No matter where you live in the country, there’s bound to be a murderous tale tied to a restaurant or bar in your state. These locations, which range from seedy watering holes to oceanfront seafood buffets, are defined by their storied histories of death, horror and tragedy. Some were even the favorite haunts of a few convicted serial killers.
Whether they’re the places where serial murderers picked up their victims or simply local hangouts where they plotted their next slayings, these are the 10 bars and restaurants made famous by killers like Ed Kemper, Andrew Cunanan and John Wayne Gacy, Jr.:
1. The Last Resort Bar: Aileen Wuornos
On January 9, 1991, cops arrested serial killer Aileen Wuornos at The Last Resort Bar in Port Orange, Florida. Wuornos was apparently drinking a beer inside the biker hangout when cops picked her up on an outstanding warrant for weapons possession. Days later, she confessed to killing seven men after they picked her up hitchhiking. The bar is still up and running, and it even has Wuornos’ mugshot hanging from the ceiling.
2. City View Tavern: Charles Manson
Cult leader Charles Manson frequented City View Tavern in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to Cincinnati Magazine. On multiple occasions, Manson apparently threatened to jump off the bar’s deck after taking a few shots of tequila, and some locals say he actually did throw himself off the ledge. The owners decided to stop serving tequila to prevent Manson from coming in, and the policy has been upheld to this day.
3. Dante's: Ted Bundy
Serial killer Ted Bundy would often have drinks at Dante’s, a University District bar in Seattle, Washington. According to The Seattle Times, Bundy’s first victim, Lynda Ann Healy, was reportedly seen at Dante’s the night she went missing on February 1, 1974. The college bar went up in flames in 2015. While Dante's website states that it has plans to reopen, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted the city plans to demolish the property.
4. The Jury Room: Ed Kemper
Serial killer Edmund Kemper III, a big figure in Netflix’s “Mindhunter,” threw back drinks at The Jury Room bar in Santa Cruz, California. According to SF Weekly, Kemper chatted and was friendly with local cops, who nicknamed him “Big Ed.” Kemper even told them he would have joined the force if he hadn’t been over the height limit. (He stood at 6’9” and weighed more than 280 pounds.) The bar, located right across the street from the Santa Cruz Courthouse, is still open and pouring booze for off-duty officers.
5. Margarita's Place: Richard Ramirez
Before his arrest, Richard Ramirez (dubbed the Night Stalker) often ate at Margarita’s Place, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. In 1985, a waiter told The Los Angeles Times that Ramirez always came in alone and “looked like he was scared of something.” A cook from Margarita’s Place also said Ramirez “seemed worried about something” whenever they made eye contact. The 24-hour eatery is still serving up tacos at the edge of Skid Row.
6. Ambassador Hotel: Jeffrey Dahmer
Serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was known to pick up most of his young victims at gay bars in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The majority of the bars he frequented have been closed or demolished in recent years, including Club 219 and C'est La Vie. But The Ambassador Hotel, where Dahmer committed one of his earlier murders, is still open for business, and its hotel bar-lounge is apparently known for its Old Fashioneds.
7. L&L Tavern: John Wayne Gacy Jr.
L&L Tavern in Chicago, Illinois, is rumoured to have been a local hangout favored by John Wayne Gacy, Jr. The serial killer, who dressed up as “Pogo The Clown” for children’s parties and fundraising events, allegedly showed up to the bar one night wearing his clown costume and makeup. Today, L&L Tavern is still a dive bar that boasts $2 cans of PBR.
8. Flicks Bar: Andrew Cunanan
Serial killer Andrew Cunanan, known for the murder of fashion mogul Gianni Versace, often frequented Flicks gay bar in the Hillcrest area of San Diego, California. According to Vanity Fair, Flicks was Cunanan’s favorite hangout, and some of the bar’s regulars from Cunanan’s time still drink there today. FX’s true crime drama “Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” even featured a stand-in bar for Flicks in the series.
9. Waterfront Tavern: John Allen Muhammad
The Waterfront Tavern in Bellingham, Washington, has apparently been visited by various murderers over the years, including Ted Bundy, Kenneth Bianchi and James A. Kinney. More recently, John Allen Muhammad, one of the men convicted in the 2002 D.C. sniper attacks, was said to have hung out at the bar. “I don't know, we just seem to attract them. This town is full of drifters, but even so, Muhammad didn't look right to me. Little did I know," a bartender told The New York Times in 2002.
10. Lonnie Franklin Jr.: John's Incredible Pizza
The Grim Sleeper, otherwise known as Lonnie Franklin Jr., was attending a child’s birthday party at John’s Incredible Pizza in Buena Park, California, when an undercover detective posing as a busboy swiped Franklin’s dirty dishes and sent them off for DNA testing. Two days later, on July 7, 2010, police announced the DNA was a match, and Franklin was arrested in connection with murdering 10 women. The pizza joint, similar to Chuck E. Cheese’s, is still serving pies and running arcade games.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.