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'Where the hell is Roscoe?': Grizzly Bar welcoming guests for nearly 100 years

Grizzly Bar
Posted at 3:25 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 12:41:03-04

The Grizzly Bar has been serving its guests in Roscoe at the base of the Beartooth Mountains for nearly 100 years.

The bar first opened in the 1930s and is still thriving today, even though it's located in a tiny town. Roscoe has less than 20 people living in the town these days, but that doesn't stop travelers from making their way to the area and its iconic bar.

Original Photo of Grizzly Bar

Current owner Jennifer O'Shea has been in charge for 21 years.

"We are out in the middle of nowhere," O'Shea said of the location Wednesday. "There's 13 people that live in town itself."

O'Shea said part of what makes it special is the fact that it is a bit of a hidden treasure.

"We're very remote. People don't know where we're at," O'Shea said. "It's iconic. It's a legend."

Jennifer O'Shea

O'Shea said that in her time as the owner, they've never worried about getting the word out.

"It has a reputation of its own," O'Shea said with a smile. "We do very little advertising. It's just basically word of mouth."

For years, that reputation has brought thousands inside where they could find a simple saying that has only added to the bar's legacy. "Where the hell is Roscoe?" can be found on stickers, merchandise and even on the walls at the Grizzly Bar. It's a saying that O'Shea said has fittingly been there longer than anyone can remember.

"Nobody knows where it came from," O'Shea said. "It's part of our lore. I have made several calls to past owners and they all say it was here when they had it."

Where the hell is Roscoe?

The town itself is usually peaceful. Nearby, you can hear the East Rosebud River's rushing waters. But in the summer of 2022, that sounds wasn't so pleasant when historic floods rerouted the river, nearly wiping away the town.

"It was wild," O'Shea recalled. "We couldn't get here for three days."

O'Shea will never forget the shocking sight of the small town overcome by the high water.

"The bar was an island," O'Shea said. "There's just water all around us. We just never thought that would ever happen."

Flooding at Grizzly

Miraculously, the Grizzly Bar survived and business is starting to return to normal. On Thursday, the seasonal bar opened up its doors for another summer.

"It was a struggle," O'Shea said. "And I think right now, we're finally coming back up out of it. We had a good summer last year, and I think it's going to be another great one this year."

But soon one thing won't be the same. O'Shea is selling the historic bar.

"In my opinion, it doesn't matter who's running it," O'Shea said of the potential sale. "It just sort of has its own thing."

And while O'Shea said she's sad her era at the Grizzly Bar is ending, she's looking forward to coming back as a visitor.

"I'm excited to be the person on the other side of the bar as opposed to behind it," O'Shea said.