The Building of Death in Historic Key West

Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West first opened in 1852.

However, over a century would pass before it became known as Tony’s.

The building’s original purpose was an icehouse as well as the city morgue.

The Building of Death in Historic Key West

Photo credit: flickr/Neal

The Building of Death in Historic Key West

Updated 2/10/2020 – It is said that people were hanged from the tree that grows inside the saloon, and the bodies were then buried underneath what is now the pool room.

Captain Tony didn’t purchase the building until 1958, but by then spirits had long since called it home.

When Savannah first went to Key West, she stopped at Captain Tony’s to see where Jimmy Buffet first got his start.

“I’m not the biggest fan or anything, but it’s great to immerse yourself in a place where a musician first got his start, you know?” she said.

Did you know the paranormal history of Captain Tony’s as well?

“No, I actually had no idea.

I might not have gone in there had I known, actually,” she admitted.

Could you tell us what you experienced?

“Well, I ordered a drink at the bar and was just enjoying my vacation and the general atmosphere of the place.

I had been there for perhaps a half hour when I felt…,” Savannah shrugged, at a loss for words.

“You know how if someone is staring at you from behind, you can sense it somehow? That’s how I started to feel while I was seated at the bar.

I quickly turned to look behind me but I didn’t catch anybody’s eye.

“Nobody seemed to be secretly observing me or anything like that,” she chuckled a little.

“But each time I turned back to the bar, that feeling persisted.

Eerie Cold in the Pool Room

Different people have reported similar encounters here, but each one has been unique in a different way. It's hard to explain.

Photo credit: flickr/welldressedfortheapocalypse

“I did my best to ignore it and kept working on my drink.

After a little while, a guy sitting by me at the bar asked if I would like to play a round of pool in the pool room.

I agreed and followed him into the room.

“The air felt considerably cooler than in the main area of the bar.

I said something about the air conditioner to my new companion, but he just laughed and shook his head at me.

Honey, it’s cooler in here because this place is haunted,” he said.

‘This room is where they used to bury those who died in the city.’

“And that’s when he told me about the crazy history of Captain Tony’s.

We finished a round of pool and I lost, so I told him I would get us a new round of drinks at the bar while he racked,” Savannah said.

“As I grabbed my purse I remembered thinking that even if the building had once been a morgue, there was no way it was cooler in that room because it was haunted.

And when I entered the bar area I saw that a woman with long hair had taken my previous seat.

As I walked she turned to face me, and it became very apparent that while I didn’t believe in ghosts, they certainly existed,” Savannah said, with a grim nod.

How did you know she was a ghost?

“Her face…

“There were no defining features, just…abstraction.

It’s very hard to explain, but once you see a ghost you know what it is.

I was in shock but nobody else seemed able to see her.

“As I stared at her, she slowly inclined her head in acknowledgement of me and began to dissolve as if she were made of smoke.

It was by far the craziest and scariest way to start my vacation in Key West,” she said.


428 Greene St
Key West, FL
United States