The Most Haunted Bars in America
Most bars feature spirits like vodka, gin and whiskey, but others are home to a different kind of spirit—the spectral kind. These (literal) haunts boast ghosts both playful and hair-raising. Here, 16 haunted bars where you can enjoy some boos with your booze.
New York, NY
Back in 1817, the Ear Inn
was a popular watering hole for seafarers—in fact, it was so beloved by one sailor that he never left. Mickey lived upstairs in the inn until he was hit by a car in front of the bar and died. While his corporeal form accepted last call, his ghostly spirit still remains at the bar. Today, Mickey’s ghost is a mischievous bar regular, known to finish customers’ pints of beer and goose female employees and patrons.
One if by Land Two if by Sea
New York, NY
is set in the former carriage house of Vice President Aaron Burr, who infamously shot and killed Alexander Hamilton
in a duel. Burr’s daughter, Theodosia, was lost at sea, but that didn’t stop her from returning home to see her father—both of them currently haunt their former residence. A maître d’ quit after he was pushed up and down the stairs one too many times by Burr, and many women have had their earrings torn off by Theodosia.
The Brass Rail
Legend has it that in 1904, a wedding held at The Brass Rail
was cut short by tragedy, when the bride tripped at the top of the staircase, broke her neck and died. Her husband wrote a quick suicide note, “now that my wife was taken from me, there is no reason for me to live,” and hanged himself in a room near the staircase. Today, the bar is haunted by the couple, who walk up and down the ill-fated staircase. The New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society found “proof” of the couple in a photograph of the staircase, which shows a white wisp of smoke hanging eerily near the steps.
The Judge’s Bench
Ellicott City, MD
The Judge’s Bench
bar was once home to Berger’s Grocery and the Berger family, whose teenage daughter, Mary, hanged herself in 1962 when her parents refused to let her date a local boy. Today, Mary’s ghost slams doors, stomps around and flushes toilets—just like any angsty teenager.
Stone’s Public House
is riddled with ghosts of all ages, starting with Captain John Stone, who built the inn in 1832. Many patrons believe they are being stared at by his painting on the wall, and some report smelling cigar smoke in its vicinity when no one is smoking. Another spirit belongs to a traveling salesman who was buried in the basement after Stone accused him of cheating at cards and killed him. Yet a third reported ghost is that of a little girl named Mary who was hit by a train and died in the inn in 1963. Her spirit reportedly lives on in a dress kept in the bar’s attic. Apparently, Mary enjoys her place in the attic. A female employee once took the dress home but Mary didn’t like that. Eventually, the employee returned the dress, traumatized by what she had experienced.
Captain Tony’s Saloon
Key West, FL
Located on the site of a former morgue, Captain Tony’s
is rife with hauntings. Back in 1865, when the morgue was still standing, a hurricane hit Key West and washed away all the bodies that were awaiting burial or autopsy—except for one. This body ended up buried beneath the building, enclosed by a wall which now flanks Tony’s poolroom. The saloon was also built around a tree that was once allegedly used to hang criminals—most famously the “Lady in Blue,” who slaughtered her sons and husband. Both she and the mystery body purportedly haunt the bar, locking doors, whispering to patrons and generally scaring the bejeezus out of people.
Earnestine & Hazel’s
Before it was a bar
, this building was everything from a church to a pharmacy to a brothel. The namesake sisters who both died in the 1990s are often heard giggling upstairs, and they have been known to play songs from the jukebox to go along with the conversations in the bar. Once, employees were talking about James Brown and “I Feel Good
” suddenly started blasting through the speakers, and when, on another occasion, exorcism was the topic of conversation, the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil
” began to play. At least the spirits have good taste in music.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
New Orleans, LA
Lafitte’s was named for Jean Lafitte
, a pirate and privateer who helped Andrew Jackson defend the city of New Orleans from British capture during the War of 1812. Lafitte haunts this bar
as a full-bodied apparition, a rare phenomenon in the paranormal world. Dressed as a sailor, Lafitte stands near the fireplace until he is noticed, and then disappears.
San Antonio, TX
While no less than 38 spirits haunt the Menger Hotel
, the most famous is Theodore Roosevelt, who recruited many of his famous Rough Riders for the Spanish-American War at the bar. His ghost is often seen there having a drink in his military uniform. While alive, Teddy occasionally rode his horse straight into the bar to inspire potential recruits. And, on one recording taken by a ghost hunter, you can hear a man yelling “get your horses!”
A former speakeasy, the space features a mural depicting the bar’s former regulars—except for one noticeable hole. The painting once included the likeness of the bar owner’s son’s mistress (who was married). When she was killed in a car accident, news of the taboo relationship spread through town. The bar tried to make the scandal go away by cutting her image out of the mural. Now, people claim to feel a chill run through them every time they pass where the woman in the mural once was.
The Fenton Hotel Tavern and Grille
The Fenton Hotel
is haunted by its longtime custodian, Emery, who walks around upstairs, thumping on walls to tell the current custodial staff to get a move on with their work. Wine glasses hanging by the stem in the bar have been known to fly across the room. And, most strangely, a customer repeatedly sits at table 32 and orders a shot of Jack Daniels
on the rocks, only to disappear once the bartender returns. It’s unknown if Emery is to blame for all of this activity, or if more than one spirit calls the hotel home.
Shaker’s Cigar Bar
This bar’s owners give daring ghost hunters who choose to stay overnight in the “Vermillion Room
” a 50-50 chance of making it through the evening without bolting for the door—some people don’t even last an hour. In 2001, a pile of bones was discovered beneath the floorboards of the penthouse above the bar. The bones are believed to the remnants a 16-year-old prostitute named Molly, who was murdered in the 1920s. Today, the penthouse can be rented out for a night of paranormal hallucinations, self-turning doorknobs and more.
Built in 1913, this Wild West saloon
has a violent history, which only adds to its authenticity. In 1915, a man named Paul Coski was caught cheating at cards. When the dealer called him out, the miner lunged at him. The dealer shot him right in the saloon. The bullet holes in the wall were never patched and the saloon proudly displays them as a sort of memorial. To this day, Paul’s ghost still haunts the site of his death, glaring at customers from the dark corners.
Santa Monica, CA
Originally a Victorian-era restaurant
, then a jazz club, then a wine cellar, this space is now home to both a hip, retro cocktail lounge and a friendly ghost named Delia. The spirit of this old lady, the last caretaker of the estate, usually minds her own business but occasionally amuses herself by flicking the lights and slamming the doors. There’s even a cocktail named after her, Delia’s Elixir
, a mix of bourbon, agave, lemon and raspberries.
White Eagle Saloon
Once nicknamed the “Bucket of Blood” because of the frequent, violent brawls, the waterfront White Eagle Saloon
abounds with ghostly stories. A tunnel-like portal in the basement (which was rumored to once be an opium den) has inspired stories of shanghaied guests who were secretly transported through a network of caves out to sea. Many psychics have felt disturbing presences emanating from the basement, while patrons have reported all the usual phantom flourishes, including toilet flushings and levitating objects.
Kell’s Irish Restaurant and Pub
This charming Irish pub was a mortuary in the early 1900s. Corpses were hauled in and out of what is now the bar’s front door, and bodies were embalmed in the modern day common area. A bartender has reported often seeing a little girl waiting at the top of the stairs, while other employees claim to have seen a tall, older man wearing a suit jacket and an “old-timey” hat who disappears once you notice him. The pub was featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures,
and professionals determined that the building was, in fact, haunted by many spirits.