The 12 Spookiest Bars in the World

These bars are apparently stocked with more than one kind of spirits

The 12 Spookiest Bars in the World

Many of the world’s oldest bars, where centuries of history, good and bad, have taken place, are also the most haunted, maybe by men and women who died in a jail cell, were innocent victims in a brutal murder, or just couldn’t part with their beloved drinking spot.

The Ten Bells — London, England

Thought to be the most haunted pub in London, The Ten Bells was once called Jack the Ripper, a reference to the fact that several of the Ripper's victim drank here. Paranormal activity has been reported repeatedly by bar staff, including eerie footsteps heard from the floor above the pub (which used to house tenants) as well as the shadowy figure of an old man dressed in Victorian clothing, either the ghost of a victim or a murderer.

Ear Inn — New York City

Disputed as the oldest working bar in New York City, the Ear Inn sits in the spot of a speakeasy that was around before Prohibition, and the upstairs apartment was previously a boarding house, a smuggler’s den, and a brothel. Ghosts have been seen and heard haunting the property, in particular, one called "Mickey," a sailor, rumor has it, who's still waiting for his clipper ship to come in. Women who have been brave enough to rent out the apartment have claimed that Mickey likes to linger and has even crawled into bed with them.

The Banshee Labyrinth — Edinburgh, Scotland

Once part of the infamous Edinburgh underground vaults, where criminals carried out grisly deeds and ended innocent lives, The Banshee Labyrinth is named for the spirit of the Banshee (a female spirit who wails when someone is about to die) that haunts it. When refurbishing the pub, workmen claimed they heard a terrible scream; then, hours later, one of them heard news that a family member had passed away.

Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House — New Orleans

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In the heart of the French Quarter, Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House — which opened in 1807 and served absinthe until it was banned in 1914 (it is now legal again) — is named after pirate Jean Lafitte, who is rumored to have met with former president Andrew Jackson on the second floor to plan the victory of the battle of New Orleans. Lafitte still haunts the bar, and occasionally, they say, still throws parties there — laughter can be heard, chairs and dishes move, and objects fly across the room.

North Kapunda Hotel — Kapunda, Australia

In the late 1800s, the North Kapunda Hotel was known as a house of ill repute, where miners who worked in the tunnels below could have a girl, a meal, and a drink, then go back to work. Ghosts who haunt the bar are most likely ex-residents, former owners of the bar, prostitutes, and miners.

The Pirate’s House — Savannah, Georgia

It’s rumored that Captain Flint, who buried the original treasure on Treasure Island, according to the novel of that name, died in an upstairs room of The Pirate’s House, which is believed to be the oldest house in Georgia. A very rare edition of the novel, by Robert Louis Stevenson, hangs on the walls of two rooms in the bar, in reference to the fact that some of the story supposedly took place there. Bar staff and patrons swear that the ghost of Captain Flint haunts the bar on moonless nights.

One Eyed Gypsy — Los Angeles

According to legend, the (recently closed) One-Eyed Gypsy in Los Angeles was once a brothel that burned up, killing everyone inside. The bar that was rebuilt on the site is now haunted, they say, by the mistress who ran the brothel, along with what is believed to be as many as 30 ghosts. Many have claimed that they’ve heard voices calling out from empty rooms, unseen hands touching them, and lights and faucets turning on and off by themselves. But the spookiest event was when a crown that sits on the head of a mounted statue behind the bar once flew across the room, hitting a patron on the head.

Ostrich Inn — Buckinghamshire, England

Before it was a pub (the third oldest in England), the Ostrich Inn was a seventeenth-century inn  where more than 60 murders were apparently committed. The landlords at the time, a man named Jarman and his wife, made a profit by murdering guests after they had fallen asleep. Their method for murder was very calculated: They installed a trap door in the floor of one of the bedrooms and fixed the bed frame so that it was hinged. Once the guest was asleep, they would tip the bed, and the victim would fall through the trap door into a tub of boiling liquid, which would instantly kill them. Ghostly figures, one of a woman in a Victorian dress, have been seen in the upstairs restaurant where the murders took place, and cold spots can be felt in the downstairs ladies room, where Jarman supposedly stored the bodies of his victims in the pantry.

Alibi — Boston

What was once Boston’s old jail house, where infamous criminals were incarcerated, is now the luxurious Liberty Hotel. Inside its bar Alibi — which is still lined with original bluestone floors, brick cell walls, and even a few cell bars — photos of celebrity criminals and their alibis hang on the walls as a ghostly reminder of the space’s haunting past. As far as anyone knows, there’ve been no reports of ghosts sightings, but, who knows, they may be lerking in the shadows.

The White Horse Tavern — Newport, Rhode Island

It’s not just one of America’s spookiest bars; The White Horse Tavern — built in 1673 — is sometimes said to be America’s oldest bar, where Founding Fathers, colonists, British soldiers, Hessian mercenaries, pirates, and sailors all dropped in for a drink. Over the years, there were a few deaths there, and some spirits still haunt it. Staff and diners have reported seeing the ghost of an elderly man in the main dining room near the fire place. Another, an unseen entity, regularly patrols the building and supervises the staff, counting money and letting them know when it’s time to lock up.

Glen Lodge and Pub — Cape Town, South Africa

Originally called the Glencairn Hotel, Glen Lodge and Pub is home to two harmless ghosts: a middle-aged woman wearing a white gown and holding a candle and a boy around 5 years old, who likes to stamp his feet and throw things around, and sometimes play games.

Brazen Head — Dublin, Ireland

Known to be Ireland’s oldest pub, serving drinks since 1198, the Brazen Head is rumored to be haunted by a rebel leader Robert Emmet, who used to hold resistance meetings there. When he was on trial for execution in 1803, he asked that his grave not be marked until Ireland was a sovereign nation, and to this day, the whereabouts of his body are unknown. But his spirit remains in the pub, perhaps watching out for his enemies.