Butler County Ohio Ghosts and Hauntings - Ryans Tavern

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Ryans Tavern

241 High Street

Hamilton, Ohio

Phone: (513) 737-2200


The ghosts of the tavern's past haunt the building. Full apparitions have been seen sitting at the tables. Carts move, elevator opens and closes on its own.

What's an Irish Tavern without a few ghosts to chat about around the bar? Just be aware, you may be sitting next to one while you're there! 



They didn't know the place was haunted when they moved in--

How many ghost stories start out like that? At least four on the first page of the search engine when we did a search on the subject. But few places can boast at least this many ghosts as Ryan's Tavern in downtown Hamilton, Ohio. So we thought it would be a good place to start. Besides, with that many ghosts, this beautifully renovated pub deserves the phrase just to pave the way for the setting. . .

So  here it goes. . .

            They didn't know the placed was haunted when they moved in. The owners, Vickie and Don Ryan bought the three buildings that make up the Irish pub and restaurant in 2006 with the revitalization of downtown Hamilton in mind. They didn't have a clue that giving a new lease on life to the buildings would also revive a few resident spirits of the 1880s structure too.

            But it should have been expected. A lot of folks called this place home and business from photographers and furniture stores to opticians and restaurants:

-Where the restaurant is now (237-241 High Street), there was a F. W. Woolworth from 1922 to 1954 and after, a Martin's Town and Country Fashions, Dunlap's Clothing and then a thrift store. There was even Seidensticker who sold silver-plated ware and an opticians office.

-On the pub side  and kitchen area (235 High) there was a Winkler and Straub men's store in 1892 and in 1912, it was Boot and Shoe Shining Parlor. There was also a Red Mayer Music and in the early 1930s, Jonson Brothers Confectioners. It would be a Gold Star Chili, a Skyline Chili, High Street Chili, Weber's Grill and finally a Cozy Cafe.

-In the section of the building (231 High Street) there was a painter, a grocer and a druggist.

-In the section of the building (233 High Street), Mrs. Irene C. Shoupe, a  music teacher ran the Shoupe Music School from 1922 through 1967 while her husband was proprietor and director of The Music Box, a music store. Stanley passed away in 1953.


      Ryans      Now the building is home to Ryan's Tavern. But once more, when the restaurant moved in, they didn't know the place was haunted. But Tully Milders, manager, started getting a good idea there was something odd going on in the restaurant within the first year when one of the kitchen workers, Kizzy, mentioned she saw shadows while she worked. She heard voices. Things moved. Strangely, too, she would get the supplies ready for a recipe, leave the room and would return to find the items in order to begin cooking. And then there were the whispers. It happened enough that over time, Kizzy fondly nicknamed her ghostly helper, Elizabeth.       

            It wasn't until a year later, Tully started looking a little deeper into the history, started talking to others around the downtown Hamilton community about the building. One day, when he was talking to a local who had family who once lived and worked in the building, the gentleman mentioned Jonson Brothers Confectioners was once located in the building. They had two ladies who worked in the kitchen making the candies. One was Kizzie. The other was Lizzie. Elizabeth.

            The spirits in the tavern aren't always so friendly like Lizzy. . . Elizabeth. One day, a bar stool slid across the room and ran into the wall behind it. It hit hard enough that it broke one of the spoke-like legs. And they have lost two workers frightened by the shadows, the water turning on by itself or. . . the face that shows up in the second-floor mirror. And the whispers. But even ghosts might have bad days too. Or perhaps, they are just being playful, having a little fun. Doug, the morning cook, headed to the basement one day and loaded a cart. It slipped across the concrete floor not once, but at least four times while he stared inBar amazement. Doug is still there as far as we know. He must have a sense of humor too.

            But it is Tully Milders who has to deal with the spirits the most. He says there are four there, maybe more.  There is Elizabeth in the kitchen and some say musician Stanley Shoupe comes back for visits once in a while.  There is a woman that shows up in a mirror. And the jokester in the basement who some say is Henry, who is hardly out of his teen years. Word has it Tully also works long hours and sometimes he's there by himself. Tully says he doesn't mind the ghosts. He doesn't take the standard approach most of us do with a rush of adrenaline trickling up the wrists and a gasp or, many times a scream. He simply smiles and shrugs, "They help me out almost every morning."  In fact, they have been helpful at times. When he is carrying in an armload of boxes after the morning truck delivery drops them at the back door, the elevator tends to open as if a ghostly hand presses the button to let him on.

            But you can experience the ghosts there too. Stop in and enjoy the restaurant's Irish cousine. You can take the family for a meal during the day and they have kids meals. The beautifully renovated bar is open during the day and evening.  Maybe you can see a ghost during your visit. Or. . . if you're into hunting, TriOPS Paranormal has ghost hunts at Ryan's Tavern. For more information about the ghosts there, www.ryanstavern.com


Ryan's Tavern

Restaurant Manager, Tully Milders, shows my son the elevator. . . the haunted elevator.


Far booth, left side  - an apparition has been seen sitting here. 

The basement cellar - shadows and noises are heard here. A cart has rolled across the floor on its own. 

At the far end, staff have seen faces in the mirror. 

The upstairs, in process of renovation, where business owners would live. There have been shadows and booms in the right back corner.

This is the hallway where a shadowy form has been seen. Toward the front is where Skyline and Goldstar Chili once housed a business. 



Ryan's Tavern

Upstairs pub


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