Ghouls, specters, ghosts, phantoms, apparitions ─ whatever you call them, these restaurants have them. Each restaurant on this list has its own legend for why it is haunted. Some ghosts are said to be present because they have unfinished business and simply cannot move on to the other side, while others have a much creepier past. The spirits remain in these establishments, lingering in the small corners and crevasses, awaiting to make themselves known. Employees and patrons have reported eerie happenings in these places and all insist their experiences were much more than their imaginations.
Next time you are visiting Milwaukee or drop by the small town of Little Falls in New York, swing by some of the spookiest restaurants in the U.S. You may get a glimpse of the spirits that occupy these bars or merely just get a peculiar feeling while dining. But, don’t be alarmed, order that pub grub and enjoy a glass of wine as you dine among the dead in the 10 most terrifying restaurants in America.
10 Muriel’s Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA
Located in the heart of the “Big Easy’s” French Quarter, Muriel's has one table that is always reserved. Set each night with bread and wine, this table is occupied by the ghost of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan. The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 tragically destroyed almost all of the French Quarter and a beautiful mansion was part of the wreckage. Soon after, New Orleans began to rebuild and new structures began to fill up the city. The property on which the mansion once stood was purchased by Jourdan to live in with his family. He restored the home and it became Jourdan’s pride and joy.
The splendor of his mansion, however, could not stop him from placing a bet that would forever change his life. After losing the house in a poker game, Jourdan took his own life on the second floor of the property. Named the Séance Lounges because Jourdan’s ghost seems to hang around there the most, Muriel’s second floor is the sight of countless spooky happenings. Patrons say Jourdan regularly appears as a ghostly gleam of light, often knocking on the brick wall adorning the lounges. Jourdan is not the only spirit gracing patrons and staff with its presence, however. Wine glasses mysteriously crash against the wall in the Courtyard Bar, sometimes a woman’s voice can also be heard and inexplicable shadows appear.
9 Poogan’s Porch, Charleston, SC
This South Carolina restaurant first opened its doors in 1976 and although it’s hidden away on Queen Street, that hasn’t stopped the presence of Zoe St. Armand from letting patrons and staff alike know she’s there. St. Armand and her family lived in this Victorian house turned restaurant, in the 1900s. On one ill-fated night she looked furiously around the house for her sister, falling down the stairs and dying in the process. Dressed in black, Zoe’s ghost continues to search for her sister in the dining room of the restaurant to this day. Zoe has company, though, the dog whom the restaurant is named after can be felt scurrying under the tables by children dining with their parents.
8 Stone’s Public House, Ashland, MA
This New England gastropub is riddled with spirits. Originally an inn during the mid-1800s, this building was constructed by original owner John Stone. Legend has it that Stone lost $3,000 to a guest during a card game. Suspecting that the guest cheated, Stone killed the New Yorker and forced all who witnessed to help with the cheater’s burial. This grave secret keeps Stone and the witnesses trapped in the pub, and patrons as well as staff experience baffling incidents of glasses flying from shelves and breaking out of nowhere. Customers also say they’ve felt hands eerily resting on their necks while dining.
7 Beardslee Castle, Little Falls, NY
As the name suggests, this restaurant brings people back to the Middle Ages. This medieval Irish Castle is haunted by several ghosts that patrons and employees declare are present. Many legends exist to explain the apparitions; it is said that in the early 1700s Native Americans were murdered on the castle’s property and their souls remain. A man by the name of Anton Christenson was a former owner of the property and hanged himself during the 1950s after a long battle with health problems and he is said to roam around the estate. The last spirit haunting the restaurant is a woman named Abigail who died the night before her wedding. These ghouls are believed to be the cause of a huge fire that wrecked the kitchen of the castle in 1989 but many say these spirits aren’t all bad, sometimes helping staff by resetting tables within the dining rooms.
6 Lemp Mansion, St. Louis, MO
This St. Louis restaurant’s namesake was the Lemp family, a family who lived in this 19th century Victorian mansion. The father, Adam Lemp immigrated to Missouri from Germany and turned the mansion into a brewery, finding great success selling German beer, but things took a turn for the worse. Time passed and Adam’s son William took over the business but shortly after, William’s 28 year old son Frederick unexpectedly died. William, devastated by losing his son, then shot himself. The next Lemp in line to take control of the brewery was William’s brother, Billy Jr. but he had to close the mansion’s doors after Prohibition banned the distribution and sale of liquor. Distraught by this, Billy Jr. also committed suicide in the home. As if two suicides in the mansion weren’t tragic enough, Billy Jr.’s brother became the third Lemp family member to die by his own hand in this house turned restaurant. The sinister Lemp men still occupy the mansion, locking and unlocking doors, playing the piano, throwing glasses, and appearing frequently to patrons and employees.
5 Tonic Room, Chicago, IL
The Tonic Room in Chicago has a chilling history. When the tavern first opened in the 1920s, the owners came across some unnerving images, including Egyptian iconography and pentagrams in the basement. The bar was believed to have been used for human sacrifice by an American Chapter of a secret society called the Golden Dawn. Word has it, that a man attended one of the society’s meetings and brought his young daughter along. The little girl allegedly observed a ritual killing in the bar’s basement. The Tonic Room also served as a meeting place for members of the Irish North Side Mob. In the 1960s, the bar was bought out by a self-proclaimed witch named Frederic De’Arechaga who transformed it into an occult store. The staff and guests of The Tonic Room state seeing ghostly apparitions in the sinister basement and bar.
4 Scarlett O’Hara’s, St. Augustine, FL
This restaurant is undeniably believed to be haunted, considering the upstairs bar is named Ghost Bar. Rumor has it that a man named George Colee built the property in the late 1800s for his soon to be wife. Colee’s fiance, however, took off to be with a soldier before construction was complete and Colee drowned himself in the upstairs bathtub shortly thereafter. Most of the unnerving experiences happen in that very bathroom located in the Ghost Bar. The bathtub has been removed but not Colee’s spirit, who routinely bothers patrons using the restroom. That’s not the only strange phenomena taking place at this Florida pub though; liquor bottles peculiarly crash to the floor and ropes have been secured to the liquor shelf to prevent these ghostly disturbances.
3 Shaker’s Cigar Bar, Milwaukee, WI
Shaker’s is known not only for Milwaukee’s only cigar bar, but also for the two female ghosts that inhabit it. Back in the 1800s, an 8 year old named Elizabeth climbed an apple tree and fell to her death. Today, Elizabeth’s laughs can be heard from the women’s restroom and her small feet can be seen peeking out from the stalls. Another girl’s spirit roams the grounds as well. Over a century after the apple tree tragedy, another girl, Molly Brennan, died. She was a hooker purportedly murdered in the third-floor penthouse, her body dismembered and buried. Guests occupying the room where Brennan was murdered report hallucinating horrible images like burning walls and gushing water. The fright doesn’t stop there, however, as the bar’s cellar is said to be inhabited by “Shadow People” who appear and quickly disappear behind shelves.
2 Casey Moore's Oyster House, Tempe, AZ
Not far from Arizona State University and often frequented by the college coeds, Casey Moore's is well-known for its spooky sounds and sights. Over one hundred years old, it's no surprise that the space has served many purposes over the years; a home, boarding house, brothel, it was a restaurant called Ninth and Ash and now Casey Moore's Oyster House. William Moeur built this property in 1910 and he and his wife both perished in the home. Late at night, onlookers have reported seeing a couple dancing in the upper part of the restaurant, only to learn later that police checked and found nobody inside. Many believe the vanishing acts are performed by the ghosts of William and Mary Moeur. Other extraordinary occurrences have taken place too; forks mysteriously glide across tables and hit the wall, place settings are rearranged, and lamps often move on their own. A tale of a young woman killed while working in the brothel also circulates, accounting for the long, black-haired ghost that whispers and appears to guests and employees.
1 Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, Concord, NH
Possibly the creepiest restaurant on the list is Margaritas Mexican Restaurant in New Hampshire, if not for the ghouls, for the outrageous décor. Patrons don’t dine while sitting at standard tables, but rather eat at tables set inside old jail cells. This south of the border restaurant was once a jail and the owners decided to maintain its original style by seating guests at these terrifying tables. Diners have reported seeing silverware and plate settings supernaturally floating from the tables, totally detached with no explanation for their suspense. The guests are not the only ones experiencing paranormal activity, as the staff at this former penitentiary describe many occasions in which they hear strange and unaccounted for voices.