The Ultimate Guide to America’s Most Haunted Bars and Restaurants

For those with a penchant for the paranormal, there’s a thrill in dining or enjoying a drink in a place where spirits might join you (and we’re not talking about the ones in your glass). With its rich history and countless tales of love, tragedy, and mystery, America offers many such haunting spots.

Let’s dive deeper into the chilling tales behind these establishments and offer some tips for your visit.

Here are the most haunted bars and restaurants in the USA for quick reference. Read the article in full, or click the link to learn more about the specific bars and restaurants.

  1. The Stanley Hotel’s Whiskey Bar – Estes Park, Colorado
  2. Muriel’s Jackson Square – New Orleans, Louisiana
  3. White Horse Tavern – Newport, Rhode Island
  4. Jean Bonnet Tavern – Bedford, Pennsylvania
  5. Moon River Brewing Company – Savannah, Georgia
  6. The Pirates’ House – Savannah, Georgia
  7. Hotel Conneaut’s Spirits Lounge – Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania
  8. Ear Inn – New York City, New York
  9. The Myrtles Plantation Restaurant – St. Francisville, Louisiana
  10. Bobby Mackey’s Music World – Wilder, Kentucky

If you want to learn more about the best ghost tours in New York, you will find great information in the article below.

Related article: The Best Ghost Tours in New York

Please let me know if you have tips on spooky restaurants or bars that might fit this compilation. I love to add to the list to keep it relevant and current.

If you want to learn more about the most haunted sites in America, you can find them all listed in the article below.

Related article: Ghost Hunter’s Edition: Most Haunted Sites in America

1. The Stanley Hotel’s Whiskey Bar – Estes Park, Colorado

Cred: Trip Advisor, edited by me

The Grand Stanley Hotel has been around since 1909. While it might be renowned for inspiring Stephen King’s ‘The Shining,’ its real-life apparitions are even more intriguing.

Visitors often report hearing piano music with no pianist in sight and laughter from unseen children.

Perhaps order a “Redrum” cocktail at the bar and watch for fleeting shadows or unexpected cold drafts.

Historical Background

The Stanley Hotel, established in 1909, is a majestic Georgian Revival-style hotel situated in Estes Park, Colorado. It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley, the co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, as a luxurious resort to alleviate his health problems caused by tuberculosis.

Over the years, the Stanley Hotel has become renowned for its architectural beauty, scenic location, and purported hauntings.

The Hauntings

  1. Flora Stanley’s Piano Recitals: The most famous ghostly resident is Flora Stanley, the wife of F.O. Stanley. Many guests and staff have reported hearing piano music from the ballroom late at night. When they check, there’s no one at the piano. However, the keys sometimes appear to move on their own. Flora was known to play the piano when she was alive, and many believe she continues to do so in the afterlife.
  2. Room 217: While the Whiskey Bar has its tales, Room 217 is perhaps the hotel’s most infamous spot due to a legend from the 1910s. A housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson was injured in a gas explosion in this room. Though she survived the accident, guests staying in Room 217 have reported experiencing unexplained phenomena, like unpacked belongings or lights turning on and off. Stephen King stayed in this room, and it inspired his iconic horror novel, “The Shining.”
  3. Ghostly Children: Guests have often reported hearing the sounds of children laughing, giggling, or running down the corridors, particularly on the fourth floor, which was once the location of the servants’ quarters. Some have even seen apparitions of children playing in the hallways late at night.
  4. F.O. Stanley’s Appearances: The founder, F.O. Stanley, has been spotted several times. He is usually seen in the lobby and the Billiards Room (now part of the Whiskey Bar), his favorite room when he was alive. He oversees the operations, ensuring his guests are well cared for.

Modern-Day Relevance

The hauntings of the Stanley Hotel have captured the imaginations of many, resulting in it becoming a popular spot for paranormal investigators and enthusiasts. The hotel has embraced its ghostly reputation, offering nightly ghost tours and hosting various paranormal-themed events throughout the year.

The connection to Stephen King’s “The Shining” further solidified its popular culture status. While King’s novel was not explicitly set at the Stanley, his stay at the hotel undeniably influenced the eerie atmosphere and isolated setting.

Whether it’s Flora’s piano recitals, the playful children, or F.O. Stanley’s watchful presence, The Stanley Hotel is undoubtedly a hotspot of supernatural activity. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the melding of history, beauty, and the paranormal.

If you want to learn more about what ghosts look like, I invite you to read the article below.

Related article: What ghosts look like: Everything you need to know

2. Muriel’s Jackson Square – New Orleans, Louisiana

This restaurant is not only about its sumptuous Creole cuisine but also its rich supernatural tapestry. Apart from Pierre Antoine, there have been reports of objects moving on their own and ghostly whispers. If you’re brave enough, request a tour of the Seance Lounge.

Historical Background

In the heart of the French Quarter, Muriel’s Jackson Square offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of New Orleans’ history.

The building dates back to the 1700s and has seen its fair share of tumultuous events, from devastating fires to the changing hands of ownership. Its current incarnation as Muriel’s seeks to honor the vibrant spirit of New Orleans, serving Creole cuisine amidst a backdrop of historical charm.

The Hauntings

  1. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan: The most well-known spirit associated with Muriel’s is that of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan. In the 18th century, Pierre bought the building and turned it into a grand residence. He cherished the house, but after suffering a huge loss in a poker game, he was required to relinquish his beloved home. Unable to cope with the loss, Pierre committed suicide on the second floor. Today, that area is known as Muriel’s Seance Lounges. Many visitors have reported seeing Pierre’s ghost wandering around, especially near the Seance Lounges. Some have sensed his melancholy mood, while others have seen objects moving mysteriously.
  2. The Courtyard Ghost: Muriel’s courtyard is a spot of ethereal beauty, but it’s also said to be haunted. Guests have mentioned seeing a shimmering, ghostly figure moving across the courtyard, seemingly floating a few inches above the ground. The identity of this spirit remains a mystery.
  3. The Staircase Apparition: On multiple occasions, patrons have reported seeing a translucent figure descending the grand staircase of Muriel’s. A cold breeze often accompanies this figure and tends to vanish upon reaching the base of the stairs.

Modern-Day Relevance

With its rich history and purported hauntings, Muriel’s has become a popular spot for both paranormal enthusiasts and gourmands.

The restaurant embraces its haunted past, offering a special table setting every night for Pierre Antoine, complete with bread and wine. It’s a respectful nod to the building’s most famous spirit resident.

Besides the ghostly tales, Muriel’s is renowned for its sumptuous Creole cuisine, making it a perfect blend of the sensory and the supernatural. Diners commonly follow up their culinary delights with tales of unexpected chills, mysterious shadows, or unexplained occurrences.

Muriel’s Jackson Square stands as a testament to the vibrant and sometimes eerie history of New Orleans. When I go to America the next time, I will visit New Orleans with its interesting paranormal density.

It’s a place where the past and present intertwine and where the boundary between the living and the dead might be a little thinner than elsewhere.

Dining at Muriel’s offers more than just a meal; it’s an experience that transcends time, tantalizing both the palate and the spirit. Whether you come for the food, the ghosts, or a mix of both, Muriel’s promises an unforgettable experience.

3. White Horse Tavern – Newport, Rhode Island

Photo cred: By Kenneth C. Zirkel, edited by me.

Established in 1673, its age alone speaks volumes. Alongside tales of the old man by the fireplace, some visitors have even claimed to see the apparition of a young girl, believed to be a victim of fire from centuries past.

Historical Background

Constructed in 1652, the White Horse Tavern boasts the title of the oldest tavern in the United States.

Situated in the historic town of Newport, the tavern has witnessed the vast sweep of American history, from colonial times and the Revolutionary War to the present day.

Its walls, constructed from timbers of British ships, echo tales of sailors, pirates, and the colonial elite. With such a long-standing history, it’s unsurprising that the tavern is rife with stories of the supernatural.

The Hauntings

  1. The Old Man by the Fireplace: Perhaps the most widely reported ghost is that of an elderly gentleman dressed in colonial attire. Many patrons have seen him sitting near the fireplace, quietly enjoying his drink. As the legend goes, this man is believed to be a former customer who met his end one cold night near that fireplace after consuming too many drinks.
  2. Mischievous Entities: Staff and visitors have reported mysteriously moving or disappearing miscellaneous items, only to reappear in unlikely places. Some claim these playful antics are the work of spirits from the tavern’s days as a meeting place for pirates and seafarers.
  3. The Ghostly Footsteps: A common eerie experience at the White Horse Tavern is the sound of footsteps on the wooden floors when no one is around. Some believe these footsteps belong to the spirits of British soldiers who once frequented the tavern.

Modern-Day Relevance

The White Horse Tavern has capitalized on its rich history and paranormal tales to offer guests a unique dining experience.

Today, it’s a balance of sophisticated dining with a side of ghostly intrigue. While the menu boasts modern American cuisine with a nod to Rhode Island’s rich food traditions, the atmosphere remains thick with the tales of yesteryears.

Ghost tours and history enthusiasts often flock to the tavern for its paranormal tales and vital role in American history. Its status on the National Register of Historic Places further solidifies its significance.

The White Horse Tavern remains an enduring testament to Newport’s storied past. Whether it’s the ghostly apparitions, the weight of history, or the allure of its colonial architecture, this establishment offers a multi-layered experience.

As you sit down for a meal, you’re not just dining in a restaurant; you’re partaking in an age-old tradition, surrounded by the whispers and tales of those who’ve gone before. It’s an experience that seamlessly marries the culinary with the mysterious, making for a truly unforgettable visit.

As this site is famous for its moving objects, you can learn more about this in the article below.

Related article: Can ghosts move objects? Question answered

4. Jean Bonnet Tavern – Bedford, Pennsylvania

Photo cred:, edited by me

The tavern’s Revolutionary War history sets the stage for ghostly soldiers and lingering colonial spirits.

Don’t be surprised if you feel an unexpected tap on your shoulder or hear muffled conversations from bygone eras.

Historical Background

Established in the 1760s, Jean Bonnet Tavern sits at the intersection of historic trails once used by Native Americans and early settlers.

It initially served as a trading post and a fort, protecting against potential threats during the French and Indian War.

Later, it transformed into a tavern and inn, offering shelter and refreshments to travelers, including many Revolutionary War soldiers. Over its long history, the tavern has been privy to many events, from whispered revolutionary plans to covert meetings of traders.

The Hauntings

  1. The Revolutionary Soldier: One of the most frequently reported apparitions is that of a Revolutionary War soldier. Guests have spotted him in various parts of the tavern, often standing or wandering aimlessly. Some believe he was a deserter who met his end near the tavern, and his restless spirit continues to haunt the place.
  2. The Hanged Man in the Basement: Legend has it that during its early days, a man was caught cheating at a card game in the tavern and was subsequently hanged in the basement. Numerous guests have reported a heavy, oppressive feeling upon entering the basement, with some even seeing the shadowy figure of a man hanging from the rafters.
  3. The Lost Frontier Woman: Another prevalent story is a frontier woman often seen gazing out of the tavern’s windows. The nature of her demise remains a mystery, but many have felt her presence, especially in the upstairs rooms.

Modern-Day Relevance

Today, Jean Bonnet Tavern continues to be a hub of activity, attracting regular diners and those searching for the paranormal.

The establishment proudly acknowledges its haunted heritage, offering historical tours detailing its significant past and spectral residents.

While guests come for the tales of apparitions and ghostly occurrences, they stay for the rich atmosphere and the delightful cuisine. With its rustic charm, the tavern has become integral to Bedford’s tourism, merging its haunted tales with a robust historical significance.

Stepping into Jean Bonnet Tavern is like traveling back in time. Every creaking floorboard, every shadowed corner seems to murmur tales from centuries past.

Here, the line between history and the supernatural blurs, offering visitors a chilling and enchanting experience.

As you enjoy a hearty meal or a refreshing drink, you’re accompanied by the countless souls who’ve sought shelter here over the ages. Jean Bonnet Tavern isn’t just a place to eat and drink; it’s a bridge to a bygone era, inviting you to partake in its rich tapestry of tales.

Whether you seek ghosts or just a touch of history, the tavern promises a visit long after you’ve left its premises.

5. Moon River Brewing Company – Savannah, Georgia

Photo cred:, edited by me

A visit to Moon River Brewing Company is a multi-sensory experience. Here, the past seamlessly merges with the present.

As you savor a cold brew, you’re not just indulging in a modern craft beer experience; you’re partaking in a tradition that spans centuries, surrounded by echoes of laughter, tales of yore, and maybe, just maybe, a ghost or two.

It’s an establishment that offers more than just food and drink; it promises stories, whispers from the past, and a lingering touch of the supernatural. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast, a history buff, or a ghost hunter, Moon River ensures an unforgettable visit.

Historical Background

Housed in one of Savannah’s oldest buildings, Moon River Brewing Company is steeped in the city’s rich history.

Constructed in 1821, the building initially functioned as the City Hotel, a high-end hotel that catered to the elite. Over the years, the building has served multiple purposes: a hotel, a storage space during the yellow fever epidemic, and even a makeshift hospital during the Civil War.

Given its diverse past, it’s no wonder that the location is ripe with tales of the supernatural.

The Hauntings

  1. Toby, The Basement Entity: One of the most notorious spirits is Toby. This entity is said to haunt the basement and is known for mischievous behavior. Workers and guests alike have reported being pushed, touched, or slapped by an unseen force, particularly when venturing into the basement.
  2. The Lady in White: An apparition of a woman dressed entirely in white has been spotted wandering the upper floors and the staircase. Some believe she’s the spirit of a patient from when the building served as a hospital, still roaming the halls in search of solace.
  3. Ghostly Bar Patrons: Staff have frequently reported seeing spectral figures seated at the bar or tables, appearing just as real as living patrons. They’re often seen out of the corner of the eye, and when one looks directly at them, they vanish.
  4. Mischievous Children: The playful spirits of children are said to inhabit the brewery as well. These ghostly children are known to move objects, laugh, or even play pranks on unsuspecting guests and staff.

Modern-Day Relevance

Savannah is often dubbed “America’s Most Haunted City,” and Moon River Brewing Company is a testament to that reputation.

While the brewery is celebrated for its range of craft beers and delightful menu, the tales of ghostly encounters have made it a hotspot for paranormal enthusiasts.

Moon River embraces its haunted history wholeheartedly. The owners and staff are open about their many encounters, and the brewery frequently hosts ghost tours, providing visitors with a deep dive into its spectral tales.

6. The Pirates’ House – Savannah, Georgia

Photo cred:, edited by me.

Another gem from the haunted city of Savannah, The Pirates’ House, constructed in 1753, is one of Georgia’s oldest buildings.

Initially established as an inn for sailors, it quickly became a notorious rendezvous point for pirates and seafarers.

With a maze of tunnels underneath the establishment (believed to have been used for smuggling) and its history of rowdy pirate clientele, The Pirates’ House has been a magnet for tales of betrayal, evil, and the supernatural.

The Hauntings

  1. Captain Flint’s Final Resting Place: Among the most famous tales associated with The Pirates’ House is that it’s the final resting place of Captain Flint, the infamous pirate from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” Some patrons and staff have reported hearing the Captain’s ghostly groans, especially in the upstairs dining rooms.
  2. The Lost Sailors: Given its history, it’s no surprise that many spirits said to haunt The Pirates’ House are believed to be sailors. Over the years, numerous reports have come in of apparitions dressed in sailor outfits wandering the dining rooms or bar area. Some legends even suggest that unsuspecting sailors were often shanghaied (kidnapped and forced into naval service) through the underground tunnels. Their bewildered and angry spirits might still roam the property.
  3. Mysterious Conversations: One of the eeriest tales is that of ghostly conversations echoing from the empty dining rooms or the tunnels beneath the restaurant. Patrons have often mentioned overhearing voices from bygone eras, discussing sea voyages, plunder, or engaging in merriment.

Modern-Day Relevance

Today, The Pirates’ House operates as a restaurant, offering a unique blend of Southern cuisine and rich history. It’s a favorite among both locals and tourists. The establishment celebrates its pirate heritage, with staff donning period-appropriate attire and the interiors reflecting its maritime past.

Ghost tours in Savannah often include The Pirates’ House as a must-visit spot, highlighting its tales of spectral sailors and ghostly happenings.

The restaurant doesn’t shy away from its haunted reputation, making it a haven for food lovers and paranormal enthusiasts.

Dining at The Pirates’ House is like stepping into a time capsule. The creaking wooden floors, the maritime memorabilia adorning the walls, and the whispers of ghostly tales create an ambiance like no other.

As you indulge in a hearty meal, you’re transported to an era of high-seas adventures, pirate legends, and age-old mysteries.

This establishment serves more than just food; it offers stories, a glimpse into the past, and perhaps a spectral encounter. Whether you’re drawn by the tales of haunting or the allure of history, The Pirates’ House promises an experience that lingers, much like the spirits said to inhabit it.

7. Hotel Conneaut’s Spirits Lounge – Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania

Photo cred: Tripadvisor, edited by me.

Staying at Hotel Conneaut is an experience that transcends the ordinary. It’s a place where history, love, tragedy, and the supernatural weave a tapestry rich in emotion and intrigue.

The Spirits Lounge, with its atmospheric setting and ghostly tales, serves as a reminder of the hotel’s layered past. As you sit down for a drink or roam the historic halls, you’re enveloped in stories that span decades, making you a part of its continuing saga.

Whether you’re a ghost hunter, a lover of history, or someone just seeking a unique getaway, Hotel Conneaut promises moments that will remain etched in memory, much like the spirits that are said to linger within its walls.

Historical Background

Hotel Conneaut, situated alongside the picturesque Conneaut Lake, has been a beacon of hospitality since its establishment in the early 1900s.

Over the decades, it has hosted countless guests, parties, and events. A beautiful example of early 20th-century architecture, the hotel speaks of elegance, history, and timeless charm. However, amidst laughter and joy, the hotel carries tales of heartbreak and the supernatural.

The Hauntings

  1. Elizabeth’s Lost Love: The most renowned ghost story linked with Hotel Conneaut is that of Elizabeth. As legend has it, Elizabeth was a bride tragically perished in a fire at the hotel. Her groom, unable to cope with the loss, drowned himself in the lake. Today, many guests have claimed to see a figure, believed to be Elizabeth, wandering the halls of the hotel, particularly around the Spirits Lounge and the bridal suite. She’s often seen in her wedding dress, possibly searching for her lost love.
  2. The Phantom Ballroom Dancers: The hotel’s ballroom, a hub of numerous parties and dances in the past, is said to be a hotspot of spectral activity. On some nights, guests and staff have reported hearing faint music from bygone eras and seeing ghostly couples waltzing across the ballroom floor.
  3. Unexplained Noises: The Spirits Lounge and other hotel parts. Staying at Hotel Conneaut is an experience that transcends the ordinary. It’s a place where history, love, tragedy, and the supernatural weave a tapestry rich in emotion and intrigue. The Spirits Lounge, with its atmospheric setting and ghostly tales, serves as a reminder of the hotel’s layered past. As you sit down for a drink or roam the historic halls, you’re enveloped in stories that span decades, making you a part of its continuing saga.

Modern-Day Relevance

Hotel Conneaut continues to be a popular destination for tourists, history buffs, and paranormal enthusiasts.

The hotel embraces its haunted heritage with ghost tours and paranormal investigations, allowing guests to delve deeper into its spectral tales.

The Spirits Lounge, aside from its tales of haunting, is also renowned for its ambiance and serves as a cozy spot for guests to relax and perhaps share their ghostly encounters.

8. Ear Inn – New York City, New York

Photo cred: Ear Inn, edited by me.

While Mickey enjoys his playful antics, he’s just one of the many spirits believed to inhabit this ancient inn. A woman in a long gown has been seen ascending the staircase, and mysterious knocks often emanate from empty rooms.

Historical Background

Tucked away in the heart of bustling New York City is the Ear Inn, a vestige of Old New York. The building, erected in 1770, initially served as a home before transitioning into a tavern in the early 1800s.

Its proximity to the Hudson River made it a popular spot for sailors and dock workers. Over the years, the tavern has witnessed the ebb and flow of New York’s dynamic history, from the boisterous days of maritime trade to the city’s modern transformation.

The Hauntings

  1. Mickey, the Playful Sailor: The most famous spirit believed to haunt the Ear Inn is Mickey, a sailor from the 19th century. Legend has it that Mickey met an untimely death right outside the tavern, either being hit by a car or due to some misadventure. Over the years, patrons and staff have recounted numerous instances of Mickey’s playful antics. He’s known to topple drinks, whispers in guests’ ears, and even occasionally appear as a shadowy figure at the bar.
  2. Ghostly Apparitions Upstairs: The rooms above the Ear Inn, which once might have served as lodgings, are believed to be teeming with spectral activity. Many have reported seeing figures in old-fashioned attire or feeling sudden cold spots.
  3. Unexplained Phenomena: Beyond specific apparitions, the Ear Inn is rife with unexplained phenomena. Objects move independently, lights flicker without reason, and ghostly laughter or conversations can occasionally be heard when the place is quiet.

Modern-Day Relevance

Today, the Ear Inn is one of New York City’s oldest operating bars. While it’s cherished for its historical significance and old-world charm, the tales of haunting have added another layer to its allure. The establishment doesn’t shy away from its ghostly reputation.

The stories of Mickey and other spirits have become an integral part of the tavern’s rich tapestry of tales.

A visit to the Ear Inn is a journey through time. Within its walls, the modern metropolis outside seems to fade away, replaced by the echoes of centuries past.

As you enjoy a drink at the bar or share stories with friends, you’re not just in a New York tavern but in a portal to the city’s storied past, accompanied by spirits that refuse to let go.

The Ear Inn offers more than just refreshments; it provides a connection to history, a touch of the supernatural, and an authentic experience of Old New York.

Whether you come for the spirits in the bottles or the spirits roaming its halls, the Ear Inn ensures an enchanting and hauntingly beautiful visit.

If you want to learn more about the best ghost tours in New York, I invite you to read the article below.

Further reading: The Best Ghost Tours in New York

9. The Myrtles Plantation Restaurant – St. Francisville, Louisiana

Photo cred: Bogdan Oporowski, edited by me.

Dining or staying at The Myrtles Plantation is a deeply atmospheric experience. Beneath the canopy of ancient oaks and amidst the elegance of antebellum architecture, one feels the weight of centuries and the many joyful and tragic stories the plantation has witnessed.

Here, history is alive, and the line between the past and the present seems to blur.

Whether you’re drawn to the Myrtles by its tales of ghosts, rich history, or undeniable beauty, your visit promises to be unforgettable, resonating with echoes from another time and perhaps a brush with the otherworldly.

Historical Background

Set against the backdrop of ancient oaks and serene landscapes, The Myrtles Plantation is often dubbed “one of America’s most haunted homes.”

Built in 1796, this antebellum plantation has seen its fair share of history and tragedy. Over the years, it’s served as a family home, a working plantation, and now, a bed-and-breakfast with an on-site restaurant.

While its beauty is undeniable, The Myrtles is equally renowned for its numerous tales of the supernatural, stemming from legends of murder, betrayal, and the sorrow of past inhabitants.

The Hauntings

  1. Chloe and the Poisoned Cake: The most well-known spirit is Chloe, a former enslaved woman at the plantation. Legend has it that she accidentally poisoned two children of the plantation owner. Those children, along with Chloe, are said to haunt the grounds. Chloe is often seen with a turban covering her ear, which was supposedly cut off as a punishment for eavesdropping. Visitors frequently report seeing her wandering the grounds or hearing children’s laughter.
  2. The Mirror’s Trapped Souls: A mirror within the plantation is believed to hold Sara Woodruff’s and her children’s spirits, the ones Chloe poisoned. Visitors have reported seeing handprints or mysterious drip marks on the mirror, which are said to resist cleaning.
  3. The Unseen Pianist: On numerous occasions, guests and staff have heard the sounds of someone playing the piano in the parlor. When investigated, the music stops, and no one is found near the instrument.
  4. Shadowy Figures and Cold Spots: Beyond specific apparitions, The Myrtles is rife with general paranormal activity. This includes shadowy figures moving through the rooms, cold spots in various parts of the house, and even reports of guests feeling as though they’ve been tucked into bed by an unseen hand.

Modern-Day Relevance

Today, The Myrtles Plantation operates as a bed and breakfast and boasts a restaurant that offers traditional Southern fare.

The establishment fully embraces its haunted reputation. Nightly tours recounting the plantation’s rich history and ghostly tales are offered, attracting history buffs and paranormal enthusiasts.

10. Bobby Mackey’s Music World – Wilder, Kentucky

Photo cred: Nicolas Henderson, edited by me.

Bobby Mackey’s Music World is where country music collides with the supernatural. Every corner, every creaking floorboard, every note of music played is steeped in stories from the past.

As you tap your feet to the country tunes or share tales over a drink, you’re not just in a nightclub; you’re in a realm where the past refuses to die, and the boundaries between this world and the next are tantalizingly thin.

Whether you’re a country music lover, a paranormal enthusiast, or simply an adventurer at heart, Bobby Mackey’s offers an experience like no other: a dance with history, music, and the spectral inhabitants that refuse to let go of the living world.

Historical Background

Located on the banks of the Licking River, Bobby Mackey’s Music World is often proclaimed “the most haunted nightclub in the USA.”

But before its days as a honky-tonk bar and nightclub, the building held various roles, including a slaughterhouse in the 19th century. The site has been linked to tales of murder, love, betrayal, and ritualistic activities, all contributing to its eerie reputation.

The Hauntings

  1. The Tragic Tale of Pearl Bryan: One of the most haunting stories connected to Bobby Mackey’s is the 1896 beheading of Pearl Bryan. Her body was discovered not far from the location, and legends say her head was discarded in the nightclub’s basement, once a part of the old slaughterhouse. Her spirit, along with those of her alleged murderers, is said to haunt the establishment.
  2. Johanna’s Love Story: In the 20th century, a dancer named Johanna, believed to have performed at a club previously occupying the site, fell in love with a singer. When their love affair resulted in Johanna’s pregnancy, her father, outraged, supposedly killed her lover. Devastated, Johanna is said to have taken her own life in the club. Her mournful spirit is often reported in the nightclub, with some claiming to hear her singing.
  3. The Well to Hell: The old slaughterhouse’s basement, which later served as a distillery, contains a well that’s said to be a portal to the other side. This “Well to Hell” is linked to tales of dark rituals and is believed to be the epicenter of the building’s paranormal activity.
  4. General Paranormal Activities: Patrons and staff have reported many unexplained phenomena, including cold spots, phantom footsteps, ghostly apparitions, and even instances of being touched or pushed by unseen entities.

Modern-Day Relevance

Despite, or perhaps because of, its haunted reputation, Bobby Mackey’s Music World thrives as a popular country music nightclub.

It offers patrons live music, mechanical bull rides, and a ghostly encounter if you’re lucky (or unlucky).

Bobby Mackey himself, a country singer, occasionally performs there. The establishment conducts ghost tours, diving deep into its dark past and eerie tales.

This is one of the bars that I want to visit on my next trip to the USA. I am a bit terrified by the dark hauntings and demonic nature of the events happening on the site. Even if I have experience of dark hauntings, some of my friends in the paranormal community have told me to stay away. Many have been tormented by their experiences at the bar.

If you want to learn more about how to spot a demonic haunting, I invite you to read the article below.

Further reading: 10 Signs of a Demonic Haunting

Ghost Hunting Etiquette and Tips

When you visit a haunted site, you need to consider some things. When you visit a bar or restaurant where people meet to have a great time, some may not approve of being “scared” or “spooked.”

  • Respect the Living and the Dead: Whether you believe in ghosts or not, always respect the space and the people around you. Not everyone might be comfortable with the idea of the paranormal.
  • Stay Calm: Experiencing or even just thinking about a paranormal event can be unsettling. If you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath, and remember most spirits are simply echoes of the past.
  • Document Your Experiences: Carry a notebook or voice recorder. It can be invaluable for jotting down any encounters or feelings.
  • Be Skeptical but Open-minded: Not every strange occurrence is paranormal. However, being open to the experience can sometimes yield surprising results.

If you want to learn more about how to prepare for a ghost tour, I invite you to read the article below.

Further reading: Get Ready for a Thrilling Adventure: Exploring Ghost Tours

Criteria for Choosing America’s Most Haunted Bars and Restaurants

In a country as vast and historically rich as the United States, narrowing down a list to the ten most haunted bars and restaurants is no small feat.

These sites have been meticulously selected based on a combination of factors, ensuring that the avid ghost hunter or paranormal enthusiast is presented with the best.

Here’s an insight into how these particular locations cut:

  1. Historical Significance: Each site’s history plays a crucial role. Places witnessing significant events, tragedies, or intense emotions often harbor residual energies, making them more likely to be haunted.
  2. Frequency of Reported Paranormal Activity: Locations where multiple patrons and staff consistently report supernatural experiences tend to stand out. The more frequent and varied the reports, the higher the credibility.
  3. Diversity of Phenomena: It’s not just about apparitions. Sites where paranormal activities occur— from mysterious sounds, cold spots, and unexplained movements to full-blown spectral sightings —were prioritized.
  4. Cultural Impact: Locations made their way into popular culture, be it through books, movies, or local legends, were given special consideration. Their tales not only chill the bones but have also shaped stories and narratives in wider society.
  5. Accessibility to the Public: While many haunted sites nationwide exist, this list focuses on those open to the public. After all, what’s the use of a haunted tale if it can’t be experienced firsthand?
  6. Visitor Reviews and Personal Testimonies: In the internet age, people’s experiences, shared on forums, blogs, and social media, became a valuable resource. Firsthand accounts, especially those from skeptics turned believers, added weight to a site’s inclusion.
  7. Authenticity: Any site that seemed overly commercialized its “haunted” status without genuine stories or evidence to support its claims was viewed skeptically. Authenticity ensured this list remained credible and true to the ghost-hunting community.

The final list is a culmination of extensive research, firsthand accounts, and a dash of intuition.

While the order might be debatable depending on personal experiences, there’s no denying that each site offers a unique window into America’s haunted past.

If you think I missed a site that should be on the list, I would love it if you shared your insights with me.

Closing Thoughts

Embarking on this spectral journey through America’s most haunted eateries offers more than just chilling tales.

It’s a way to touch history, to resonate with the stories that have shaped these locales. So, as you dine or sip your drink, remember you’re partaking in a tradition that spans centuries, each moment intertwined with tales of love, tragedy, and mystery.

Embrace the experience, and let the spirits of the past guide your journey.

If you want to learn more about the most haunted sites in Minnesota, I invite you to read the article below.

Related article: Top 12 Most Haunted Places in Minnesota

Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

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