Where better to spend the scariest night of the year — and you know when that is — than in one of the world’s spookiest bars?
Forget bars decorated with Halloween paraphernalia slapped up in a lame attempt to scare you. These are really old bars with aged walls and vintage décor, places that are said to be haunted by spirits that, if you encounter them, might actually have you running out into the street in fear for your life.
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.
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.
Patrons will find that some ghosts are friendlier than others. Originally called the Glencairn Hotel, Glen Lodge and Pub in Cape Town, South Africa, 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.
And still others are a little too friendly. 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.
These bars aren’t for the fainthearted. This Halloween, you might test your bravery and order a drink at one of these creepy bars. We’re sure they’ll send a shiver down your spine.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Jean Lafitte's Old Absinthe House — New Orleans
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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
See more spooky bars around the world.
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