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America's Most Haunted Restaurants and Bars

Posted October 19, 2013 by

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Bordello murders, fatal wedding-day accidents, hate-fueled arson attacks, and other tragedies have left behind unsettled spirits in historic restaurants and bars across the country. For the spine-chilling chance to see the resident apparitions and experience their antics, sit down to a filet mignon in Michigan or hit the slot machines at a Nevada saloon. Here are some of America's most haunted restaurants and bars—ones that have given employees, patrons, and even ghost hunters more than what they ordered.

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Mission Table, Traverse City, Michigan

The unhappy ghost of Genevive Stickney, an obese and jealous woman, still frequents her former residence, now Mission Table restaurant. As the story goes, Genevive and her Chicago lumber-baron husband built the home in the late 1800s. Succumbing to the excesses of good food and fruit brandies, the attractive Genevive became quite stout. She had a special gilt-edged mirror installed that made her appear thinner than she was, but eventually she became so large that she needed an elevator to transport her to the second floor. When her philandering husband took up with a mistress and left the mistress all his money, Genevive took her own life.

Haunted Encounters: In Genevive's mirror, restaurant guests have seen the reflection of a woman dressed in 19th-century clothing with hair pulled into a tight bun, the way Genevive wore hers. Lights turn themselves on and off, objects are mysteriously hurled through the air at people, hands on the grandfather clock are moved ahead, and candles are found burning in the morning.

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The Brass Rail, Hoboken, New Jersey

A ghost bride is said to haunt the historical Brass Rail restaurant in downtown Hoboken. Legend has it that on her wedding day in 1904, she tripped at the top of the staircase, fell, broke her neck, and died. Later that night, her distraught husband, who was drinking heavily, wrote a suicide note and hung himself in a room near the stairs.

Haunted Encounters: Restaurant staff and patrons have spotted spirits of the bride and groom wandering up and down the stairs. A photo taken by the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society revealed a white wisp of smoke hovering above the stairs when no one was smoking in the room. Others say they have heard walking in the upstairs dining room when it was empty and seen the ghost of a woman wearing white in the back alley.

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The UpStairs Lounge, New Orleans, Louisiana

Forty years ago, one of the deadliest crimes against the LGBT community in U.S. history took place at this French Quarter gay bar above The Jimani Lounge & Restaurant when an arsonist set it on fire, killing 32 men. The UpStairs Lounge had only one entrance—the door at the bottom of the stairwell, where the fire originated. While the fire blazed, patrons tried desperately to climb out the windows but couldn't escape, since windows were mostly barred or blocked completely. Several bodies were unclaimed by embarrassed family members, and the arsonist was never caught. The UpStairs Lounge area is now the kitchen of the first-floor Jimani Lounge & Restaurant.

Haunted Encounters: The building's current owner, who witnessed the event as a child when his father was owner, has seen apparitions of charred bodies, dark shadows, white orbs, and flashes of light in the building. When Syfy's Ghost Hunters crew visited last year, detectors picked up screeching noises in the stairwell.

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The Masquerade, Atlanta, Georgia

This concert venue in Atlanta's historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood was originally a mill that produced wood shavings. Since the mill property's opening at the turn of the 20th century, it has seen its share of fires, structural collapses, and the gruesome accidental death of mill worker Hubert Neal in 1899. But the grisly stories that circulate at The Masquerade only add to the appeal for the goths, metalheads, and punk rockers who converge here for shows.

Haunted Encounters: Staff and concertgoers repeatedly report sightings of an apparition of a tall black man and say they've heard voices, screaming, and heavy phantom footsteps. An investigation by the Georgia Society for the Paranormal Sciences gathered accounts from multiple employees who described the feeling of being watched. The group recorded several unexplained noises and encountered a dark human-shaped mass. In the middle of the night, the group watched as a mysterious dense white fog appeared and dissipated on the club's second level, called "Heaven."

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Pioneer Saloon, Goodsprings, Nevada

The paranormal activity at this 100-year-old Wild West saloon just outside Las Vegas kicked off the 2013 season of Ghost Adventures on The Travel Channel. Reportedly haunted by an elderly miner and a cheating gambler who was killed at a card table in 1915, the Pioneer Saloon hasn't changed much since the days of the town's mining boom. Bullet holes from the gambler's murder can still be seen in the wall.

Haunted Encounters: Nearly every bar employee has seen the ghost of the elderly miner, a short man who wears a cowboy hat, standing behind people at the slot machines or hanging out by the potbellied stove. The spirit of the gambler makes an occasional appearance at a card table at the back of the bar. Visitors and staff have also been known to hear disembodied voices and see mysterious trails of cigarette smoke materialize.

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The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro, Little River, South Carolina

Drawing paranormal-research conferences, A&E's My Ghost Story crew, and numerous investigation groups, The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro has been called the most haunted location on the Grand Strand. It's just north of Myrtle Beach's main drag in a 103-year-old Victorian home. The restaurant owners have embraced the supernatural, saying they've never felt threatened. They regularly plan special-event dinners with psychics and talk openly about the restaurant's spook factor.

Haunted Encounters: Guests often get "locked" in the second-floor bathroom. Strange voices, unexplained movement of equipment, and shadowy figures have been reported by even the most skeptical guests and employees. When one of the restaurant owners asked the spirit who was there, the reply—captured in a recording—was "Clarence." Clarence and Essie Bessent-McCorsley were the original owners of the Victorian home.

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Jean Bonnet Tavern, Bedford, Pennsylvania

Built in the 1760s at a major junction of the only road connecting eastern Pennsylvania with the Ohio River, the Jean Bonnet was an important trading post and watering hole for early settlers. If the tavern's original stone walls could talk, they'd tell of rowdy trappers and traders, Whiskey Rebellion farmers' meetings, and encampments of troops summoned here by George Washington. Stories of the spirits at the Jean Bonnet Tavern are captured in The Pennsylvania Ghost Guide, Vol. II by Patty A. Wilson.

Haunted Encounters: Guests and staff describe a strange man in the bar after-hours, doors being opened and closed, and the sensation of being touched when no one is around. When members of the Central Pennsylvania Paranormal Association spent the night, a group of apparitions in frontier-type clothing appeared in a doorway and watched a man playing the piano at the other end of the bar.

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Catfish Plantation, Waxahachie, Texas

In the south Dallas suburb of Waxahachie, Catfish Plantation restaurant occupies an 1895 Victorian home where three former residents are believed to have died. The apparition of Elizabeth, murdered here on her wedding day in the 1920s, appears in her wedding gown. A Depression-era farmer named Will walks around the lobby and front porch in his overalls. Caroline, a strict religious woman who detested alcohol, passed away here in 1970, and now she sends wine glasses flying into the wall. The Travel Channel's Extreme Restaurants show, NBC News, and several paranormal groups have reported on the Catfish Plantation's strange occurrences.

Haunted Encounters: Besides seeing the resident ghosts, the restaurant's guests and staff have felt cold spots that move around. Clocks with missing parts chime. Doors, lights, and faucets all operate at will. And several knives go missing every night.

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The Jury Room, Columbus, Ohio

One of the oldest continually operating restaurants in Columbus, opened in 1831, this downtown mainstay has plenty of stories to fuel its ghostly reputation. It was built on Native American burial ground and lost its third floor to a fire in the late 1800s. The original tin ceiling and historical photos are a throwback to The Jury Room's days as a bordello. At the bar, you can order a "Hung Jury," a "Bordello Bubbly," or a "Lorenzo's Revenge," all nods to the prostitute who shot a man on the bordello's front doorstep in the 1850s and her subsequent trial for murder.

Haunted Encounters: A tall, shadowy man has been seen roaming around the bar and appearing behind bartenders. Objects move at will and women describe being attacked by unseen forces. There have been so many occurrences that the staff now keeps a ghost log and The Travel Channel's The Dead Files has come to investigate.

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High Noon Restaurant & Saloon, Albuquerque, New Mexico

In Albuquerque's Old Town, two different spirits are believed to haunt High Noon Restaurant & Saloon, housed in one of the historic district's oldest structures. Constructed in 1785, the building has served as both a casino and a successful brothel. According to Ken Hudnall's book Spirits of the Border IV: The History and Mystery of New Mexico, some say High Noon is haunted by the ghost of a trapper. The female spirit, investigated by the Southwest Ghost Hunter's Association, wears an old-fashioned white formal dress.

Haunted Encounters: Hudnall says the male ghost may be responsible for the unseen tapping that customers and employees feel on their shoulders, the smell of burning when the fireplace isn't lit, and the calling out of employees' names. Several customers and staff members have reported supernatural sightings, including the female spirit, who haunts the Santos Room lounge. High Noon is one of many restaurants and bars on the lantern-lit Ghost Tour of Old Town.


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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title America's Most Haunted Restaurants and Bars.

Southern Hospitality and Sunny Beaches Make Myrtle Beach a Summer Hotspot

Posted May 21, 2010 by Jaclyn Liechti

Myrtle Beach Stretching along the Grand Strand in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is home to nearly 60 miles of sandy beaches. The combination of sun and surf attracts millions of vacationers each year, but the area maintains its down-home charm while catering to visitors' every whim. More than 100 golf courses and over 300 outlet stores provide entertainment away from the water's edge, but with an average of 215 days of sunshine each year, boating and sunbathing rank high on any family's vacation to-do list.

Gulfstream Cafe: Step off the beaten tourist path and drop in on the Gulfstream Cafe, which is known for its amazing views. Situated between the ocean and Murrells Inlet, you can sit outside on the deck of the two-story building and watch the sun set over the water while you relax with a glass of wine and oysters on the half shell or low country crab cakes. The eatery is popular among locals, and the Carolina Coastal cuisine is sure to have you coming back for more. Drop by for Sunday brunch, when the Southern-style biscuits and gravy are on the house and the Bloody Mary drinks flow freely.

You can use our tool to compare airfares to Myrtle Beach from multiple travel providers.

(credit: Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce)

Hit the Greens for Less Green in Hilton Head

Posted February 9, 2010 by Amy Westervelt

HiltonHead Hilton Head Island, just off the coast of southern South Carolina, is a golfer's dream, not only for its championship fairways and notoriously mild weather, but because of the beaches and activities available for non-golfer travel partners. Although the island is almost as well known for being expensive as it is for having great golf, Hilton Head still offers a few ways to tee off without feeling ripped off.

The Harbour Town Golf Links
: The Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort is the course that first brought international attention to Hilton Head when it became an annual host to the Verizon Heritage PGA Golf Tournament in 1969. Since then, it has consistently been in the "top 20" course lists of every major golf magazine. A round of golf starts at $90 per person, but book a golf package at the resort and you'll pay less for golf and accommodations.

The Sea Pines Resort
: The Sea Pines Resort offers great packages for golfers. For groups of four or more, the Best of Southern Golf package includes three nights in an over-the-top two-bedroom villa with a view, plus three rounds of golf for a minimum of four players, from $155.

The Sea Shack
: Experience the freshest seafood the island has to offer, for the lowest prices you're likely to find, at The Sea Shack. It doesn't look like much on the outside, but the food is fantastic. Whatever the restaurant's fishermen caught that day is what's on the menu, which means it changes daily. Seafood specials are accompanied by Southern favorites, including red rice, collard greens, cheese grits, and okra, and dinner is finished off with a slice of homemade pecan pie. Dinner prices start at $8.50.

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(Photo: Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau)

Walk in the Footsteps of History in Charleston

Posted June 16, 2009 by Kate Hamman

SC-Charleston-DraytonHall-DEF With two major wars and natural disasters, Charleston has a fascinating and tumultuous history. Discover the real value of the city's past firsthand by touring a well-preserved estate, dining at a plantation, and staying in the home of one of our founding fathers.

Drayton Hall: As one of the oldest surviving examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture left in the U.S., Drayton Hall has weathered the American Revolution, the Civil War, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Remarkably, it still stands in nearly the same condition it did when it was first built. Take a guided tour of the home that has belonged to seven generations of the plantation owners, the Draytons, or take a self-guided walk along the river and marshes surrounding the estate. Tickets cost $14 per adult.

Middleton Place Restaurant: At Middleton Place, a plantation surrounded by 65 acres of formal gardens, you can dine on lowcountry fare. Try the okra gumbo or collard greens to taste some southern home cooking. You can wander the gardens for free if you come for dinner, but during the day you'll have to pay the $25 admission fee to enjoy the lunch specials.

John Rutledge House Inn: One of only 15 remaining homes of the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution, the Rutledge House Inn is the only one that allows you to stay the night. George Washington even called here in 1791 to have breakfast with Mrs. Rutledge. The 19 guest rooms located throughout the three buildings are decorated with period furnishings to capture the essence of a bygone era. Rooms might be pricey at $220 per night, but remember you're staying in a piece of history.

To search for flights and compare prices to Charleston, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau,

Southern Charm in Charleston for a Fraction of the Cost

Posted June 10, 2009 by Kate Hamman

SC-Charleston-RainbowRow-DEF Charleston invites you to admire its antebellum homes, listen to its Civil War stories, and discover Southern grace under pressure. Come experience the city for a fraction of the cost, with a cocoa-powered carriage ride, a tour into the heart of its history, and a restaurant that honors its homestyle dishes.

Francis Marion Hotel: When the winter weather starts to cool down, there's no better time to take a carriage ride through the streets of Charleston, with hot cocoa to keep you warm. And after your trip, you can return to your deluxe accommodations at the grand Francis Marion Hotel, a member of the Historic Hotels of America. The Charleston Getaway Deal is quite a steal at $139 per night.

Charleston Strolls: To really get to know Charleston, you must walk in the footsteps of its past and go where no vehicle or carriage can travel. Learn about the city's war-torn history as you traipse through the historic district with a knowledgeable guide leading the way. The two-hour tour stops at noteworthy landmarks such as Rainbow Row, a row of mid-1700's homes, and the Two Meeting Street Inn. Tours cost $18.

Poogan's Porch: This highly-acclaimed bistro takes its name from a friendly pooch who loved nothing more than to lie on the front porch. And as if this isn't enough reason to love the place, Poogan's Porch serves food that combines inventive and flavorful ingredients with traditional dishes. The fried green tomato BLT, with applewood-smoked bacon and goat cheese, adds flair to a classic BLT. The restaurant stays open 365 days a year for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Sandwiches start at $7.95, and dinner entrees start at $13.95.

To search for flights and compare prices to Charleston, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau)

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