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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Portland has plenty of these places- restaurants, bars and hotels with a certain "vibe," for lack of a better word. Locales with an aura of mystery and darkness like something out of a Tom Waits song. When you walk in for the first time you're bound to find yourself thinking, "Yep, this establishment is probably haunted" even if you don't know its history.
The White Eagle, Hobos, Mama Mia Trattoria, the Kennedy School, the Shanghai, Old Town Pizza, they all bear a few dusty, old secrets and a ghost story or three. I recently wandered into the Tugboat Brewing Company on SW Ankeny and got that same feeling. Old photos and portraits line the walls alongside bookshelves. The booths are worn and the lamps look like they've been there for a hundred years. An old piano sits off in a corner.
It's a great spot with a friendly staff but I wonder if any of them hate to be the last one out the door every night. What's the history behind the place and what's the bio of its resident spirit? I'm sure they've got at least one hanging around.
So you don't believe in ghosts? Well, me neither, despite an incredibly creepy night I once spent in a room at the White Eagle. If you get the chance though, head down to Old Town Pizza by yourself on a quiet, preferably rainy weeknight right around 9 or so. Have a seat on the first floor, around the corner from the kitchen or, if you're feeling really daring, the table in the old elevator shaft.
Supposedly, many years ago, a prostitute named Nina was tossed down the shaft after she threatened to rat on her employer. If the legends are to be believed, she still wanders around the place in a white dress and occasionally pesters the staff. If you can get through your solitary meal without moving into the other room you're a braver person than I.