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Spirits at the Bar

Spooked by the scene in The Shining where Jack shoots the breeze with the spectral bartender? Wait till you tipple with the ghosts at these local haunts.

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On September 11, 2001, when Chumley's lost twelve of its firemen employees, the jukebox, though unplugged, played a song that assured, "they're on their way to paradise." Some believe they've returned during 9/11 anniversaries ever since.   

Avalon
660 Sixth Ave., nr. 20th St.; 212-807-7780.
Is "party monster" Michael Alig's murder victim Angel Melendez behind the strange goings-on at 660 Sixth Avenue? (Note the three sixes.) Or does the source of disquiet lie further back in time? Some of the onetime church's parishioners, including John Jacob Astor, died in the Titanic, and a babbling brook in the basement is said to connect with a cemetery in Chelsea, which is rumored to have once abutted the club's concrete garden—marble plaques, possibly memorials, were found when the club was purchased.


Café des Artistes
1 W. 67th St., at Central Park W.; 212-877-3500
Staffers deny it, but it’s said that a cloudlike apparition likes to reach out and touch lodgers at the Hotel des Artistes. Could it be one of the previous habitués of the downstairs café, which included Marcel Duchamp, Isadora Duncan, and Fiorello Laguardia?

Chumley’s
86 Bedford St., nr. Barrow St.; 212-675-4449
The ghost of the fabled speakeasy’s proprietress, Henrietta Chumley, has been said to quaff Manhattans at her favorite seat by the fireplace and tip bottles off the shelves. Owner Steve Schlopak, who keeps a log of supernatural occurrences, believes it might be his former employees, twelve firefighters killed on September 11, who return to play the jukebox even when it’s unplugged, selecting songs that jibe with conversations and holidays.


The Oak Room
59 W. 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-840-6800
The writers of the Round Table originally met in what was then called the Pergular Room. Some say their ghosts haunt the Algonquin Hotel; patrons have reported inadvertently channeling some of their famous quips.


Ear Inn
326 Spring St., nr. Washington St.; 212-226-9060
The spirit of Mickey, a sailor and onetime regular, has been thought to goose female patrons, light the fireplace, and drain cell-phone batteries. But his greatest feat may be the fire that broke out in 1996, seemingly without cause.

The Historic Old Bermuda Inn
2512 Arthur Kill Rd., nr. Rossville Ave., Staten Island; 718-948-7600
Twenty-seven-year-old Martha Mesereau died in her summer mansion, which was later converted into the Inn, after her husband went missing in the Civil War. Some say she can still be heard weeping and often turns lights on after closing time—as if she’s waiting for her beloved to return

Landmark Tavern
626 Eleventh Ave., at 46th St.; 212-247-2562
It's said that a young girl who died of typhoid fever still considers the third floor of this 1868 establishment her home and that a confederate soldier, shot in a bar brawl, tips books off the shelf in the second-floor party room, where the bathtub he died in still sits.


Manhattan Bistro
129 Spring St., nr. Greene St.; 212-966-3459
There's a well in the basement where, in 1800, the body of Juliana Elmore Sands was discovered, possibly murdered at the hands of her fiancé. The Ghost of Spring Street has supposedly caused plates and ashtrays to fly off the tables, and staffers once saw a spiraling mist ascend from the well itself.


One if by Land, Two if by Sea
17 Barrow St., nr. W. 4th St.; 212-255-8649
A maître d' quit after he was pushed up and down the stairs each night, and cold spots, footsteps in the attic, and a mysterious cat's meow have frightened others. An African-American specter (according to a medium, the onetime proprietor Aaron Burr's valet) has been known to sit at a balcony table, only to disappear. And a woman in white is sometimes called Elizabeth, after the name inscribed on a tombstone discovered in the basement; some think she's actually Burr's daughter Theodosia, who is said to have died at sea after pirates forced her to walk the plank.

White Horse Tavern
567 Hudson St., at 11th St.; 212-243-9260
Legend has it that Dylan Thomas had his final, fatal eighteen shots of whiskey here after claiming to see the gates of hell; it's believed that he returns to spook staffers as they close up and to move his favorite table, located under a picture of him in the center room.

Thirsty for More?
Join Street Smarts New York on a "Pubs and Poltergeists" walking tour; October 14 at 2 p.m. and October 28 at 6 p.m. Participants pay $10 not including cost of drinks and meet at the Astor Place subway kiosk.


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