Built in 1933, Captain Tony’s was the original “Sloppy Joe’s” in Key West and is said to have been frequented by the great author Ernest Hemingway. It once served as the town morgue and ice house. It is also home to the hanging tree that was used to bring pirates and criminals to justice. Seventeen people are said to have been executed there. The tree continues to claim its prominent spot in the center of the building next to the bar, as the building was constructed around the tree.
It is one of these unfortunate people hanged from this tree who is said to linger there today. A woman who murdered her husband and son was dragged from her bed and lynched at this spot. Today, she is known as the “Lady in Gray” and has been seen wearing the nightdress she had on at the time of her hanging. While excavating, Tony uncovered the remains of 16 bodies, and it is said that when the bar served as a morgue, the coroner buried his daughter there.
Encased in the walls of what is now the pool room are bottles of holy water. Customers frequently report sensing a spirit presence in the women’s restroom. Given its gruesome history, it’s no wonder that this bar is one of the most haunted in Key West.
Written by — Kathy Conder Lead Investigator, Encounters Paranormal Research and Investigation
CAPTAIN TONY’S SALOON
428 GREENE STREET
KEY WEST, FLORIDA 33040
TEL: 1 (305) 294-1838
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