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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