8 Haunted Bay Area Restaurants and the Ghost Stories Behind Them – Eater SF

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These are some of the Bay Area’s best haunts
We all have our favorite haunts in the Bay Area, those restaurants that serve the same comfort foods that mom used to make or elicit fond memories of meals shared with friends. While some Bay Area restaurants are known for their ever-changing menus and unique ambiance, others serve ghostly apparitions alongside lunch and dinner entrees. If you’re looking for a spooky dining experience this Halloween season, look no further than these eight Bay Area restaurants.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.
Take a trip back to California’s Gold Rush era when you step inside the Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar in Benicia. This three-story hotel and restaurant, which opened in 1852, is a hub of alleged supernatural activity. Once a rowdy saloon, the bar now features elegant stained-glass windows commemorating Benicia’s years as the state’s capitol. Order a cocktail or martini, while dining on flavored fare including pomodoro pasta or their beef stew with creamy polenta, and hear stories of the hotel’s resident spirit, known as “Crying Mary.” She’s rumored to haunt the venue, continuing to mourn the loss of her lover. 
A post shared by Hella Haunted (@hellahauntedpod)
While guests come to Sweeney’s to indulge in traditional Italian fare, they often linger, hoping to catch a glimpse of the venue’s resident spirit. In the early 1900s, the restaurant operated as a saloon and locals claim the owner’s ghost can often be seen sitting at the bar and politely leaving an 11-cent tip for the staff. Known for steaks, seafood, and classic Italian dishes, Sweeney’s is housed in a historic building, offering an elegant dining room, a lavish outdoor patio, and the possibility of a friendly ghost sighting. 
This iconic downtown San Francisco steakhouse was a favorite of the Maltese Falcon author Dashiell Hammett. Some guests claim Hammett’s spirit still frequents the historic restaurant, where he wrote his bestselling novel. The extensive menu features Sam Spade’s Lamb Chops, named for Hammett’s famous private investigator and served with baked potato and sliced tomatoes, just the way the fictional Spade liked to order it. Seafood, pasta, salads, and sandwiches round out the menu.
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Libations aren’t the only spirits served at this historic Alameda restaurant. Built in 1879, the building was once Croll’s Gardens and Hotel, a venue frequented by soldiers at the nearby Alameda Naval Air Station who were about to be deployed to combat zones. Some swear their departed souls continue to make cameo appearances at their once-favorite gathering place, accounting for the sounds of mysterious laughter and ghostly apparitions in uniform seen late at night. With a cozy ambiance featuring live music, a full bar, and daily specials like cioppino, and shepherd’s pie, you can’t blame the spirits for returning.
Once a private Victorian-era home, this Mexican restaurant opened in 1997 and is known for its upscale cuisine, extensive tequila selection (including a signature blue agave tequila margarita), and host of ghostly spirits. The restaurant was featured on the television show 20/20, when the owner and staff reported strange noises and ghostly apparitions. With seasonal favorites, such as the chiles en nogada, the Blue Agave Club works hard to maintain its reputation for preparing vegetarian enchiladas and enjococado (made from a 100-year-old family recipe) on top of serving a clientele that may include ghosts from Pleasanton’s haunted past.
A post shared by Blue Agave Club (@blueagaveclub)
This charming restaurant in downtown Pleasanton is the place to go if you crave a slice of paranormal with your pizza. Built in 1864, the upper floor of the pizzeria once housed a brothel, and both staff and patrons have reported seeing a full-figured woman, known as the Blue Lady, peeking out of the building’s second-story window. Order one of the sourdough specialty pizzas, or a jumbo cheese ravioli dish, and take a seat in the restaurant’s mirror booth where the legendary spirit once scrawled “Boo.” Despite numerous attempts to erase the message, it remains as much of a staple as the restaurant’s salads, pizza, and pasta entrees.
A post shared by Scott L. (@sracer4095)
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Magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean aren’t the only reason to visit this historic restaurant. Once a popular 1920s speakeasy, frequented by silent film stars and other local celebrities, Moss Beach Distillery also has an alleged haunted past. Rumor has it that a mysterious “lady in blue” was killed during the Prohibition era while walking on the beach with her lover, and her spirit continues to roam the premises. Visitors travel from around the world to experience this restaurant’s stunning patio views and California coastal cuisine including shrimp alfredo and seafood sliders — while also hoping to catch a glimpse of the resident ghost.
Set high atop Mount Hamilton, this classic Italian-American steakhouse is known for stunning patio views of the South Bay, plus hand-cut pasta, prime rib, filet mignon, and Maine lobster. Yet locals have also reported ghostly sightings, including a mysterious young girl playing on the balcony and lights that flicker for no apparent reason. A popular venue for both special occasions and group events, the historic Grandview originally served as a roadhouse in the late 1800s for those visiting the Lick Observatory by stagecoach. While the original structure has been rebuilt and remodeled, the Grandview retains the same elegant ambiance of years past.
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Take a trip back to California’s Gold Rush era when you step inside the Union Hotel Restaurant & Bar in Benicia. This three-story hotel and restaurant, which opened in 1852, is a hub of alleged supernatural activity. Once a rowdy saloon, the bar now features elegant stained-glass windows commemorating Benicia’s years as the state’s capitol. Order a cocktail or martini, while dining on flavored fare including pomodoro pasta or their beef stew with creamy polenta, and hear stories of the hotel’s resident spirit, known as “Crying Mary.” She’s rumored to haunt the venue, continuing to mourn the loss of her lover. 
A post shared by Hella Haunted (@hellahauntedpod)
While guests come to Sweeney’s to indulge in traditional Italian fare, they often linger, hoping to catch a glimpse of the venue’s resident spirit. In the early 1900s, the restaurant operated as a saloon and locals claim the owner’s ghost can often be seen sitting at the bar and politely leaving an 11-cent tip for the staff. Known for steaks, seafood, and classic Italian dishes, Sweeney’s is housed in a historic building, offering an elegant dining room, a lavish outdoor patio, and the possibility of a friendly ghost sighting. 
This iconic downtown San Francisco steakhouse was a favorite of the Maltese Falcon author Dashiell Hammett. Some guests claim Hammett’s spirit still frequents the historic restaurant, where he wrote his bestselling novel. The extensive menu features Sam Spade’s Lamb Chops, named for Hammett’s famous private investigator and served with baked potato and sliced tomatoes, just the way the fictional Spade liked to order it. Seafood, pasta, salads, and sandwiches round out the menu.
Libations aren’t the only spirits served at this historic Alameda restaurant. Built in 1879, the building was once Croll’s Gardens and Hotel, a venue frequented by soldiers at the nearby Alameda Naval Air Station who were about to be deployed to combat zones. Some swear their departed souls continue to make cameo appearances at their once-favorite gathering place, accounting for the sounds of mysterious laughter and ghostly apparitions in uniform seen late at night. With a cozy ambiance featuring live music, a full bar, and daily specials like cioppino, and shepherd’s pie, you can’t blame the spirits for returning.
Once a private Victorian-era home, this Mexican restaurant opened in 1997 and is known for its upscale cuisine, extensive tequila selection (including a signature blue agave tequila margarita), and host of ghostly spirits. The restaurant was featured on the television show 20/20, when the owner and staff reported strange noises and ghostly apparitions. With seasonal favorites, such as the chiles en nogada, the Blue Agave Club works hard to maintain its reputation for preparing vegetarian enchiladas and enjococado (made from a 100-year-old family recipe) on top of serving a clientele that may include ghosts from Pleasanton’s haunted past.
A post shared by Blue Agave Club (@blueagaveclub)
This charming restaurant in downtown Pleasanton is the place to go if you crave a slice of paranormal with your pizza. Built in 1864, the upper floor of the pizzeria once housed a brothel, and both staff and patrons have reported seeing a full-figured woman, known as the Blue Lady, peeking out of the building’s second-story window. Order one of the sourdough specialty pizzas, or a jumbo cheese ravioli dish, and take a seat in the restaurant’s mirror booth where the legendary spirit once scrawled “Boo.” Despite numerous attempts to erase the message, it remains as much of a staple as the restaurant’s salads, pizza, and pasta entrees.
A post shared by Scott L. (@sracer4095)
Magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean aren’t the only reason to visit this historic restaurant. Once a popular 1920s speakeasy, frequented by silent film stars and other local celebrities, Moss Beach Distillery also has an alleged haunted past. Rumor has it that a mysterious “lady in blue” was killed during the Prohibition era while walking on the beach with her lover, and her spirit continues to roam the premises. Visitors travel from around the world to experience this restaurant’s stunning patio views and California coastal cuisine including shrimp alfredo and seafood sliders — while also hoping to catch a glimpse of the resident ghost.
Set high atop Mount Hamilton, this classic Italian-American steakhouse is known for stunning patio views of the South Bay, plus hand-cut pasta, prime rib, filet mignon, and Maine lobster. Yet locals have also reported ghostly sightings, including a mysterious young girl playing on the balcony and lights that flicker for no apparent reason. A popular venue for both special occasions and group events, the historic Grandview originally served as a roadhouse in the late 1800s for those visiting the Lick Observatory by stagecoach. While the original structure has been rebuilt and remodeled, the Grandview retains the same elegant ambiance of years past.

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