Filed Under Place

Hap's Place

Helena Railroad Depot Historic District

As Prohibition became the law of the land in 1920, Charles Eybel briefly opened a restaurant in this new commercial building. Although it officially sat vacant after 1922, legend has it that the party began long before Hap’s became a legitimate bar. Local businessman Einar Larson claimed that during Prohibition you could always get a drink in the back room. Bootleg whiskey flowed abundantly in many Helena “speakeasies.” Most, like this one here, can be identified only through personal recollections. After 1933 when alcohol was again legal, Hilda Schrock managed her husband William’s short-lived beer parlor here. By 1939, owner George “Hap” Schneider had christened the bar “Hap’s Place.” George and then his son George Jr. owned Hap’s until 1957. The next owner, A.C. Bielen, sold the bar to Don Lytle in 1975. Reminiscent of the Art Deco period, the building retains the 1945 remodel with two small front replacement windows and an enclosed entry. Hap’s is the neighborhood’s oldest surviving business and it last remaining bar. Its vintage neon sign has long beckoned patrons and only hints at the bar’s colorful past.

Images

Hap's Place View looking southest Source: Bryan Baldwin Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: January 17, 2023
Hap's Place facade Source: Bryan Baldwin Creator: Montana Historical Society Date: January 17, 2023

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Hap's Place,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3441.