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Manhattan - Ear Inn

A Brief History: Formerly known as the James Brown House, the Federal styled, two and a half story building on 326 Spring Street became one of the earliest designated historical landmarks by the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1969. Built sometime at the turn of the 18th century, James Brown an African-American and Revolutionary War Veteran bought the building in 1817 and turned it into a lucrative tobacco shop. It has been rumored that Brown was one of the Revolutionary soldiers depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s iconic “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting. After Brown’s death and due to the store’s close location to the waterfront, at the time (before urban development) it stood only feet away from the Hudson River it became a tavern servicing local sailors in the area. In 1890, Thomas Cook took proprietorship installing a brewery. When Prohibition was passed in 1919, the tavern was converted into a speakeasy known as The Green Door with its proud motto “Known Coast to Coast”. The upstairs floors were converted into a boarding house and sometimes brothel. Sailors would frequent the establishment for a warm place to rest their head, some hearty beer to fill their bellies and a friendly smile to brighten their spirits. When Prohibition ended, the Green Door re-opened and stayed the local watering-hole until 1977. At this time it was purchased by a group of artists who in keeping with the restrictions on historic landmarks, altered the name from ‘bar’ to ‘ear’ after their magazine, EAR, produced upstairs thus giving its current name the Ear Inn.

Haunted History: Visitors to the bar say they have seen ghosts that are said to date back to the boarding house days. One ghost in particular that seems to make a reoccurring appearance is that of Mickey, a sailor staying at the boarding house waiting for his ship to come in and who met a tragic end when he was struck by a car outside the Ear Inn. According to owner Martin Sheridan, Mickey is a bit of a beverage burglar stealing patron’s drinks and amusing himself as they accuse friends and fellow bar goers in search of their missing drinks. He also has a fondness for the female staff and clientele, playfully goosing them.

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