It’s almost impossible to think of Rochester in the summertime without Marge’s Lakeside Inn.
As nominator Joanna Newcombe wrote: “Sitting on the beach on a Friday night after work, drinking an adult beverage, watching the sun go down. Perfect.”
Marge’s, at 4909 Culver Road, is perfectly positioned on the spit of land at the mouth of Irondequoit Bay to take advantage of sunsets over the big lake and pleasant breezes off the lake.
The ambience is beach tiki bar, a definite and relaxing tropical vibe. Photos of the inn and its people through the years adorn the walls. There’s an old jukebox, frequent live music, a scenic beachfront patio and a fire pit. There’s also a pleasing whiff of noir about the place, stemming from its days serving as a speakeasy during Prohibition, when smugglers used the lake to run spirits down from Canada.
Marge Beth bought the building in 1960 to create the inn, her son Ron bought it from her in 1975 and operated it until his death in 1986. Ron’s wife, Fran (who is occasionally mistaken for Marge), and their daughter Francine Beth have run the establishment since then. Francine says it has become such a local institution that they have staff and customers who feel more like family.
Family members have been the main creators of the space, adjusting as needed to meet the needs of the times. For going on 60 years, Marge’s has served the needs of Rochesterians who desire a place to relax and wash their cares away.