The 7 most haunted bars in the US

Every town in America seems to have its own ghost stories. Often, those stories revolve around children’s tales passed on from generation to generation. Some of the stories, however, are only for people of the legal drinking age. In small towns and big cities, there are bars where the patrons allegedly never left. These are the seven most haunted bars in the US.

1. Kells Irish Pub in Seattle, Washington

Like many of the haunted bars on this list, Kells’ haunting traces back to what the building was originally used for. In this case, it was the E. R. Butterworth and Sons Mortuary, which was built for people who died in the early 1900s from disease and mining accidents.

Spirits from those bodies never left, according to some patrons and previous owners. Mirrors inexplicably break along with glasses that slide off the edge of the bar and crash to the floor. A thin man has been spotted in the kitchen, and the ghost of a child has been seen on the second floor. Many of the spirits are bone-thin, which traces back to the mortuary days and practices of Dr. Linda Hazzard. Hazzard “treated” patients by starving them with a diet solely made up of bone broth.

2. Shaker’s Cigar Bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Shaker’s is part restaurant, part cocktail bar, and part cigar bar. According to owner Bob Weiss, it’s 100 percent haunted. Weiss isn’t afraid to let people know, either, and he operates a business called Hangman Tours in and around the building where people can learn about Jeffrey Dahmer and the area’s brothel history in the 1920s.

According to Weiss and visitors, there are at least 14 spirits that hang around. They date back to the early days of the building, which was constructed as a cooperage house for Schlitz Brewery in 1894. Al and Frank Capone bought it in the 1920s and ran it as a speakeasy. That’s when the murders started happening. The first was a 16-year-old girl named Molly Brennan who was working as a prostitute on the third floor. The bones of other bodies were found built into the walls when Shaker’s was remodeled in the late 1980s.

The bar takes full advantage of its spooky reputation today. If you go on a tour, you can take along a special-priced beer or Death in the Absinthe cocktail made with prosecco and European absinthe. You can also stay the night in the third-floor penthouse — if you sign the agreement that you won’t hold the bar accountable for any physical or psychological damage.

3. The Tavern in Austin, Texas

The Tavern opened in 1933. Well, it officially opened in 1933. Like so many of America’s historic bars, The Tavern operated as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Those were the bar’s seedy days. It was a real speakeasy, not what the modern cocktail movement has made us think of speakeasies. The second floor of the building also served as a brothel. According to legend, a sex worker named Emily was killed during a bar fight that she (probably) had nothing to do with. Some people say she stuck around, and she appears to be pretty bored with the German-style sports bar The Tavern has turned into. Guests have reported Emily pinching them and changing the channel, and a few people have claimed to see her ghostly figure.

4. Stone’s Public House in Ashland, Massachusetts

John Stone built what is now Stone’s Public House in 1832. It was designed to pull in a crowd from the railroad that went straight through the town, and according to the history on Stone’s website, it was successful. It changed ownership numerous times over the years until it landed in the hands of Leonard Fournier in 1976. Fournier told the local paper that weird things were happening around the bar, and he brought in paranormal investigators in the ‘80s. They found numerous spirits of “mostly sullen male phantoms.” One guy in particular, Burt Philips, died there in the 1890s. Now he sticks around because he was the type of drunkard that bars just can’t seem to get to get rid of.

There are also the spirits of a chambermaid named Sadie, a man who was killed on the property named Michael, and three or four other nameless ghosts. Those who are not named reportedly turn lights on and off, drop birdseed from the ceiling, and mess with the water.

5. Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West, Florida

The building that is now Captain Tony’s used to be an ice house, a cigar factory, a speakeasy, a brothel, and, if you go way back to the building’s history, a city morgue. Legends like Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Shel Silverstein, and Jimmy Buffet have all stopped by for a drink. But it’s the people who stopped by and never left that make Captain Tony’s special. In 1851, there was a “hanging tree” on the property. Sixteen pirates and a woman who killed her husband and children with a knife were hung on the tree. It seems the hanging tree’s location was mostly one of convenience since the building was also the morgue at the time.

In 1865, a hurricane swept away most of the bodies in the morgue. When the water cleared, locals found a body outside of the building. They buried it and built a wall with bottles of holy water around the new grave site. The site became Captain Tony’s in 1958, and over time, the bar expanded around the holy water walls and former hanging tree. Up to 15 skeletons were found during expansion, making the place ripe for ghost stories. One in particular stands out, though: that of the woman from the hanging tree, known as the Lady in Blue because she chopped up her family while wearing a blue dress.

You might catch a glimpse or feel a tap on your shoulder from the Lady in Blue if you visit Captain Tony’s today. Or the tap could be from one of the many bras that now dangle from the hanging tree. You be the judge.

6. Tiger’s Tap Room in the Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona

There are four bars in the Hotel Congress, but only one of them has a haunting reputation: Tiger’s Tap Room. The bar is named after Tom Ziegler, a bartender who’s worked there on and off for the last 50 years and is known simply as Tiger. Most of the hauntings happen upstairs in the hotel (specifically room 242 where a woman shot herself to death), but sometimes people feel spirits wander down to the bar to rattle some floors and shake some doors.

7. Simon’s Tavern in Chicago, Illinois

Simon’s officially came on the Chicago scene in the 1930s, but this being Chicago, the bar has quite the Prohibition history. Once it went legit, though, it was a haven for the area’s Swedish immigrants. It’s the local bar for many in the area now, including (allegedly) the ghost of a woman in a love triangle.

The haunting started with a mural called “The Deer Hunters Ball,” according to owner Scott Martin. The painting depicts one of the traditional parties held every year on the last weekend of deer hunting season in the ‘60s and covers a whole section of the wall. The face of one of the women was cut out of the mural and replaced, however. That married woman was the person with whom the son of the bar’s eponymous owner, Roy, was having an affair. Roy and the woman got into a car accident in the 1960s, and she died, prompting the husband to plot Roy’s murder. The murder never occurred, and the family cut the woman’s face out of the photo to ignore the problem.

When Roy died, the current bar owner noticed Roy’s face in the mural suddenly had a tear around it. That section of the painting was coming off, just like how the woman’s face had been cut out. Today, the story is that the two lovers have been reunited. Some believe that ended the haunting, but others say it means the ghosts still come around — they’re just happy now.

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