The potential for supernatural sightings comes with Chicago's illustrious history. Yes, some claim ghosts haunt several of Chicago's nightspots, as ghost hunters have reported seeing the spirits of catastrophe victims, old gangsters, former bar owners and more. Use this guide to paranormal sightings in Chicago bars and restaurants to best assist the Halloween consumption of alcoholic spirits alongside ghoulish spirits.Read More
Drinking With Spirits: Your Guide to Chicago's Haunted Bars and Restaurants
These haunted spots offer a good bet for a ghoulish time this Halloween.
Plenty of folks wouldn’t be caught dead at any iteration of this Gold Coast haunt which was once Limelight and Excalibur. But before the terrors of trixies and tourists — the building dates back to 1892 — this Gothic castle served as the original home of the Chicago Historical Society (which changed names in 2006 to the Chicago History Museum). Workers discovered the bones of victims from Great Chicago Fire in 1871 in the society’s basement, as the previous building on the site was destroyed in the blaze, according to “Historic Bars of Chicago.” These victims reportedly continue to haunt the club.
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Congress Plaza Hotel
Two restaurants, Rafael Steak House and The Gazebo, call the Congress Plaza Hotel home. The hotel’s most infamous guest may have been Al Capone, who was also rumored to own the joint. Some claim Capone’s spirit continues to walk through the hotel’s halls.
Ghosts really seem to love dive bars, and the Edgewater, built in 1970, is no exception. The bar’s original owner, only identified as Mary, sold the bar in 1995, but continued to live upstairs. Since she died, employees and patrons alike have claimed to hear Mary’s voice and her footsteps upstairs.
Gold Star Bar
The Gold Star was once a stronghold for Green Bay Packers fans, but even more frightening is that a man was fatally shot by the Gold Star’s former owner while the man attempted to rob the bar. That man’s spirit reportedly haunts the bar. Employees have also reported seeing the spirit of a woman wearing lime green.
Despite the warm atmosphere with customers playing board games, this bar is supposedly haunted by a former alcoholic owner who died from too much booze.
Let’s face it, nearly every patron’s seen a late-night dream die on the dance floor at The Hangge-Uppe. Even passersbys could easily mistake those late-night drunken patrons waiting in line for zombies. As for the paranormal, the ghost of a woman in white supposedly haunts the bar. But then again, customers are apt to report almost anything after drinking enough Fireball.
Fireside Restaurant & Lounge
Rosehill Cemetery, which stands across the street from the Fireside, was actually named after farmer Hiram Roe, a former tavern keeper. The name stuck when a city worker mistakenly changed "Roe’s Hill" to "Rosehill." Spirits and ghosts, are known to make it over to the bar, which dates back to 1904 and is one of Chicago’s oldest.
Many would argue that there’s nothing scarier than a crusty, old punk rocker who can’t give up his glory days. But that’s not what makes this popular late-night dive a spooky place. Possession of the mind is a terrible thing, but that’s what exactly seems to happen to people who walk into the bar who are “reacting” to two deaths. There’s the 1962 murder of an elderly man — slain from multiple blows from a glass soda bottle. Then there’s the 1986 murder of a 24-year-old woman, killed with an axe.
The Red Lion Pub
After a six-year dirt nap, ownership resurrected the bar earlier this year. The original building, erected in 1882, carries a storied past — supposedly haunted by various spirits. The bar was a former gambling hall where a man was killed over a debt, according to “Historic Bars of Chicago.” Measles killed a woman living upstairs, where condos once stood. John Dillinger’s ghost may also roam the bar, given federal agents in 1934 gunned down the famed bank robber across the street outside the Biograph Theater. Ownership, construction workers and patrons still report paranormal activity here.
This Italian wine bar opened in 2006 and stands near the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre site at 2122 N. Clark St. Those who believe in the paranormal claim animals react strangely while passing by the area.