👻 Many restaurants in New Jersey have a rich history and past

👻 Some are still open today and are considered haunted

👻 Check out these dozen haunted restaurants and bars in NJ

While Halloween is the spookiest time of year, ghosts don’t just limit their sightings to October.

If you love history, a backstory, and a good old-fashioned ghost to keep you company the next time you go out to dinner, check out these 12 most haunted restaurants in New Jersey, according to New Jersey Haunted Houses.

Essex County

Old Canal Inn (Google Streetview)
Old Canal Inn (Google Streetview)

Old Canal Inn

2 E Passaic Ave, Nutley

Originally called the JoJos Tavern in 1934, it became the Old Canal Inn in 1948. While it remains open today, serving up food and drink to patrons, there is a local legend behind the Inn.

According to Weird NJ, The Old Canal Inn is where the “Death Chair” is housed. Legend has it that a weird incident occurred at the Inn involving two men fighting over a seat. Both men died 10 days later of a heart attack. To this day, the Old Canal Inn has roped off the area around the chair. Weird NJ reports that at least three people have died after sitting on the chair. In 1964, when two men sat on the chair, they died of a heart attack within three days of each other.

These weird events connected to the Death Chair inspired the Inn to name a platter called the “Death Seat Burger Platter.” It’s only available on special occasions but it consists of a beer batter deep-fried burger topped with jalapenos, mashed potatoes, and nacho cheddar cheese, accompanied with fries and a salad.

Gloucester County

Lake House (Google Street View)
Lake House (Google Street View)

Iona Lake Inn – Lake House Restaurant

611 Taylor Rd, Newfield

Formerly known as the Iona Lake Inn, the Lake House restaurant is nestled on the shore of Iona Lake. It was built in the early 1900s as a popular inn and summer vacation spot.

Legend has it that its rooms were rented by the hour, and the Inn served as an illegal brothel, and there was a basement-located speakeasy during The Prohibition.

While there are no official records of gangster Al Capone having frequented the Inn, there are many colorful stories about his presence there.

Some believe the Lake House continues to be haunted by the original owners, a lady in black, and a ghost named Victor.

“According to the ghost story told by Lake House, a boy named Victor was hired to run the front desk when it was the Iona Lake Inn. He would experience unsettling moments while at work, including strange noises, objects being moved to another place when he was sure it was somewhere else before, and unexplained broken dishes,” New Jersey Haunted Houses wrote.

One night, Victor found the dead body of a long-time guest, and soon after, he became paranoid and obsessed, always trying to prove that the haunts at the Inn were real. The Lady in Black ended up chasing Victor to his death.

While the Lake House said it can’t guarantee you’ll experience any paranormal activity when you visit, it can guarantee you a memorable dining experience.

Hudson County

Arthur’s Tavern

237 Washington St, Hoboken

While it’s not in operation today, Arthur’s Tavern is rumored to be the home of at least three spirits. Employees have reported hearing footsteps, doors opening by themselves, lights flickering, and even a clipboard flying off a desk. Others report hearing ghost whispers, and someone’s hair being pulled by something unseen.

Brass Rail (Facebook)
Brass Rail (Facebook)

The Brass Rail

135 Washington St, Hoboken

The Brass Rail is known for its haunted past and paranormal activity. Legend has it that in 1904, a bride tripped at the top of the staircase, breaking her neck and dying. Shortly after her death, the groom hung himself in another room. The two have apparently been lingering around the bar and restaurant since that fateful night.

Both guests and employees have reported strange happenings including seeing ghostly figures of the bride and groom. Others have reported phone calls with no one on the other end, lights flickering on a regular basis, cold spots appearing, items gone missing only to turn up in plain sight later on, and items falling to the ground for no reason.

Hunterdon County

The Hawke (Google Streetview)
The Hawke (Google Streetview)

Inn of the Hawke

74 S Union St, Lambertville

According to New Jersey Haunted Houses, the inn was built in the 1860s and is rumored to have some ghosts walking around. People have reported strange occurrences and noises, such as pots and pans being lifted off their hooks in the kitchen, and then crashing into the floor. Others have reported photos on the walls that have been reportedly knocked off.

According to the Asbury Park Press, “Ghost Hunters” visited the inn and confirmed a psychic’s conclusion that a handyman who worked there when it was a home, is haunting the inn along with a girl who wears a yellow floral dress.

The restaurant itself is a steakhouse offering American fare, along with craft beers, fun cocktails, and wine by the glass.

Monmouth County

Seabrook Wilson House (Google Streetview)
Seabrook Wilson House (Google Streetview)

Seabrook-Wilson House (Spy House)

719 Port Monmouth Rd, Port Monmouth

While this is no longer a tavern, the Seabrook-Wilson House is one of the oldest surviving houses in the region and is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

The house dates back to 1650 and was originally a one-room cabin that housed Thomas Whitlock and his family.

When the Revolution began, the building began to operate as a tavern. British troops were said to be fond of this bar and that’s where they would go to map out their strategies and attacks.

The owner apparently relayed discussions to colonial troops, therefore earning the building’s nickname, Spy House, according to Middletown Patch.

Legend has it that as many as 22 active ghosts have been seen over the years. One is said to be a woman dressed in white walking from room to room looking for her crying baby. Another is a boy who peers out from the windows. There is also an old bearded sea captain, wandering about.

Middlesex County

Cranbury Inn (Google Streetview)
Cranbury Inn (Google Streetview)

Cranbury Inn

21 S Main St, Cranbury

It’s no surprise that Cranbury is one of New Jersey’s oldest towns. According to “Ghosts of the Garden State,” Cranbury’s Main Street was an important stop on the stagecoach route between New York and Philadelphia.

Legend has it that numerous human and animal spirits still haunt the roadway. The most famous legend involves a Philadelphia merchant named William Christie, who on Oct.14, 1796, fell to his death from a stagecoach in front of the Cranbury Inn. He was buried across the street in a graveyard. Locals claim that on stormy October nights, the tragedy is re-enacted. Residents claim they can hear the horses’ whinny, the stagecoach wheels, and the young man’s screams.

The Cranbury Inn restaurant is open today for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails.

Morris County

Publick House (Google Streetview)
Publick House (Google Streetview)

The Publick House, Chester

111 Main St, Chester

The Publick House was built in 1810. It is rumored to be haunted by spirits, phantom perfumes, growing noises, cold spots, and other strange phenomena. The Publick House sits on the historic site of the Public House Tavern, a once popular stagecoach stop. Now, it is an upscale, all-suite boutique and home to the PH Steakhouse.

Courtesy of the business
Courtesy of the business

Knotty Pine Pub

242 E Union Turnpike, Wharton

Knotty Pine Pub is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a skinny man who likes to stand near the dartboards. A whistling sound has been reported coming from the pub’s basement and attic. There have also been a number of paranormal occurrences reported.

Le Bistro Café

57 Moquis Trl Oak Ridge

LeBistro Café sits on the border of Passaic and Morris counties. The information about its haunted history comes from the book, “Ghosts of the Garden State,” by Lynda Lee Macken.

Alfred T. Ringling originally owned the building that houses the café. The circus czar made this his home base.

According to the book, the restaurant was known as The Deer Tail Inn in the 1940s. Ghosts liked to torment the waitresses by messing with their well-balanced trays. The phantom, who identified himself as Armon Hirsuit, frequently appeared on the staircase and would talk to the owner of the building. There has been no record of such a person ever found, but it is believed Hirsuit was a longtime employee who hung himself on the premises.

“When a tenant in the upstairs apartment complained that a ghost was biting her children, a psychic was called in to help. The perpetrator turned out to be a woman in a blue Victorian-era dress. She claimed to be the inn’s caretaker and explained that she had been there for a very long time,” Macken wrote.

Ocean County

Shore House (Google Street View)
Shore House (Google Street View)

Magee’s West Side Tavern – Shore House

2114 NJ-88, Point Pleasant

Magee’s West Side Tavern, also known as Shore House was built in the 1800s, and is rumored to be haunted.

The site of the 1846 shipwreck off a Mantoloking sandbar would later serve as a temporary funeral home, and a makeshift morgue following the disaster, where the stories of the lost were honored. The walls inside Shore House carry the weight of this haunting event.

Legend has it that the spirit of Captain Stark roams within, forever bound to the ship and the sea.

Some people say they’ve seen glasses falling, windows breaking, and one person was apparently locked in a closet by the prankster ghost.

The site of this tragic event would later serve as a temporary funeral home, where the stories of those lost were mournfully honored. The Shore House stands as a testament to this haunting event, its walls carrying the weight of history. Legend whispers that the spirit of Captain Stark roams within, forever bound to the ship and the sea. Our establishment honors the enduring spirit of resilience, forever tied to the shipwreck's legacy and the souls that once sought solace within its walls.


Neschanic Inn Station (Google Streetview)
Neschanic Inn Station (Google Streetview)

Neshanic Inn – Murphy’s Crocodile Inn

102 Woodfern Rd, Neshanic Station

The Riverside Inn, the place once known as the Neshanic Inn, and Murphy’s Crocodile Inn, was built in the 1880s.  A train depot once stood there and a hotel was built in the 1880s. Today, there is a bar and restaurant with top floor apartments.

The place is no stranger to paranormal activity. It is known to have experienced electrical problems along with the spirit of a shadowing figure lurking in the basement. One worker was mopping the floors, saw footprints appear in the wet water, then saw a ghost walk through the wall.

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