Enbar set to open Dec. 1 in downtown Great Falls

Enbär, a craft cocktail bar, will open Dec. 1 in downtown Great Falls.

The sign was installed outside their 8 5th St. S. location on Friday and staff and construction crews were busy working inside the space next to Cory Block Bakery.

Mike Hallahan, the general manager, said it’s “coming together quickly.”

He’s also and executive chef and one of the partners in Enbär, along with Scott Reasoner, Tim Peterson, Andy Ferrin, Tom Jacobson and Tiana Ford.

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For their food, Hallahan said they’ll have different menus to keep things interesting.

“It allows us to be creative and keep it fresh,” he said Friday.

Several downtown establishments are doing creative menus, such as Wines by Wednesday and Electric City Coffee, he said.

“We love what they do,” he said. “We want to continue that tradition.”

Enbär will serve craft cocktails using spirits from Montana distilleries and have eight rotating microbrews on tap, Hallahan said. They’ll also have four wines on the menu from California, Oregon and Washington that will rotate. Cider will also be available.

“We’re giving a little bit of love all around the state,” Hallahan said.

On Friday, brewers from Black Eagle and Mighty Mo breweries were getting tours and checking out the new space, including where their beers would be on tap.

A focus for Hallahan and the Enbär team is the customer experience. That means serving cocktails in the correct glassware, getting to see the muddling and fresh squeezed juices, he said.

The signature drink at Enbär will be the Juniper, which is a gin based cocktail using Whyte Laydie gin from Montgomery Distillery of Missoula.

Hallahan said that enbär is Swedish for juniper berry, which is what gin is made from.

They’re planning on a staff of 10 to 12 for a space that can hold 75-85, he said. But they’re also planning cross-promotional events with downtown breweries, restaurants and special events. Enbär will also offer catering and Hallahan said they’ve already booked some weddings and other events.

A few TVs will be on the walls and music will be playing, but those aren’t the headliners of the space.

“This is about interaction, people coming together to have a good time,” Hallahan said.

They expect to be busy for their opening night, which is also the 34th annual Christmas Stroll in downtown Great Falls.

For Hallahan, Enbär is 20 years in the making. He’s worked as a corporate chef and has always dreamed of a place of his own.

It’s all in the small details for the food and cocktails at Enbär, but it’s also in the space itself.

Subway tiles, Edison-style light fixtures, lounge style booths and exposed brick give it a trendy, but unpretentious feel. And the team has paid careful attention to detail, adding things like USB plug-ins at the bar and purse hooks under the bar. The glasses are solid with detail that harken to an earlier era.

“It’s a glass that has a little weight to it,” he said. “It’s taking the time to do it right.”