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We Went Down to Captain Tony's

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

On July 17, 2016 we traveled down to Key West, Florida and one of the locations we had to stop in and visit was Captain Tony's Saloon. Quite an interesting place to visit and full of items that could cause a potential haunting.

The building housing Captain Tony's Saloon has a history as colorful as the town of Key West itself. When first constructed in 1852, 428 Greene Street was an ice house that doubled as the city morgue.

In the 1890s, it housed a wireless telegraph station. The telegraph's most important utilization came in 1898, during the Spanish–American War. The battleship Maine was destroyed, as the news came from Havana to Key West and it was reported all over the world from this building. In 1912, the building was home to a cigar factory.

Later, it was a bordello and a bar popular with the Navy until it was forced out of business. After that, it became several speakeasies, the last of which was named The Blind Pig, specializing in gambling, women, and bootleg rum. Captain Tony's Saloon is located at 428 Greene St, Key West, FL 33040.

You can find out more about Captain Tony's Saloon in our following video.

The bar has been patronized through the years by many well-known artists, writers and celebrities. In fact, an interesting feature of the bar is that when any celebrity visits, a bar stool is added with that patron's name. You will find bar stools painted with the names of famous people such as Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Jimmy Buffett, Shel Silverstein, John Prine, and even John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman, among others.

Above the sign outside the building is a large Jewfish that Captain Tony caught and had preserved. It is said that if you throw a quarter into the mouth of the fish, good luck will follow you until you leave the island, of course, we gave it a try.

There are many items left in the bar by visitors who have been there in the past, from bras to dollar bills, when you walk inside and look up, you will see a vast collection hanging from the ceiling.

Captain Tony's is the bar is where Jimmy Buffett got his start in Key West. Buffett played Capt. Tony's in the early '70s, and was often paid in tequila. Buffett immortalized the bar, & Tarracino (Captain Tony) himself, in his song "Last Mango in Paris". On occasion, Jimmy will make surprise appearances at the bar, but only performs at his own place around the corner called Margaritaville Café.

As for the paranormal activity and why this location could be haunted, well at one time the build served as a morgue. In the pool table room, you can actually see tombstone in the floor where some bodies are buried and within the stone walls there are bottles that legend has it that they contain ashes of those who have passed. It is also believed that the tree that is in the bar was used for hangings in the past and at the base of the tree is the head stone of Reba Sawyer. Legend has it that her husband found out that she used to sneak off to the bar to meet with her lover, so he decided to bring his headstone and leave it at the bar. Of course, Reba is now buried somewhere in an unmarked grave. You can read about more of these stories and interesting talks on our Captain Tony's Saloon page.

There are several reports of strange occurrences happening in the women's restroom at the bar. The manager on duty actually told us a few stories while we were there as well, so Marianne decided to go into the restroom and do a quick EVP session while we were there. We will make the audio recording of that session available for our supporters on our Patreon page.

Have you been to Captain Tony's? Would you like to visit this location sometime in the future? If so, please let us know down in the comments below.

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