Whether you’re a believer looking for a thrill or a skeptic looking to be proven wrong, there’s no doubt that these haunted restaurants have something special.
With guests ranging from an accused witch burned at the stake to a maid with a deadly secret, these 13 places are sure to give you unforgettable experiences.
1. Captain Tony’s Saloon (Key West, FL)
It should come as no surprise that this place is crawling with ghosts given that it used to be the city morgue. The most famous ghost? The “Lady in Blue,” who earned her name from the blue dress she wore when she was hanged for murdering her husband and two sons. The infamous “Hanging Tree” still stands in Captain Tony’s Saloon, and one unlucky patron reported third degree burns on his hands simply from touching it.
2. Muriel’s (New Orleans, LA)
If you’re someone who embraces paranormal experiences, then you’re in good company at Muriel’s. This restaurant proudly calls themselves a “refuge for the lost souls wandering the streets of the French Quarter” and gladly welcomes any and all spirits.
Muriel’s signature ghost, Antoine Lepardi Jordan, committed suicide after losing the building in a poker match. Despite his tragic end, Jordan is said to appear to diners as a shimmery light and is still honored with a table set with bread and wine for him each night (pictured above).
3. The Kennedy School Courtyard Restaurant (Portland, OR)
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, this restaurant has combined the two scariest things in the world: ghosts and school. Two diners at this former elementary school reported seeing a translucent young boy in the corner of the women’s washroom, soaking wet and walking intensely in circles.
In fact, ghost sightings are so frequent that the front desk carries a “ghost log” where guests can record the range of freaky experiences they’ve had.
4. One if by Land, Two if by Sea (New York, NY)
For the Hamilton fans, this restaurant is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Aaron Burr and his daughter, Theodosia. The building used to be Burr’s carriage house, and his daughter Theodosia was on her way to visit him when pirates took over her ship. All of Theodosia’s valuables were stolen and she was left stranded at sea, never to return.
Coincidentally, multiple women have reported having their earrings stolen by Theodosia while sitting at the bar. Talk about being in the room where it happens, am I right?
5. Gadsby’s Tavern (Alexandria, VA)
The story of Gadsby’s goes back to 1833, when a sick young woman and her husband showed up in need of a room but refused to give their names to book it. A doctor was called to attend to the woman, and when he pronounced that she wouldn’t make it, the couple made everyone present swear an oath to never reveal any details about the pair’s identity.
The legend gets a little murky after that. Some say the husband quickly skipped town without paying for the hotel or a funeral. Others say that he stayed to throw a lavish funeral for his dead wife before departing, and some question whether he was actually her husband at all.
The Grave of the Female Stranger now stands in an Alexandrian cemetery, but if you’d like to get a little closer than that, many people have seen her ghost standing in Room 8 of the tavern where she died. Other reports include the appearance of lit candles in the window and the sounds of footsteps and a woman, presumably the Female Stranger, crying.
6. The Keg Mansion (Toronto, ON)
The building that now houses The Keg used to be home to the wealthy Massey family. When their only daughter, Lillian, got sick and died, a maid who worked in the household hanged herself at the top of the stairs. Rumor has it that Lillian had been helping the maid protect a dark secret. This could be the reason why the maid still hasn’t crossed over and is often seen dangling at the top of the stairs by patrons.
7. Jean Bonnet Tavern (Bedford, PA)
The lack of a proper courthouse during the 18th century meant that the Jean Bonnet Tavern was used to try criminals, and those sentenced to die were hanged right on site. The various unidentified criminals haunting the tavern present themselves mostly through small tricks: moving around eyeglasses, unrolling paper towels, and once even starting a blender full of strawberry daiquiri before the lid was on.
A little creepier? The sound of a crying baby haunts the hallways, and the empty rocking chair in Room 3 often begins to sway and creak in the middle of the night.
8. Turner’s Seafood (Salem, MA)
If the location didn’t give you enough of a hint, this restaurant is said to be haunted by the spirit of Bridget Bishop, the first accused witch burned in the Salem Witch Trials. The restaurant was built on the grounds of her old apple orchard, and staff have reported smelling apples even when there aren’t any around. Less frequently, Bishop has been reported to appear floating above the staircase or reflected in mirrors and windows.
9. Brennan’s (New Orleans, LA)
Although most ghosts simply haunt restaurants, the ones at Brennan’s prefer to help run it. The spirit of Paul Blange, a former chef, has a habit of touching the kitchen workers as they prepare food, ensuring that everything is up to his standard.
Another deceased employee, wine master Herman Funk, haunts the cellar. It is said that when he hears an employee grabbing a bottle, he’ll clink a different bottle: his recommendation. Employees will often give diners a choice between what they requested and Funk’s recommendation, just to keep him happy.
10. Old Town Pizza (Portland, OR)
As you may have guessed by now, no haunted restaurant is complete without a signature ghost. Old Town Pizza’s is Nina (pronounced Nigh-na), a young slave who was sold into prostitution. When a group of traveling missionaries passed through town, they convinced Nina to give them information in exchange for freedom from the life she had been forced into. Nina was soon afterward found thrown down the elevator shaft.
Diners have reported seeing flashes of a woman in a black dress and smelling wafts of perfume, but Nina isn’t always so subtle. A bowl of Scrabble pieces left for her is sometimes used to spell out messages, and it is believed that she’s responsible for the name “Nina” carved into the wall of the elevator shaft where she died.
11. Il Buco (New York, NY)
Although classic phenomena like the sound of a baby crying and apparitions of a fighting couple can be found here, Il Buco’s real claim to fame is the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. It’s said that he haunts the wine cellar, and it’s thanks to him that staff will often find a fully-sealed, half-empty bottle of wine in the cellar.
That said, the logistics of an immaterial ghost drinking a real-world liquid are hard to work out, even for strong believers. On a completely unrelated note, do you think Il Buco is hiring?
12. Basement Tavern (Santa Monica, CA)
Not much is known about the resident ghost, Delia, but she’s said to have been the last housekeeper of the building before it was moved and converted into a restaurant. If ouija boards aren’t quite your style, try ordering “Delia’s Elixir,” the ghost’s signature mix of bourbon, agave, lemon and raspberries. Let the footsteps, shattering glasses, and flickering lights commence.
13. Restaurant 1833 (Monterey, CA)
Back in the 1800s, a British doctor named James Stokes immigrated to Monterey and set up an apothecary in the building that now houses Restaurant 1833. He was well-liked and his professional life blossomed, as did his personal one. He married a widow, gaining four children and fathering two more.
It wasn’t until two years later, after an important patient died in his care, that the community realized what a significant percentage of their population Stokes had failed to cure. As it turns out, he didn’t have a medical license or any experience treating illnesses. He was even responsible for killing the husband of his now-wife, allowing for their marriage.
His ghost still roams the building, doing considerably douche-y things like trashing the restaurant during the night. On a sadder note? The disembodied voice of a woman, presumably one of Stokes’ victims, can sometimes be heard asking someone to help her.