With All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) just around the corner, consider doing something different and get a drink in a haunted bar. Where better to spend this spooky holiday than a place where you can simultaneously tie one on while listening for strange noises. And when you eventually hear them, you'll always wonder if it was the booze or the spirits (meaning ghosts, not hooch).
For over two years we've been filming historical bars across the United States, and in that time we've heard a lot of ghost stories in the places we've filmed. But, the following interviews are from those that we felt were particularly strong. If you're in the area, go by and drink enough to believe it yourself.
1. Simon's Tavern, Chicago, Illinois
Simon's Tavern is one of Chicago's premier haunted bars, and there's been a family cover-up. It doesn't have anything to do with the current owner, Scott Martin, but the previous owners that he bought the place from. A tragic love affair and death leads to some hurt feelings from the undead, who now chooses to haunt the large mural in the bar. Go by late, have a few and see if you can feel the presence of the miffed lover. (Insider Tip -- Find the five hidden animals in the mural on the wall and you get to drink for free for the rest of the night.)
2. Bridge Cafe, New York, New York
Bridge Cafe is one of the best haunted bars in New York City. Right next to the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side, and just three blocks from the water, it's haunted by any number of its past visitors. It's been a drinking place since 1794, a brothel in the 1800s, and a haven to pirates and other hooligans. Now one of those people, or their victims, is spending their time creeping out the manager, Adam. (Insider Tip -- If Adam is working ask to have him make you a signature Old Fashioned. You won't be disappointed.)
3. Room 242 in the Hotel Congress, Tucson, Arizona
While filming the Tap Room at the Hotel Congress in Tucson, we learned about its notorious past and its current reputation as a haunted hotel. Opened in 1919 it became famous when in 1934 a fire started in the basement. Saved from their room, a few of the tenants bribed a firefighter to retrieve their... unique luggage. Turns out the luggage was $25,000 in cash and some Tommy Guns. They were the gang of none other than John Dillinger. Both he and his gang were subsequently rounded up and hauled off to the hoosegow. We learned, though, that hauntings are frequent, and that room 242 is particularly active. (Insider Tip -- The hotel's bar "Tigers Tap Room" is often rated as serving the best dry martini in Tucson.)
4. The Ghost Room at Double Eagle de Mesilla, Mesilla, NM
The Double Eagle has one of the most opulent bars we've been to (transported from the Drake Hotel in Chicago). But it's also one of the most authentically haunted restaurants (or haunted bars) we've ever visited. While filming, the manager, Jerry, told us about their ghost room, so we had to see it. This room really is pretty creepy. We don't often get freaked out, but while filming here the newly charged batteries for both our video camera and digital still camera died in just minutes. In fact, the digital still camera went through two batteries in about five minutes trying to take pics just in this room. Weird. Anyway, definitely recommended. (Insider Tip -- Order one of their award winning Bloody Maries, made with their house infused green Chile vodka.)
Wherever you choose to spend this Halloween, enjoy yourself to the fullest while staying safe.