Don’t get shanghai’d while munching on your Ghost Pie.
Old Town Pizza & Brewing has been a beacon among revelers (and pizza lovers) for decades. But its colorful, rambunctious past goes beyond the counterculture hippies of the 1970s and goes deep [underground] into Portland’s dark and dismal past.
Built in 1880, Old Town’s taproom now sits in the Merchant Hotel’s lobby. The window where you place your pizza order is the original reception desk. Everything that was once old meets the new here at Old Town Pizza & Brewing, and that doesn’t just include the building. It seems as if something otherworldly is mingling with friends and family enjoying their ales and Margherita pizzas.
When the hotel was constructed at the end of the 19th Century, it was part of Old North End, the dodgy part of town. It was built on top of Portland’s infamous Shanghai Tunnels, and prostitution was offered at the hotel. Many believe Nina (Old Town’s own ghost) was one of the working girls who had been sold into the sex trade… and she’s never left the place where she met her grisly end.
While you’re sitting in the Merchant Hotel’s former lobby, it seems only fitting to order a pint of the Shanghai’d IPA. Besides the fact that it has won multiple awards over the years (including a few golds), it’ll remind you that you are sitting directly above the Shanghai Tunnels—one of the darkest pieces of Portland’s history.
Learn more about Old Town Pizza and Brewing’s haunting in The Spirit Guide: America’s Haunted Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries coming July 2020!
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