Though she doesn’t have a liquor license, Lisa Snow opened Livingston’s greenest drinking establishment 12 days ago in the former Drawing Room—a jewel box-sized gift shop on Callendar Street. But instead of alcohol, Snow serves up $2.50 shots of wheatgrass with a chaser of green apple slices on the side. Yup, Livingston up & got itself a juice bar!
Can’t say I’ve ever been crazy for juice, but I now find myself regularly parked in the corner booth working on my iPad asking the bartender to spike my drink with Maca, or Spirulina. Next to me might be a guy fresh off a spinning bike at Firehall Fitness across the street or a student with oil pastels strewn across her table.
“We kind of went with a Music & Cocktail Theme with drink names,” says Snow, a petite mother of four with a passion for raw food, local ingredients and local art. Juices come in 8, 12 or 16 oz. glasses and include Ginger n’ Juice(carrot, apple, pear, ginger), We Got the Beet (beet, apple, cranberry & ginger) and the popular Greentini (pineapple, kale, cucumber, celery, & green apple). She also offers Juice Fasts for $30/day which incorporate these three cocktails + a Double Elixir (two shots of wheatgrass in fresh apple juice.)
It’s no wonder the healthy concoctions are so scrumptious; Snow’s 12-year-old son Grant was “head tester”. “He’s really picky and won’t eat fruit or vegetables. Smoothies are one of the few ways I’ve always gotten them into him,” she says. “I was surprised; he even drank a Hurricane the other day, and that has spinach!” (The fact that it also has mango, coconut water, coconut & banana might also have something to do with it.)
In addition to Wheatgrass Shots & the Elixir, Saloon Specials also include a $3.00 Young Thai Coconut. (Snow whacks the top off a coconut and sticks a straw in it; more electrolyte-dense than Gatorade + loaded with lactic acid; nature’s hangover tonic!)
The menu lists five 16 oz. Smoothies for $6.50 each. My favorite is the Man in Black (espresso, cashew milk, banana & raw chocolate)—but the Lavender Blue, made with Montana huckleberries and blueberries, cashew milk, banana & lavender, and Little Red Corvette (Montana cherries, cashew milk & raw chocolate) are tempting.
“I’m still in awe of our state and how much fresh produce we can get,” says Snow hoisting a tray of wheatgrass grown by a local woman who uses nutrient-dense soil from Planet Natural in Bozeman. “I get my bee pollen from a local beekeeper at our farmers market. I can get carrots, beets, apples, blueberries [and kale in summertime] from Field Day Farms in Bozeman, and my lavender comes from Hill Botanical.”
Snow points out a glass cake stand on the counter holding raw chocolates laced with herbs, local honey, ginseng, & cordyceps mushrooms “These come from Hill’s, too,” she says, noting the best-seller: an aphrodisiacal variety named “Broad Balls” for Broad Comedy, a Bozeman all-female sketch comedy troupe.
Snow wanted to create a space where her friends and neighbors would want to hang out, as well as incorporate as many local elements as possible. The narrow space is still a gift shop up front, but it now boasts the coolest carpet in all of Montana: a peacock-feather print chosen by Gigi Aelbers Kellett of Synergigi Interior Design. “Gigi took my vision and flew with it,” Snow says.
The juice bar counter, crafted from recycled 3Form resin, was designed by Aelbers, built by Diamond W Countertops and is supported by carved columns by sculptor Mark Strand. Frank Horiel of Crown Creations Cabinetry in Livingston made the wainscoting and cabinetry—which utilize Montana pine beetle-kill wood. (Horiel’s Danish Modern candlestick holders are also for sale up front.) The booths were upholstered in a Maharam Greenguard certified fabric by Salzburg Designs of Bozeman, and the pillows are of a fabric designed by Teresa Kessler of Livingston.
Hanging on the saloon’s walls til February 8 are eight ink and pastel drawings by Livingston artist Jim Barrett. The gift shop offers small paintings by Edd Enders, necklaces by Sarah Homans, earrings by April Marie Hale, t-shirts byIntrigue Ink as well as house wares, 40 varieties of loose leaf tea + brewing supplies and quality bath & body products like Hurraw Lip balm made in Whitefish. (The tinted cinnamon looks and tastes good enough to eat.)
Snow has gone above and beyond to make her business look and feel like it belongs in Livingston. When I compliment Snow on her achievement, she demurely shies away from taking. Aelbers, standing nearby, cuts to the chase: “ Oh come on…this place IS you, Lisa. Everything in here is beautiful & healthy and so delicious!”
NUTS & BOLTS
WHEATGRASS SALOON - 117 East Callender Street. (406) 224-3895. Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Country Clubs don’t get more “Country” than the Square Butte Bar & Country Club in Square Butte, MT. Anchored at the northeastern end of the Highwood Mountains at the base of the butte for which it’s named, the unincorporated town has a historic stone jail, two dormant grain elevators, a former schoolhouse, a 13-year-old mayor, “And about twenty residents, give or take a few,” says Amy Wentz, owner of the Square Butte Bar & Country Club. “I’m the only business left in town.”
I felt like since I just did a multimedia piece on The Jersey Lilly Saloon, that I should show what it’s like to get there. If you’re not coming via gravel, you’re going to be traveling on US HWY 12 East coming from either Roundup or Forsyth.
My friend Robert Lewis, a photographer I used to assist, hired me to location scout this 102 mile stretch for John McNeil Studio. Here are some shots from that drive, which I made in September 2009.