As we traveled the six miles down Big Moose Road to the Glenmore Bar and Grill, we noticed it was populated with summer camps right down to Big Moose Lake. Perplexed by the distinct absence of people on this beautiful summer day in July, we pulled in to the mostly deserted parking lot. Given that it was early afternoon, possibly everyone was out pursuing summer pleasures on the lake or in town at Eagle Bay.
A two-story shingled structure flanked by ancient pines at the water’s edge, dormers peek out from above. With a spacious deck overlooking the lake, the Glenmore exudes history. We passed through the entrance doors to the main floor which houses the restaurant and bar, immediately encountering historic memorabilia and postings at the main entrance. Gleaming pine booths lined a sunny dining area, partially separated from the dining room and bar. Ivy wandered, taking over the room, repeated in stenciled embellishment over the windows. Sunlight streamed through picture windows, competing with rustic hues and textures for control of the lighting. At once dark and light, the hardwood floor, low pine plank ceiling, rough-sawn slab walls painted in tones of sage and brown, and simple pine booths were softly illuminated by daylight. A couple of well-worn plaid sofas faced the stone fireplace, the focal point of the center of the restaurant. A game room and pool table are available for use, but the Glenmore seems to be a venue for long stories and general banter.
The bar, with its panoramic view of the lake, seats 15 to 20 people. A handful of guests intently watched a soccer game as we introduced ourselves, and our purpose, to the bartender. Beer selection is primarily domestic, mostly from the Anheuser Busch and Matt’s brewing families. Canned beers (14 of them) include Utica Club and Genesee. Very retro. As Pam sat at the bar trying to decide what to order from the standard selection of liquors, she noticed that every one of the bar pours on the liquor bottles was not only the same color (green), but were all pointing in the same “wrong” direction. We have been to a lot of bars and have never seen either phenomenon. Not willing to let it go on observation, she mentioned to the bartender that he might have difficulties if he hired a left-handed bartender. Promising that would never happen, he smiled graciously and changed the subject, but seemed pleased that his efforts were noticed. We did take the time to inquire if the Glenmore had any specialty drinks unique to the establishment. Robert shared the ingredient list of the Flaming Glenmore, consisting of coffee, Yukon Jack, Amaretto and whipped cream.
It took some time for him to loosen up, but owner/bartender Robert Muller eventually warmed to our inquisition. He told us of a writers’ group that, for the past 36 years, meets at the Glenmore. Robert is of the opinion that some may no longer write, but continue to enjoy each other’s company, spending a weekend there every year under the auspices of the Tamarack Writers Group. (For the record, he did not use the word “auspices”.)
Kim inquired about hauntings, particularly in the death of Grace Brown in 1906. Grace and her companion, Chester Gillette, had checked in to the Glenmore the night before her demise, which she met at the hands of Gillette while rowing out on the lake. Several locations around Big Moose Lake claim to be haunted by her presence, and the television series Unsolved Mysteries aired an episode based on ghostly encounters in Big Moose in 1996. Robert also mentioned the apparition of a “creepy, tall, old dude” who occasionally makes his presence known.
The Glenmore Hotel Bar & Grill has been in business for 100 years and owned by the current owners, the Muller family, since the 1970s. When a fire of suspicious origin destroyed the original hotel in 1950, the Glenmore Hotel relocated across the street to its present location, originally home to the Big Moose Supply Company. A bar, restaurant and hotel located yards from Big Moose Lake, you can feel the history as you gaze upon the lake from the bar.
In summer months, the Glenmore is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and noon to 1 a.m. on weekends. Closed Monday through Thursday in the fall and spring, they are open Friday through Sunday. Surprisingly, to us at least, Robert, who likes winter best, claims that winter is the best season to visit. Winter hours at the Glenmore begin with opening for the Snodeo, occurring this year December 9-11, and end with St. Patrick’s Day. The no-nonsense menu includes pizzas, salads, burgers, sandwiches and bar munchies in the $7 to $10 range.
The hotel has 11 rooms accommodating up to 24 people. Rooms are simple, unique and comfortable with few amenities. Two full and one half bath are shared by all the guests. They have no WiFi, no cell service either, but a phone booth outside actually appeared to still be in service. History, a remote setting, simple charm, and circumspect hospitality await guests and visitors to the Glenmore Bar and Grill.
Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.