Friday Night Frights At Market Street Cafe

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

By Randy Trevino | Local Happenings


This story is inspired by The Haunted Portsmouth: Tales of the Boneyfiddle District by Samantha Meadows and Ryan Snyder


The building that today houses Market Street Cafe is a staple on the historic strip in the  Boneyfiddle district. A nighttime walk amongst the towering aged buildings feels like you’re taking a trip back in time.


Today, from inside the Cafe, you may never guess the building holds a colored, if not haunted, past. 


You may not know that in the 1900s, 212-214 Market Street was a frequent stop in "Little Chicago". This was a rightfully earned nickname for the once booming river town. 


Market Street Cafe was home to a popular saloon and brothel. Beer and a full service bath were both popular menu items more than a century ago. 


While visiting, we took a tour of the upstairs. 


Ascending the oversized and aging stairs you get a sense of intrigue knowing you have stepped back a century into the past. 


A peer down from the old windows gives the feeling of looking through a window in time. The upper floors remain unrenovated which allow the rich history of the building to be felt and heard as you walk the creaking floorboards. 


Room numbers can still be found on some of the doors used for guests.


Legend has it that a regular patron of the brothel still makes his presence known today.



It's said that he was a mean and controlling man who liked to treat the women as his personal property. 


As the story goes, fed up with his abuse, the women poisoned the man. With his cries for help left unanswered and feeling the effects of the deadly toxicant, the man stumbled into the hall where it is said he succumbed to death in a small closet. 


Another more friendly spirit also roams at 212-214 Market Street. 


The spirit of one of the working girls from the brothel is also said to remain. Sometimes called the spirit of the yellow room, she occupies room number seven. 

She even makes herself known in the kitchen. It's thought that she lived much of her life at the saloon and we can only wonder if she may have poisoned the abusive patron.  


Today, Market Street Cafe has a reputation of its' own. Delicious food and friendly service mark this place as a must stop in Boneyfiddle. 


Current employees say that spooky things are most likely to happen in the mornings and at night, but if you're lucky, you might just get a spook you weren't expecting, completely free of charge! 

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