Nov 4, 2011

Five hotel bars worth drinking at for a round (or more)

When it comes to hotel bars, too often they all have the same generic look.  The clientele usually consists of stranded or unadventurous tourists, tired businessmen and businesswomen, barflies with expensive tastes and off-duty hotel staff.  And the drinks are typically overpriced and under-poured.  Rarely is the bar a reflection on your destination or the character of the locals. 
Fortunately, there are exceptions.  Sometimes those exceptions happen because the hotel is actually an exciting part of your destination.  Sometimes the bar is even more famous and more visited than the hotel.  Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to it at all … it just happens.  So, while I am in the midst of a travel lull, I decided to share my five favorite hotel watering holes.  
5. Empire Bar, Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier, Mont. – When my son and I took the Amtrak to Glacier National Park a few years ago, this lodge was across the street from the depot, and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  Of course, not many other choices to choose from, but it still delivered a great, classic lodge experience.  Huge timbers and a high ceiling create a majestic lobby.  And the views of the mountains from the back of the hotel are breathtaking. 

The lobby of the Glacier Park Lodge.  If you look closely, you can see the entrance to the bar off to the right at the end of the lobby.  The restaurant entrance is straight ahead.  Sorry, not my photo ... I'm borrowing liberally from the Internet for this blog. 

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...