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Last Call: The Montana Club is shutting down

The Montana Club Logo
Posted at 6:07 PM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-18 14:28:34-04

HELENA — One of Montana's most significant cultural landmarks is closing its doors after nearly 140 years of business.

The Montana Club has been a staple of the Helena community since before Montana was even a state.

Hosting presidents, celebrities, and the people who helped shape Montana into what it is today.

But after more than 130 years, the Montana Club is closing operations as it is.

Montana Club, circa 1915

Before they close up, they're holding one last call on March 29 and are inviting the community to celebrate.

President of The Montana Club Charles Robison, "There are a lot of memories tied up in this place, and I think there is a lot of sadness in seeing this chapter ending."

The Montana Club has been facing financial difficulty for a while.

In June of 2018, the club opened to the public and was reorganized as a cooperative association.

However, according to Robison, the lack of sustainability in the private club still had its effects on the business all these years later.

MT Club Bar

"That model, I think, is not working out today, and COVID certainly was a huge blow and really turned the co-op and The Montana Club in a trajectory we haven't been able to recover from," he said.

They filed for bankruptcy in November and are currently being sued by co-owners of the building for unpaid maintenance assessments. The co-owners of the building and other creditors have made claims for $1.3 million in the bankruptcy case.

As a result, the club is closing, and the building and liquor license are up for sale.

Robison said, "It's just out of our control... there's a long list of creditors that need to be paid."

The club first opened in 1885, and according to The Montana Club, it "was the longest-continuously open private club between Minneapolis and Seattle."

The Montana Club annual dinner in Banquet Hall, Dec 30, 1911

The farewell on March 29th will be the last night of the long-running organization.

At the event, they will be selling drinks, and attendees will also be able to buy a bottle of liquor with a branded sticker.

It will be a night for community members to reminisce on the memories they made there.

The Montana Club final cocktail hour

"That was our first date – was here in this dining room and we had our rehearsal dinner upstairs. Just have had some really neat times bringing our family here for special events," Robison said.

Robison says that even though things are ending, he is hopeful that someone will come in and keep the spirit of The Montana Club alive.

"There's a lot of examples around the state of buildings like this with strong historic character, strong routes in the community, and a history of hospitality where new ownership has revived those kind of opportunities, so I think there is hope for that future," he said.

The Montana Club building .jpg

The Montana Club may have been on the rocks for the past few years, but they want you to come by for one last call and raise a glass to the memories made.

You can find more information about the Say Farewell event and The Montana Club here.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to better clarify the claims in the bankruptcy case.