I’m not a big drinker. I never have been, even when I dealt blackjack in multiple backwoods bar/casinos and I was surrounded by it. I like a Pina Colada or to shoot back a shot. No in between. I prefer a more leafy green medicine, but that’s beside the point. My point is, I’m not sure why I’m thinking about bars today, namely haunted bars (and one in particular), but we’re gonna roll with it and learn something together because I’ve never heard of this incredible bar and I have to talk about it.
“The Most Haunted Bar in Florida” it’s known as. I have a thing about “most _____” in every state, or at least the state I’m currently living in. And today, I stumbled on a gold mine. “The Most Haunted Bar in Florida”.
Now what’s really surprising about this for me is I’ve written about “The Most Haunted Bar in Florida” before. It seems it’s a title that many bars are grappling for.
So let’s get to learning and see if the bar holds up to the grandiose title.
The bar in question is named the Palace Saloon in Fernandina Beach, and while it might fight for the title of “Most Haunted”, it is officially the oldest bar in the state of Florida.
Located at 117 Centre Street in Fernandina Beach, just outside of downtown Jacksonville, the Palace Saloon started pouring drinks in 1903 and even survived Prohibition (so cool), along with a fire.
And also what has been called “an alleged ghost haunting” by a spirit lovingly called "Uncle Charlie".
A former beloved bartender serving at the Palace from 1906 to 1960, Charles Beresford or "Uncle Charlie" apparently refused to stop doing the job he loved even after death.
I love the spirit. And I just realized what I did there. Neat. According to Florida Traveler: "Uncle Charlie loved to bet patrons they couldn’t toss a coin on the narrow rim of some busts placed behind the bar. Few were successful so Charlie picked up a lot of change to add to his tips. After his death when a new bartender tried to continue the game, a cold chill pressed the man’s shoulders and he called off the game."
Spooky. Additionally, reports say "people started seeing strange human shapes at night at closing. Charlie was said to check the day’s receipts. In 1999 the Palace Saloon was gutted by a fire but Charlie’s room in back was barely burnt."
Wow. Was Charlie protecting the place he called home?
Fortunately, Floridians and visitors love a great ghost story, meaning a lot of success for the Palace Saloon, including a spin-off pizza joint with Uncle Charlie as the mascot that opened to rave reviews.
And with Jacksonville a two hour and 8 minute drive from Orlando (according to Maps), there's really no reason not to go visit this incredible piece of history, grab a drink, a slice, and maybe catch a glimpse of Uncle Charlie himself. Cool
My only question is: Who's coming with me?