Savannah, GA 31401
The Pirates House is a wonderfully preserved seaman's tavern built around 1794. Located only a block from the Savannah River, the tavern was a popular meeting place for both sailors and pirates. Stories are told that sea captains frequently shanghaied unwitting seaman from the tavern to complete their crews. Drunken seaman were drugged and carried away to strange ships, bound for unknown destinations.
The tavern was made famous in Robert Louis Stevenson's “Treasure Island". According to the book, Captain Flint died in an upstairs room, shouting with his last breath, "Darby, bring aft the rum." Stevenson's fictional character, Long John Silver, said, "I was with Flint when he died at Savannah."
The Pirates' House was built on a plot of land Oglethorpe had originally planned to become a botanical garden modeled after the Chelsea Botanical Garden in London, England. A small building which later became the starting structure of the Pirates' House was built on the plot of land in 1734 to house the gardener who worked there. This building was deemed the Herb House and is said to be the oldest building in the state of Georgia.
In 1754 the people of Savannah decided the need for the botanical garden was no longer needed. Savannah was quickly becoming a port town. Therefore, The Herb House was transformed into an Inn and tavern for seaman visiting from abroad.
The Pirate's House Inn constantly hosted seaman, pirates and the underbelly of the society and soon developed a reputation that was considered to be a place the general public should avoid.
Many drunken sailors have gone missing from the Pirates' House. Captains that were in need of men often came to the Pirates' House to find drunken, vulnerable sailors. If they went missing in Savannah it would be difficult to find out what had happened to them because Savannah is home to many underground tunnels and the Pirate's House is the entrance to one of them.
The tavern also boasts a very large tunnel in the basement. Originally it was the rum cellar and runs from the Pirate’s house to the nearby Savannah River a block away. Today this tunnel is sealed off at both ends. During the Pirate House’s shanghai history this tunnel was used to run rum and take unconscious men to nearby waiting ships where they were forced to join in the Privateer’s violent seafaring life. The upper floors of the Pirate’s house are no longer used except for storage. It is this area that is considered haunted as well as the basement tunnel. Most feel that ghosts hang around the structure because of its violent history.
Today The Pirates' House is a restaurant which serves fine food in its 15 charming dining rooms. One of the dining rooms was once known as The Herb House.
The Pirates House is also a popular destination for visitors seeking a sighting of one of Savannah's legendary ghosts. They say that Captain Flint still haunts the Pirates' House on moonless nights.