New York is one of the best places in the world to spend Halloween. Not only do you get the watch the most fabulous Halloween parade ever, but you can follow up with a bar crawl of some of the east coast’s most haunted bars and pubs. Here’s your Halloween night bar crawl strategy after the parade – my Top 5 favorite haunted pubs in New York City (ps. make sure that you watch the parade from the west side because most of the bars are in the west village).
1. Ear Inn-(circa 1817) 326 Spring St
One of my favorite pubs in the west village and the oldest working bar in NYC. It’s been a speakeasy during Prohibition and the upstairs apartment was a boarding house, smuggler’s den, as well as a brothel- all the makings of a proper haunting. Say hi to a few ghosts that call this place home, namely Mickey, a sailor who lived in the Ear Inn, when it was a boarding house. Mickey was killed in front of the Ear Inn by a car.
2. White Horse Tavern– (circa 1880) 567 Hudson St.
Another old haunt of mine, particularly for the spirits you drink, not the ones that haunt (badabum tsch). Dylan Thomas used to frequent this tavern. “They say” that in 1953 he decided to try and beat his record of 18 shots of whiskey and after he finished those shots of whiskey, he stumbled outside and collapsed on the sidewalk. Soon after that he was taken to the ridiculously haunted Chelsea Hotel, were he slipped into a coma. The next morning he was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he passed away. People have reportedly seen his ghost sitting in his favorite spot and walking around outside.
3. One If By Land, Two If By Sea– 17 Barrow St
If you have time to dine here, do it. Just make sure you have reservations. The food is phenomenal and the atmosphere is as romantic as it gets. It also used to be Aaron Burr’s carriage house. Apparently, Mr. Burr really loves his carriage house because he’s said to have scared employees by throwing plates and chairs amongst the tables for two. His daughter also supposedly makes appearances around the building. She mysteriously disappeared while traveling from North Carolina to New York to visit her father. Daddy dearest, indeed. They aren’t the only ghosts that haunt this fine establishment, though. It’s reported that at least twenty ghosts have permanent reservations here. Waiters have actually attempted to serve entities who are sitting at a table and then mysteriously disappear. A few notable ghosts include a woman who dresses in a black gown who has been seen walking down the staircase, but never up, a Ziegfield follies girl, and a man who likes to linger by the fireplace.
4. Pete’s Tavern– (circa 1864) 129 E. 18th St., at Irving Place
Pete’s Tavern claims to be the oldest “continuously” operating restaurant and bar in NYC and has the ghost to prove it. Remember that Christmas tale Gift of the Magi that you read in school? No? Maybe you need to have a pint with the author himself, O Henry. It’s said that he can be found sitting alone and unkempt in a booth, sipping his beer in between scribbles of his latest novel. Maybe that will inspire you to read his classic tale for the upcoming holiday season.
5. McSorleys (circa 1854, but debated)- 15 E 7th St,
(between Cooper Sq & Taras Shevchenko Pl)
Poet E.E. Cummings described McSorley’s as “the ale which never lets you grow old.” He also described their brew as he described the bar -as “snug and evil.” With a description like this and a patron list with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Peter Cooper, Boss Tweed, and Woody Guthrie as well as literary figures like Hunter S. Thompson there’s got to be ghosts right? Right. But it’s not haunted by just any ghost… Harry Houdini is one of the many ghosts that is said to haunt this place. Read more about its interesting history and how women were not allowed to drink there until 1970 here.