America's Haunted Bars Slideshow
October 10, 2011
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop (New Orleans)
Founded in 1772 by pirate Jean Lafitte, this bar was supposedly first established as a front for his extensive smuggling operations. However, according to legend, the pirate life comes with a price. Paranormal sightings are a regular occurrence here, with spirits and inexplicable moving objects galore. Lafitte is said to be a regular at the bar (more than 200 years after his death), and rumor has it he is chained into guarding his treasure, hidden somewhere inside the establishment. Until the treasure is found, he will be eternally damned to the bar (hey, there are worse places to be damned to).
The Old Absinthe House (New Orleans)
Although this bar (founded in 1874) was supposed to have been destroyed when Prohibition went into effect, it survived thanks to a fervent, if somewhat law-breaking, crowd of regulars. Among the famous ghosts said to have been spotted here are Jean Lafitte and Andrew Jackson. The sound of late night parties have also been reported by people outside the bar after it has supposedly been locked up with no one inside. There is also the occasional incident of plates and chairs moving around the bar completely on their own. Vaporous figures have also been spotted, along with strange noises emitting from the tunnels underneath the bar.
Ear Inn (New York City)
This bar is home to what is arguably one of the more well-known spirits: a temperamental sailor named Mickey famous for causing trouble throughout the bar's long history. This sailor is known for not letting death slow down his amorous, seafaring ways, reportedly feeling up the female patrons through the ether, and even climbing into bed with those maidens bold enough to stay the night above the bar. There are even accounts of drinks being paranormally drained when no one is around. The most disturbing event happened in 1996, however, when a fire broke out inside the bar without a logical starting point. Maybe Mickey had just had one too many?
The Pirate's House (Savannah, Ga.)
Supposedly the ghost of one Captain Flint (yes, of Treasure Island fame), who died in one of the upstairs rooms still haunts this bar. Also, in the stairway to the basement of the bar there is a plaque that reads, "According to legend, this stairway at one time led to the entrance of a tunnel which ran from the old rum cellar beneath the Pirate's House to the banks of the Savannah River, a short block away. 'Tis said that many able-bodied men, drinking in carefree abandon in what is now our Captain's Room, were carried, drugged and unconscious, through the tunnel to sailing ships anchored in the harbor and were shanghaied by short-handed ships' masters to complete their crews." Angry pirate spirits, anyone?
Moss Beach Distillery (Moss Beach, Calif.)
Once a famous speakeasy, the venue was known for constantly receiving shipments of illegal hooch from ships docked on the beach, and was patronized by politicians, movie stars, and people of note on the West Coast. Among those guests was a nameless woman who arrived every week at the speakeasy to meet her lover. One night, walking on the beach with her lover, they were attacked and the woman, dressed in blue, was killed, while her lover escaped. Now it is said that she haunts the distillery, still looking to rendezvous with her long-gone love. Sightings of The Woman In Blue have been plenty, along with missing earrings appearing in nonsensical locations throughout the bar.
White Horse Tavern (New York City)
This tavern is near and dear to anyone who considers themselves a fan of drinking with the deceased. This is thanks in particular to the poet Dylan Thomas, who, in 1953, dramatically drank himself to death with 18 shots of whiskey at his favorite table. The story goes that as he was at death’s door, his last words were, “I’ve just had 18 straight whiskies, I think that’s a record.” It could very well be, but many people visiting the bar since have seen Thomas’ favorite table being rotated by an invisible hand, a habit he had when still alive. Be sure to give him proper credit if he happens to make an appearance at his favorite table — just challenge him to a drinking contest.
Pat O'Brien's (New Orleans)
This 24-hour bar is best known for its strong Hurricane cocktails and haunted ladies room. Bartenders and patrons alike have reported strange occurrences near the Piano Bar and courtyard as well.