Like all good legends, the Bridge Tender defies authentication.
Stories surrounding the history of the bar change depending on who you ask, and the tales get taller with every perfectly crafted cocktail. That’s the way we like it around here. The history of the tavern has been constructed over the years by the ones who have lived it, and who are we to tell them otherwise.
Some people say the bar appeared out of thin air after disappearing in the bay area. Most claim the land was once home to a brothel, who’s madame still haunts the grounds, demanding respect, and control over the radio.
Employees recount the unusual experiences they’ve had, not only in the depths of silent nights, but in broad daylight, among the lively sounds of the living, and possibly not so living patrons. An array of strange occurrences like meddling with music, lottery machines, and even physical touches have all been experienced by those who work and play here.
Just above the seemingly normal appearance of the small town dive bar, a deserted apartment holds the secrets to an unknown past.
The apartment, littered with relics from its past, make it hard to believe life ever dwelled between the walls. The playful shuffle of children’s feet can be heard above on quiet nights. Closing bartenders attest to the eerie sounds that creep through the floorboards while they avoid eye contact with reflections in the large windows that open up to the Necanicum River. Hopeful that it is just their own movement they detect in the glass, but too scared to look. It can be easy to get lost between truth and imagination as the hour lingers near 3 a.m.
But don’t take someone else’s word for it. Come in, have a drink, and see for yourself. If you are really brave, come explore the second floor during the late night Ghost Tours hosted by The Oregon Ghost Conference.
The taverns haunted past piques the interest of paranormal enthusiasts. An facination that original owners, Laroy and Catie Smith have lovingly supported. The Smith’s created a life long legacy in their 43 years of ownership. A legacy the Bridge Tender’s new owners, Derek and Samantha Urbach, intend to honor and maintain through tradition.
One of those traditions, though somewhat new, is participation in the Oregon Ghost Tours.
This March will be the Bridge Tender’s 4th year participating in the ghost tour portion of the conference.
Those interested in saying hello to the madame themselves can tour both upstairs and downstairs in the tavern, as well as an adjoining shop that experiences paranormal activity. Get tickets for the conference and tours here. Just whatever you do, don’t play ABBA!