Friday, August 27, 2010

Bridge Cafe, The Oldest Haunted Drinking Establishment In NYC.

If anyone saw The Gangs of New York the film director pays homage to this particular bar. Rightfully so, it has a very colorful history behind it.
First of all, it's one of the very, very few wood standing structures left in Manhattan (maybe about three or so).  The bar started it's life first as a grocery store in 1794 right by the East River (The World Trade Center was on the opposite end of Water Street on the Hudson River). Next door, in later years, came The Brooklyn Bridge. Fulton Fish Market was a stone's throw away (To this day it still brings in the freshest fish to the Cafe).
As for hauntings? The Cafe was once known as one of the rowdiest watering holes on Water Street. It was a brothel (otherwise known as a "disorderly house"), pirate bar "The Hole in the Wall", packing store, and many different kinds of restaurants. Reports have been shadows, footsteps, the feeling of being watched, and the smell of lavender

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The paranormal group EPIC investigated the Bridge Cafe. Here's their findings:

As for colorful? It has to be the stories about Gallus Mag and Sadie the Goat. Here's some interesting quotes:
"Built in 1794, the Bridge Café was a stopping point for pirates, and also had one of the most famous bouncers in New York. Gallus Mag, an Englishwoman who stood more than six feet tall, was less than kind when throwing rowdy drunks out of the establishment; she’d drag an offender through the door with his ear in her teeth, and (depending on her mood) was known to bite off an ear or two and stash them in an old jar. Ms. Mag’s ghost is said to still haunt the café today."
"Sadie was a regular on Water Street, the Fourth Ward’s main drag and a favorite of sailors and those looking for underworld fun. A travel guide of the day called it the most violent street on the continent; another warned readers absolutely to steer clear after dark. The Fourth Ward Hotel kept a trapdoor to dump corpses into the East River. The street had no shortage of saloons and their unlicensed cousins, called “blind tigers,” which served the locals, slumming gentry and the criminals who preyed on all alike. On the corner of Water and Dover Streets was one of the roughest taverns of all, the Hole-in-the-Wall, the favorite basement hangout of Sadie the Goat.
By far the scariest bouncer at the Hole-in-the-Wall was Gallus Mag – a six-foot-plus Englishwoman with a truncheon tied to her wrist and a revolver tucked in her belt. Mag had a unique way of dealing with rowdy drunks: smacking the lout with her truncheon, dragging him to the door with his ear held firmly in her teeth, and if she was in the mood, biting off the ear before tossing its owner into the street. The ears were added to her collection, which she kept in a pickling jar behind the bar. One spring night Sadie ran afoul of Mag,"
It's also written that Gallus Mag would sharpen her teeth to fine points.
*One little added info: The Bridge Cafe has 6 beehives on their roof. All for fresh honey.
Gallus Mag
Sadie the Goat


  1. thanks for this post! This story is a wonderful mix of my three favorite things, ghosts, Gangs of New York, and New York!

  2. There's more strange stories. I'm NYC born and raised! I've heard them all, :-)