Looking for a real Halloween experience this year? Are you brave enough to face a ghost? Legendary hauntings abound in the St. Louis area and some of the Lou’s acclaimed ghosts have taken up residence at local bars and restaurants. If you stop by their hangouts for a drink or a meal, maybe one will tap you on the shoulder and say boo!
The Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn
3322 DeMenil Place
St. Louis, MO 63118
It’s easy to see why the Lemp Mansion is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country. The powerful Lemp family endured one tragedy after another in this sprawling mansion. The Lemp saga includes deaths, suicides, insanity and a secret ‘love child’ hidden away in the attic. The Lemp ghosts haunt the mansion, the tunnels and the brewing caves underground. The third floor is said to be haunted by the illegitimate child of William Lemp, Jr., a boy with Down syndrome who spent his entire life locked away in the attic. The lecherous William Jr. himself has been seen peeking over the bathroom stalls in the downstairs ladies’ room. There are even ghostly horses on the parking lot where the horses used to be tethered. The Lemp Mansion offers a bar, restaurant, dinner theater and — for the truly brave who want to sleep on the grounds — a bed and breakfast. The Sunday chicken dinner and Sunday brunch are both very popular.
2117 S. 12th St.
St. Louis, MO 63104
Tucker’s Soulard location is in an historic building that has served as a multi-family home and a balloon factory, among other things. The structure is rumored to have been the location of several deaths, including a gangster murdered in the basement, an elderly female patron who passed quietly during lunch one day, an accidental death in an upstairs apartment and a little girl falling to her death from a window. Tucker’s staff have reported seeing the ghost of the little girl and hearing her playful voice after closing time. More ominous shadows have also been reported. If you’d like to visit the ghosts of Tucker’s, you can enjoy a nice steak dinner or simply pull up a rustic wooden barstool and enjoy a tasty beverage.
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1200 Russell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63104
Ghosts or poltergeists have been reported at McGurk’s. They mostly seem to live upstairs where they tease the band members who stay overnight by adjusting the water and moving objects around. But patrons in the main room of this venerable Soulard institution have reported seeing strange activity as well. Be alert for phantom footsteps or lights flipping on and off if you stop by for a drink. McGurk’s offers a luxurious patio, live music and an authentic Irish pub atmosphere.
Bissell Mansion Restaurant
4426 Randall Place
St. Louis, MO 63107
In order to have a drink at the Bissell Mansion bar, you’ll need to sign on for the interactive dinner-theater experience, which is more humorous than spooky. Bissell is the oldest house in St. Louis and sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi. The once-posh neighborhood surrounding the mansion has changed in the past hundred years, but Bissell employs a security guard who watches over the house and parking lot until the last guest has left. Lewis Bissell himself, the original owner of the home, is said to haunt the mansion. The house also has a female ghost, one of Bissell’s wives. She has been seen in a white dress and is reported to be a friendly, smiling presence. Staff say she often takes the wine glasses and returns them days later. The dinner theater is priced at $52.95 and includes a four-course meal and two glasses of wine.
Masonic Temple, 2nd floor
300 State St.
Alton, IL 62002
Haunted tours are a popular attraction in Alton, Illinois. One of the most haunted spots in this city is the old Masonic Temple, also known as Piasa Lodge. It has been said that over 100 ghosts frequent the lodge, mostly former Masons and their wives. The ghosts here have a reputation for being rascals who like to provoke non-believers when they come through on tours. The Temple is used mainly for banquets today, but the Spirits Lounge on the second floor is open to the public as a martini bar and also offers American fare for lunch and dinner.
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.