This building served as home to numerous businesses in its time before becoming "Tony's Saloon. It was home to a wireless telegraph station and an ice house, not to mention a cigar factory and a speakeasy.
Before the building on 428 Greene Street was one of the most popular hangouts on the island, it was a place where the 'gentlemanly' sea captains would go for the night. It was common for the proprietors to let the pirates hang out there, the ladies would chat up the handsome rogues, and everyone would have a good time. Unbeknownst to many, one other part of the building served as a city morgue. It all came to light following the Hurricane of 1865.
The Hurricane of 1865
A tumultuous hurricane hit the Florida Keys in 1865, which smashed nearly everything in its path. Captain Tony's Saloon fully became a city morgue. There were many corpses left waiting to be buried or autopsied. It is said that a body was buried beneath the building with holy water, surrounded by a wall where the poolroom currently is.
Captain Tony's Ownership
In the 1890s, the current building served as a telegraph station and critical point of information flow during the Spanish-American war. By 1912, the building had turned into a cigar factory. The place changed hands a few times until 1958 when Captain Tony, a local boat captain, took over and set it up as a mysterious watering hole. It was around this time that the legends began, thanks to his mastery of storytelling.
The Blue Ghost
After the pub expanded, Captain Tony's Saloon was built around a tree used for hangings. This tree had hosted countless lynchings and executions, including a murderer of two sons and her husband, who was hung from this tree. She died in the blue dress she'd been wearing, covered in her victim's blood. She is said to be the first ghost at Captain Tony's. She's been seen so many times that she's dubbed "Lady in Blue."
During the building's renovation, workers uncovered skeletal remains. These include the bones of Elvira, who was found buried beneath the floorboards of an old room. It's believed that these bodies may be among those that were lost following Hurricane Katrina.
There's another ghostly legend about the ghost of Captain Tony's Saloon. It involves a young mother who came into the building looking for her husband. She brought their child along, which was 1 or 2 years old at the time.
When she discovered her husband carousing with others in the lounge, she had an outburst and said something so mentally unhinged that one could hardly imagine it. She entered the restrooms with her child for reasons unknown, then killed it and hid it under a blanket before leaving.
Door to the Unkown
There are also stories of people being confronted with some inexplicable events at this legendary bar. The ladies' room at the bar has been the scene of various strange incidents reported by those who have used it.
One woman could not get the restroom door to open; it appeared to be locked. Then, after using the second stall and washing her hands, she heard voices of several people entering the restroom from a single door she did not know existed. Suddenly, the outside door to the bathroom opened and closed itself, but nobody was in sight. She screamed and fled.
Ghosts of Joe
The bar owner, Joe Farber, also reports that he had frightening experiences while there. A voice called out to Joe one night around 4 am when he was alone. Standing up from his desk, he looked around to see if anyone was there, but no one was.
Despite having locked the back doors an hour earlier, he noticed that they were wide open. As these voices were beyond his comprehension, he dismissed them until they called out again a few years later.
As he ran to the back door, the voice said, "Don't leave." This time the door slammed itself shut. As he looked around the bar, he did not notice anything unusual, so he left. In the early morning hours, Joe received a call from the police telling him that a girl had been found dead in front of his bar.
Handshake with the D**vil
Other bar patrons have described the same odd experiences: cold spots around the ladies restroom, doors that open and close by themselves, stalls that lock without anyone in them. Also, one patron reported that his hands were severely burned an hour after he touched the tree inside the bar.
Captain Tony's Saloon is a great place if you are looking for paranormal experiences. Several lost souls linger at the pub, likely tormented by their past. Do you have what it takes to party with the dead?