Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Haunted Craft Beer Crawl Anyone?

The infamous Whaley House
I ain't afraid of no ghosts!
Do you believe in ghosts? Yeah, neither do I...well, I DIDN'T believe in ghosts...then I moved into a haunted house. Yeah, there's nothing quite like coming face to face with an unearthly specter to make a believer out of you, that's for sure. Of course, my ghostly encounter wasn't exactly what you'd call straight out of Ghostbusters. I wasn't slimed with ectoplasm. There were no rattling chains or headless horsemen. My experience was a bit more subtle, but supernaturally creepy nonetheless. Hey! Buy me a beer and I'll tell you about it!

Living in a haunted house has peaked my interest in other supernaturally-imbued buildings and allegedly haunted places. When we visited San Diego, CA last year, I HAD to tour the Whaley House--purportedly one of the most haunted places on the planet. We weren't disappointed. A whole lot of creepy happened to us when we were there. Take for example the photo on the left. If you look carefully you may see two ghostly characters on the floor of the stage, both wearing Victorian era dress. See them? But you don't have to go all the way to San Diego to find haunted spots. Hell, no! There are plenty right here in good ol' Stumptown!

Yes, there are lots of spooky, haunted places in Portland. All you have to do is google "haunted Portland" and you'll find them. What impressed me is that many of the most haunted locales in PDX are...bars! Oh, yeah, that's what I'm talking about! Wouldn't it be fracking AWESOME to combine two of my favorite pastimes: drinking beer and ghost hunting? And just in time for Halloween! Who's with me? Let's fire up the Mystery Machine and go on a spooky bar crawl!

Here's the line-up:

1) McMenamins White Eagle - I saw a piece on this place on the Travel Channel last night, on a show called Most Terrifying Places in America. Actually, many of the establishments operated by McMenamins are said to be haunted, but the White Eagle Saloon has quite an unsavory and distinctively gruesome history. Built in 1905, it was part of the infamous "Shanghai Tunnel" system in the lawless Portland of yesteryear. Countless unsuspecting young men were waylaid, kidnapped and sold by white slavers to serve as unwilling crewmen on merchant ships to China. Besides being the seediest of seedy dive bars, the building was also a brothel, likely housing every form of debauchery and vice imaginable. No wonder it's haunted. Apparitions have been seen throughout the now renovated bar and hotel, particularly the women's restroom. Source: TravelChannel.com Of course, McMenamins are OG brewing legends in Portland and their fine brews can be had at this location. Get some Black Widow Porter!

2) Old Town Pizza - This wonderful pizza place resides in what was once the lobby of the Merchant Hotel. Built in the 1880's the hotel's basement was/is the main entrance to the aforementioned Shanghai Tunnels. The restaurant is said to be haunted by Nina--the ghost of a murdered prostitute. She supposedly met her end at the bottom of the hotel's elevator shaft 100 years ago. She ratted out some gangsters and they didn't appreciate it much. Now, poor Nina spends eternity watching Portlanders eat tasty, tasty pizza. Old Town Pizza also serves award winning craft beer brewed by their NE Portland sister operation, Old Town Brewery. 

3) Cathedral Park - The ghost of a murdered young woman supposedly roams around this lovely park, located at the base of spectacular St. John's Bridge. Although the crime took place in the 1940's, people still report hearing screams in the park at night. I'm thinking it would be good, clean, Halloween-y fun to check it out for myself, and then grab a beer at Occidental Brewing Company's taproom, which is just a few yards up the street from the park. Source:  Ghosts of North Portland website

4) The Bagdad Theater - Another McMenamins location, the Bagdad Theater has been beautifully restored to it's original 1920's glory. Oh, yeah, and the place is haunted, too. Come on! All old theaters are haunted! You know that! The lights dim unexpectedly and there's some spine-chilling thing hanging out in the men's room. Source: Ghostsandcritters.com

5) Kell's Irish Pub - Located downtown on SW Second Avenue, Kell's basement is supposedly haunted by a smokey fireman. Source: Ghostsandcritter.com

Do you know of any other haunted bars to add to the list? Have you had a spooky experience at your favorite taproom? If so, please enter a comment below or send me an email!

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