A Historic Gem

Constructed in 1890 and designed by W. E. Boone (a direct descendent of Daniel Boone), this café is one of the oldest operating restaurants at its original location in the Seattle area and possibly on the west coast. When it opened its doors as a saloon, they served five-cent beers to miners waiting to visit the upstairs brothel. Gone today are the five-cent drinks and the upstairs working ladies, but the good old café remains the city’s historic gem.

The J&M Cafe and Cardroom in Pioneer Square. Date unknown.

A New Era

Now in the hands of Darcy, the new owner has taken much pride in restoring the property and business to its natural beauty. Along with obtaining this historic building, she has inherited its ghosts.

On the far back wall hangs the haunted painting known as “oriental dancing girl” by Nathaldi Siehel. This painting strangely revealed its ghostly past to the new owners while being photographed.

Other "experiences"

Another tale that is told among the employees is that of a little girl and boy that haunt the basement of Merchants. A fire in 1938 struck Merchants and took these young lives. Here, many encounter sights of small shadowy figures lurking about and play games on the staff.

It seems one of the most active areas is the downstairs restrooms. Here, many have reported seeing the apparition of a woman, doors opening and closing, and a woman’s whispering voice into gentlemen’s ears. But the ghost stories and experiences continue on, up to the top floor. In one case, a woman was harassed by a male, ghostly predator. But most recent encounters include the mysterious lady of Merchants Café.

All are welcome...if you dare

Merchants Café has survived many obstacles like the Gold Rush, Prohibition, the Great Depression, a fire, and even the changing of ownership throughout her 121 years. Today, Merchants Café’s brochures heighten the aura of naughtiness-past by proclaiming, “Only a mere shell of its former decadence, The Merchants now welcomes women and children.” All are welcome, including the ghosts. If you want to find out more about the ghosts and their stories, maybe stroll through the streets of Pioneer Square and into Merchants Café with a real ghost hunter on the Spooked In Seattle Ghost Tours.