Swimming with Montana’s Magical Tiki Mermaids

via punchdrink

This tickles my fins!  Do you want to meet a Mermaid?  Well, you can, at “cowboy country’s premiere tiki bar”  Cowboys and Mermaids, an intoxicating combination…

mermaid-8“The assumption that Great Falls, Montana is an impermeable, frigid tundra during the month of January is mostly correct. Fenced in by gargantuan, snow-capped peaks, the town’s icy topography is more akin to a playground for abominable snow giants than warm-blooded humans.

For those in the know, though, there’s an exception. Located inside the retro-comfortable O’Haire Motor Inn, the legendary Sip ‘n Dip Lounge has become cowboy country’s premiere tiki bar—a middle-of-nowhere oddity featuring everything from swimming mermaids to a legendary octogenarian bar act known as “Piano Pat.”

Built in 1962, the O’Haire still retains the telltale, taupe-hued brick exterior and rectangular, split-level architecture that screams midcentury suburban chic. While initially famous for its cutting edge “whirly-gig” (read: helicopter) pad on top of the building, the motel’s most outstanding feature for half a century has been the Sip ‘n Dip. It is the motel bar to end all motel bars.

Inspired by a similar set-up in the Chicago Playboy mansion of the 1960s, the motel’s original owners decided to replicate the concept in their own bar after experiencing it firsthand. Today, a full wall of glass paneling behind the Sip ‘n Dip’s bar reveals an underwater world of (ladies clad as) mermaids who swim, twirl and blow kisses to bar patrons. The mermaids have become one of the bar’s strangest (and strongest) draws, making every person sipping a Mai Tai feel as if they’re on a mystical submarine.”

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Note: The content of this article was written by Sarah Baird for PunchDrink. It is being re-posted here with permission. You can click on the above hyperlink to view the original and engage in the lively discussion in the comments section.