The Ale House in Houston

Photo of The Ale House in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Photo of The Ale House in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz

The Ale House

2425 West Alabama, Houston, Texas, Upper Kirby 77098
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The fate of this once-popular watering hole brings up an interesting question: What happens to ghosts when the building they haunt is turned into a parking lot? That's what happened to the Ale House -- a bar with more than its share of local lore.

Originally, it was a farmhouse, then turned into a speakeasy during Prohibition. Some say it eventually became a brothel, but this is probably a little bit of embelishment derived from the fact that in the 1970's it was a "gentilemen's club" bar called Galloping Jugs. By the time of its demise, it had been gentrified into a French bistro, a seafood restaurant, and eventually a homey English-style pub in 1981.

In 1999, work began on a new strip mall nearby. At the end of a three-year legal battle the Ale House was demolished to make room for a parking lot. Which brings us back to the ghosts -- what of them? Three distinct entities have been detected in the Ale House. The most popular were Maggie, the servant; and the Sea Capitain. Some have theorized that the captain killed Maggie, and both were damned to haunt the house. But there is a third, unexplained spirit -- that of a tall, thin woman. Among the ghostly mischief:

  • Guests could hear their names being called from no apparent source.
  • Some guests have reported being pinched when no one was near them.
  • The shadow of a woman was occasionally seen coming down the stairs.
  • The giggles of a young girl could sometimes be heard.
  • Candles would light and extinguish themselves.
  • Glasses would occasionally fly off the racks.
  • Chairs would rearrange themselves.

Quick Facts
  • Construction finish: 1897
  • Renovated: 2001 - Demolished.
  • Type: Restaurant
  • Stories: 3
  • May 22, 1981 - The Ale House opens as a bar.
  • June 3, 2001 - The Ale House closed and was demolished to make way for a parking lot.
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