown. Jake’s is the kind of bar where, after a couple of drinks, everyone seems single. In a city this would seem threatening, but in Billings it seems endearing.
Other nightspots of note include the Monte Carlo (2828 1st Ave. N., 406/259-3393), a horseshoe bar and casino with piano entertainment, and The Western, a rowdy watering hole on the “wrong” side of the tracks (2712 Minnesota Ave., 406/252-7383) that starts early and goes late.
Billings has a number of brewpubs, where you can sample local brews and dine on pub grub.
Montana Brewing Company keeps things lively with good homemade beer and lots of local student activity (113 N. Broadway, 406/252-9200).
Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company (2123 1st Ave. N., 406/245-0918) hosts Saturday evening live music in its “garage pub.”
Angry Hank’s Place (2405 1st Ave. N., 406/252-3370) offers microbrew ales in a converted filling station.
Carter’s Brewing (2526 Montana Ave., 406/252-0663) has a brewpub located in an old railroad building right beside the tracks at the heart of Montana Avenue’s nightclub district. Their Derailed IPA is a thing of beauty.
Pug Mahons (3011 1st Ave. N., 406/259-4190) is an Irish pub just west of downtown. They don’t brew beer but offer lots of draft beer options and a choice of Irish food specialties.