The building that houses the Moon River Brewing Company was built in 1821 by Elazer Early. It was first used as the City Hotel. Savannah’s prominent and wealthy residents regularly gathered here to share in the fine spirits which were imported from all over the globe. A number of notables people stayed at the City Hotel throughout the years, including James Audubon who was a guest at the Hotel for over six months. The Savannah City Hotel hosted its last guest in 1864, right before General Sherman claimed the city in his famous March to the Sea during the American Civil War.
The building also served as a hospital during Savannah’s numerous yellow fever outbreaks. Hundreds of people, mostly children, reportedly died on the upper floors of the building during these outbreaks, when the building functioned as a makeshift hospital. It is not surprising that child spirits are often seen in the Moon River Brewing Company. In more recent times the building which houses the Moon River Brewing Company has been used as a storage space, an office supply store..and actually sat vacant for almost 20 years until is was purchased in 1995. The Moon River Brewing Company came about just a few years later.
Incidents of Violence
During the spring of 1832, a feud broke out between an undesirable local, James Stark, and the city physician, Dr. Phillip Minis. Things escalated that August at the City Hotel. Stark was drinking heavily and spewing disparaging remarks against the doctor. Dr. Minus walked into the bar, saw Stark and shot him. Later, Dr. Minus said he saw Stark reach for his gun first, and when he went to trial for murder, the jury quickly acquitted him. They were happy to see Stark gone.
Another instance of extreme violence took place in November 1860; Mr. James Sinclair almost met his death at the City Hotel. A resident of New York City, he headed to Savannah, GA, in the hopes of finding work. Locals did not react kindly to the presence of a Yankee in their hotel, and they pressured Sinclair to leave. When he refused, he was drawn out of the hotel by a lynch mob, stripped and beaten close to death. May be a bit dramatic just because he wasn’t from there, but we all know people have been this way since the beginning. Only back then it seems that it was much easier to get away with these types of crimes since the police were non existent or the few around didn’t care to help the man or report it.
Since opening, the staff and customers of Moon River Brewery have encountered many unexplained, and sometimes violent, occurrences. Accounts include bottles being thrown by unseen forces and people being touched, pushed, and slapped by invisible spirits. One prominent ghostly figure is “Toby,” who lurks in the bar’s billiard room where he has been known to push patrons and staff.
A glowing white apparition has reportedly been seen on the restaurant’s upper floors and is believed to be the spirit of a hotel worker who died there in the late 1800s. In the 1990s during an attempt to renovate the building’s third floor, the foreman’s wife was violently pushed down the staircase. Locals say he gave his resignation on the spot and to this day, the upper floors remain in decay.
More and more reports come in as the Moon River Brewing Co. is still open and ready for business. The food actually looks amazing, and don’t forget their micro brews . I would definitely like to stop by this haunted place if ever in Savannah GA even if it’s just to try the beer! There have been many ghost tours and people coming specifically for the spooks or hoping to see a ghost.