Because wedding photographers are usually one of the first vendors grooms/brides book, we get asked for recommendations on event planning all the time. One thing I’ve been asked a lot lately is where to host welcome drinks or a rehearsal dinner. There are soooo many amazing restaurants and event spaces in Bozeman but they don’t always go out of the way to market their event availability. I’ve been to a lot of shindigs (pardon the brag) and I’ve also gotten to photograph a lot of rehearsal dinners so I’ve compiled a list of favorites here. I think I rounded up a great list of options that vary quite a bit in price and atmosphere, so there should be something for everyone!
Heads up! There are a few breweries on this list. Out-of-staters might not know that in Montana you can only have three micro brews while at a brewery, and we have a very strict last call at 8pm. It’s common courtesy for people to leave by 8:30 so that the bartenders get out of there! Keeping that in mind, let’s get started!
Outlaw Brewing is my all time favorite brewery! Their service is phenomenal, and after doing extensive research, I dare say they have the best beer in town. They do not have their own kitchen for food, so they have a rotating schedule of Bozeman’s favorite food trucks. It’s casual and industrial-cool – really great for a fun social event. It’s a brewery so the last call will be at 8 as explained above.
Brigade has a very beautiful and modern feel in downtown Bozeman. If you’re imagining a cocktail party dress code, then this place would be great. It’s very classy with beautiful small plates as well as meals and of course, great cocktails. The private space in the back room is gorgeous! This is a great choice if your friends or family will want to hit the town afterwards.
Bozeman Pavilions are so versatile. I have used a few different pavilions all over Bozeman for events. If you want to have a barbecue or picnic, this is so convenient. The pavilions at Story Mill have always been a hit for me. It’s a beautiful spot and so great for big families, the reunion pavilion in particular is lovely because of its location next to the community garden. If you are expecting kids at your party or want to have the option for swimming or volleyball, the Glen Lake Pavilion is a great choice. Alternatively, Story Mansion has a huge lawn that would be perfect for some blankets and lawn games. I’ve always daydreamed about hosting a Bridgerton/Jane Austen style party there with croquet and parasols. Or you could go slightly modern with a 1920s theme, ala A River Runs Through It, which was filmed in part at the home.
Sky Oro is my home away from home, my go-to cowering space, that I’m at almost every day! I’ve hosted a few events here and it’s been great. It’s a little more DIY but it provides you with a ton of space and flexibility to do exactly what you want. The decor is modern but pretty simple so it’s really easy to decorate. They are BYOB+F (bring your own beverages and food) so it would be a good spot for a potluck or if you want to mix and match your favorite beers plus catering from your favorite restaurant.
Nordic Brewing is a chic, elevated comfort food kind of spot. It’s got a Scandinavian/modern aesthetic with super tall ceilings and huge windows. It’s what I imagine those secretive airport lounges are like, but if an airport was an enjoyable place to be. For events they have an upstairs bar with your own private bartender. The pizza is DELICIOUS, you could easily order 10 and let it be a free for all. Again, it’s a brewery so the previously mentioned rules apply, but they also offer wine, and cocktails and their closing time isn’t until 10 pm.
The Divide is a special venue, known for their intimate concerts in the 100 year old brick-and-wood building. They’ve recently renovated and now they’re booking all kinds of events. It’s a really cozy, historical spot. I think it would be such a unique place to host a welcome wagon, especially if you’ve got lots of musicians and creatives involved in your wedding!
MAP Brewing is the best place to wow your guests (particularly out-of-towners) with the view of the Bridgers! This brewery has a second floor loft space where you would be serviced by your own bartender. Inside it feels like a cozy cabin with giant windows looking out over the mountain range. It’s an excellent spot for pictures and for kids to run around and burn off some energy before the meal. This is another brewery, so the rules that I explained above apply: 3 micro brews, last call at 8, try to be out around 8:30.
Single Barrel Liquor and Bar is more than just a liquor store! They’ve got craft drinks, local beer, and excellent cocktails. It’s the perfect size for an intimate party. The liquor store is connected to the bar so I think it would be really fun to have a couple of cocktails and then have your guests purchase some of the liquors they tried. That could also be part of a goodie bag! We all have to stock up on some booze at the beginning of the wedding weekend, why not make that a part of the first event?
Jam! By day, Jam is a hopping breakfast restaurant, and by night it can be your own personal party location. Their kitchen offers everything from sandwiches and salads to 10-course meals. They have a new-wave diner-chic vibe with bright colors and art. It’s a great place to introduce to your guests as they might want to circle back for breakfast later in the week. Jam! does not have a liquor license, so it’s beer, wine, and sake!
Urban Kitchen is another restaurant located in downtown Bozeman which makes it an easy first stop on a night of drinks and dancing. They’ve got all of your classic American comfort foods in a chic but approachable atmosphere. The private dining area is fabulous and the menu is great!
Montana Ale Works is a Bozeman staple! It’s a huge space: picture an indoor beer garden. The locals on your guest list will probably already have their order in mind. It’s a sprawling, industrial bar with a menu of classics and a tap full of favorites.
SHINE is a fun brewery full of personality. The beer options are limitless with 30 craft beers on tap (as well as wine). For events you’ll be situated upstairs with the option of their outdoor space, weather permitting. They’ve got some great tacos and incredible nachos! This is a brewery so, say it with me, only 3 micro brews and last call at 8!
Blend Wine Bar is a lovely spot located in downtown Bozo. It’s the perfect spot to have your first toast of your wedding weekend. They have a great menu as well as locally-crafted wines. In a big beer town, your local guests might enjoy a foray into the grapes. It’s a classy spot where you could definitely pull off a slightly more formal dress code if desired.
Tanglewood is situated in the same building as Nordic Brewing so it has a similar airy, industrial vibe but this spot isn’t a brewery so you don’t have to worry about those pesky laws. They describe their atmosphere as “refined-rustic with a whimsical flair” – so fun! There’s something for everyone on the menu, they focus on simple classics done really well.
Outside of Bozeman
The Fox is in a quaint little town called Manhattan. They have a perfectly decorated space for intimate events. It’s really chic for a small town spot and it’s just the right size for a small wedding party. If your wedding is outside of Bozeman, it’s a great option!
The Jump is sort of like if your favorite dive bar got a makeover. It’s a fun, raucous bar and restaurant with great food, drinks, and local music and a beautiful mountain backdrop. I think this would be a really fun spot for a big family gathering full of laughs and maybe a bit of boot-scooting. It’s an approachable, comfortable spot that’s still polished enough to be a great venue for a wedding welcome or dress rehearsal.
That’s the round-up!
Let me know if I forgot any great spots. I’m always excited to check out new locations.