Once fall rolls around, date night gets tricky. Park meet-cutes aren’t quite as cute when there’s less daytime and more rain. Why not lean into the season and find a haunt that’s a bit more haunted? We know Seattle’s got a lot of ghosts, and life’s too short to ignore the afterlife. So this month, make your date nights a little freaky, you little freaks. For this planner, we’re hitting up two famously haunted bars and one sexy, spooky cabaret.
📸: Adam Kubota
Pioneer Square’s red-bricked Bostonian facade masks one of the city’s most ghost-ridden areas. People report encountering ghosts here all the time. It probably has something to do with the Great Fire of 1889, which destroyed Seattle’s whole business district. When the city rebuilt itself after the fire, it built on top of this old city, creating a spooky basement of preserved history. Owl N’ Thistle rests inside this underground.
Ghosts have tickled the keys of the bar’s piano—allegedly. An employee says they once ran into a ghost while waiting in line for the bathroom. There are strange sounds. Kitchenware moving on its own. All of that goes down here. The place is actually very cozy, with warmly lit stained glass light fixtures and shelves lined with leather-bound tomes. Start your hair-raising evening here with a pile of fish n’ chips and a game or two of free pool, all while keeping your head on a swivel for spirit activity.
📍Owl N’ Thistle: 808 Post Ave
Open every day from 11 am to 2 am.
📸: Courtesy Can Can Cabaret
Walk from Owl N’ Thistle to the basement-level burlesque bar in Pike Place Market, the Can Can. Take Post Alley the whole way. Alleys, with all their in-betweenness, are inherently liminal and should be considered hot spots for ghost activity.
Some time ago, while closing down for the night, a Can Can bartender blew out the theater’s candles and went outside for a smoke break. Upon returning, he found every candle relit. Another man swears his daughter befriended a ghost boy at the Can Can. As everyone knows, ghost boys love burlesque!
While you’ve found yourself at the Can Can primarily for paranormal interaction, you might as well enjoy a show. Each year, the Can Can puts on a dark, sultry number for fall. This go-around, the show is “Hitchcock Hotel,” which the show’s director, Chris Pink, describes as “if The Munsters and The Addams Family moved into a hotel with Frank N. Furter and crafted a cabaret musical.”
If I were you, I’d order a round of Can Can beignets. It’s better to enjoy burlesque while licking powdered sugar off your fingers.
📸: Adam Kubota
Tonight’s last stop is the most haunted place in Seattle: Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub, which started as a mortuary in the early 1900s. The entrance to the restaurant is the same entrance the mortuary used to bring in the corpses. Bodies killed by plague, mining accidents, and Dr. Linda Hazzard came through those doors. Now, maybe they’re the ghosts who haunt the place.
Just a stone’s throw from the Can Can, Kells sits in Post Alley above Pike Place Market. Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans, who visited Kells in 2015 for the episode “Demons in Seattle,” said, “There’s a lot going on in Kells.” Bagans and his team poked around the restaurant and its basement, looking for orbs and spirits. “This place just has death written all over it,” Bagans said. According to employees, ghostly activity happens all the time. Glasses move across the bar on their own. Peoeple says they’ve seen the ghost of a little girl in a red dress. Bagans thought he caught a picture of the girl on video during his ghost-hunting visit, but it just looked like a shadow.
Maybe you can find the truth about this ghost girl. Debate her existence over Irish Coffee and some traditional soda bread.
📍Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar: 1916 Post Alley
Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:30 to 2 am. Sundays from 10 to 12 am. Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 pm to 12 am.