Minnesota is well known for many things – 10,000 Lakes, Paul Bunyan, Vikings, Mall of America – to name just a few. What is less well known is that there are several sites in Minnesota that are reportedly haunted. From hotels to golf courses and even the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, rumors abound about haunted activity. According to the Minnesota Paranormal Study Group, who has been actively pursuing reports of hauntings and posting the findings online, bars and restaurants tend to be popular homes for the supernatural. Whether you’re an avid fan of the paranormal or just looking for a haunted locale to celebrate Halloween, check out the best haunted bars in Minnesota.
40 Club Inn
950 2nd St. N.W.
Aitkin, MN 56441
This small-town restaurant and sports bar possesses something most others lack. It is said to be possessed by a restless ghost. After a former restaurant employee who lived in an apartment above the restaurant was found dead in 1999, strange things began happening. It is believed that Tom committed suicide with a bag of drugs as the alleged culprit. Members of the staff have reported cold spots throughout the restaurant, flickering lights that occasionally turn on and off for no apparent reason and most notably, an old jukebox that turns on and plays the same Uncle Kracker song that played at Tom’s funeral, even though that song was never available in that jukebox. The 40 Club Inn’s attached event center is a popular wedding destination with 39 rooms available for guests. It also offers assistance to the happy couple by setting them up with florists, photographers and officiants. It is reported that the strange occurrences usually happen after large events, so if you’re looking to host a wedding dance so hoppin’ it’ll wake the dead, the 40 Club Inn can hook you up.
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Billy’s Bar and Grill
214 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
Prior to being a familiar, neighborhood establishment, Billy’s Bar and Grill used to be an unofficial brothel. It is believed to be haunted by a madam by the name of Mrs. Jackson, who supposedly died in the building. Some say that Mrs. Jackson was murdered by thieves and others say she hanged herself from a chandelier, either scenario is surrounded by tragedy. Mrs. Jackson makes appearances in the form of a ghost who haunts an upstairs window. Witnesses have caught glimpses of her shadowy figure looking down at them. Strange noises have been heard and pictures have also been reported to move on their own. Others report that an apparition of a woman actually passes through the restaurant. In addition to serving up spirits, Billy’s also offers pub-style eats in a casual, sports-bar atmosphere. Go and watch your favorite sporting event on the big screens and grab a bite and a brew. Who knows, you may see something more exciting than your average ball game.
Black Woods Grill & Bar
612 7th Ave.
Two Harbors, MN 55616
Black Woods Grill & Bar is a small chain restaurant with locations in Duluth, Proctor and Two Harbors. While most chain restaurants provide near-identical offerings to their patrons in terms of service, atmosphere and menu selection, the Two Harbors location has one thing that the others lack: paranormal activity. There have been a variety of supernatural occurrences reported by patrons and staff including the apparition of a woman dressed in a white gown who appears and suddenly vanishes, phantom footsteps and voices and a cold chill as if someone is breathing down the back of one’s neck. The most popular story used to explain some of these strange occurrences predates the bar when it was an orphanage. Reportedly, a young girl living at the orphanage fell down the stairs and died. Her restless spirit is responsible for the spooky happenings. Check out Black Woods’ daily happy hours for $1-off well drinks and house wine and half-off tap beers. Not only will you save money on spirits, but you may just see one as well.
Wabasha Street Caves
215 Wabasha St. S.
Saint Paul, MN 55107
The Wabasha Street Caves, one of St. Paul’s hidden gems, is an event center extraordinaire and possesses more than just a unique history. In 1933, the world’s first underground nightclub, Castle Royal, was opened inside one of the caves. Castle Royal became a popular night spot, attracting some of the country’s most notorious gangsters including the likes of John Dillinger and Ma Barker. Just a year after its opening, three men were reportedly gunned down inside the premises. But by the time authorities arrived, the bodies were gone and the evidence of their murders cleaned up. The only remaining evidence, which can be seen to this day, are bullet holes in the fireplace where the men were standing when they met their demise. The ghosts of these men are said to haunt the caves, along with a ghostly couple who reportedly makes appearances at around 3 a.m. in the barroom. Cave tours and St. Paul Gangster tours are offered regularly on the weekends for a nominal fee. And don’t forget to check out Swing Night every Thursday to cut a rug to great live music from regulars like The Moonlight Serenaders, The Minnesota Jazz Orchestra and Swing Beat. You might just catch a glimpse of a ghostly gangster.
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A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.