In the Missouri Ozarks, the Bat Bar gives new meaning to the term “watering hole.” It’s next to a waterfall within a mountaintop cave. The good thing is it’s never all that crowded, unless you count the bats.
Visitors park at the Top of the Rock welcome center and take two- or four-person golf carts through a 2.5-mile woodland path over streams and bridges, stopping at both a butterfly garden and a scenic overlook called Eagle Pass. Shortly into the trip, the trail dips into the Lost Canyon Cave, wherein lies the one-of-a-kind bar.
Tipplers remain in their carts as they park next to the wood-built bar constructed in 2014. “Better Settle Your Nerves,” reads a paint-splashed board below the counter. They can choose from a number of cocktails, from John L’s Hoop-de-Hoo (vodka, tonic, and grapefruit), the Cannonball (amaretto, bourbon, and pineapple juice), or Bat’s Blood (vodka with strawberry and peach lemonade). Bottled beer and wine by the glass are also available.
Take your time rolling through the Lost Canyon Cave: It’s home to a natural waterfall, a live bat colony, and the skeletons of both a saber-tooth tiger and a short-faced bear. Visitors aren’t allowed to walk around the cave itself, but a railed pathway snakes around the waterfall pool at the heart of the lantern-lit cave.
If the bar does get the best of you, Big Cedar Lodge always has overnight housing available.