422 S 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI

(414) 272-4222

Status: Former Cemetery; Former Speakeasy; Unique Bar, Restaurant and Airbnb



Please Share Your Experiences
Name Your Experiences @ Shakers Cigar Bar Submit

Reader Discretion is Advised: This Article, While Not Graphic, does Contain Descriptions of Underage Sex Workers and May be Offensive to Some.



In 1894 this building was built on a cemetery – it is unclear whether the remains were moved first or not; based on human history with other moved cemeteries my bet would be on not – as well as an orchard.

This being the warehouse district at the time it was originally used as a to hold wooden barrels of Schlitz beer before being transported to customers. In 1905 it was put up for sale and again used as a distribution center.

In 1922 Al Capone bought the building and disguised it as a soda bottling center. In reality it was Speakeasy with easy access to illegal alcohol from Canada – illegal due to the Prohibition – via Lake Michigan.

On the main floor the bar was set up, in the basement a gambling hall and on the upper floors a brothel with plenty of teen prostitutes to complete the immoral and illegal triumvirate. It was run by the mob – not known for their patience or sense of humor – so violence was a nightly affair.

Having numerous underage sex workers kept this location very popular – especially with the businessmen coming to the city for conventions – until 1945. We know of at least one murder but the torture and indignities suffered by these girls are beyond description or imagination.

After the illegal activities were finally shut down the building became a respectable bar providing entertainment and adult beverages for the warehouse workers in this area.

It is rumored that the infamous serial killer dubbed the “Milwaukee Cannibal” Jeffery Dahmer would often come here for drinks.

In 1986 the current owner – Bob Weiss – bought the building and opened up Shaker’s Cigar Bar. He quickly became aware of the spectral residents and paranormal activity in the building and decided to embrace it.

The bar has a distinct 1930’s atmosphere with Prohibition-era drinks and Ghost Tours offered on Friday and Saturday nights.


Paranormal Activity

This location is considered of the 5 most haunted bars and restaurants in America.

Many people who take the weekend ghost tours have genuine paranormal experiences. This location is one of the very rare places where people can safely visit a very active site even without the years of training that experienced paranormal investigators need to have for most locations like this.

Both the owner and staff have uncountable stories of encountering paranormal activity.

Through hours of research Bob – the owner – has been able to identify some of the ghosts that call the building home. Plus, information beyond its really not a good idea to build on old cemeteries and the terrible mistreatment of fellow human beings will result in etheric energy that echo from the past.

Firstly, we have Elizabeth a young girl who fell from an apple tree in the orchard that used to behind the cemetery resulting in a broken neck and death. She tends to hang out in the bathrooms and likes to knock on the stall doors giving people a scare she probably finds very amusing. Some women have seen legs and a pair of 19th century shoes under stall doors.

The basement has such powerful negative energy is has caused physical reactions from the living. The sense of danger and not being wanted is so strong 2 federal officers actually drew their guns while going down the stairs for no reason they could describe – which should give you an idea as to the level of dark energy down there.

One beer delivery guy who entered the basement to bring up empty bottles quickly fled the building when he was done.

Also in the basement is the ghost of man in overalls. He has been seen by people on the tour and is known to respond to yes or no questions by affecting diving rods.

The third floor is now called “The Penthouse” and rentable as an Airbnb. When the current owner took over, he found the skeleton a female in the wall here; she is thought to be a murdered teen prostitute from the Speakeasy days.

Considering her method of death, she’s actually quite harmless, and seems to be just lonely. She will definitely let the living know she’s there. She likes to play with the lights, turn the TV on and off, touch the living guests, speak to the guests, move the guest’s stuff and may cry if you ignore her.

Apparently more than one guest has turned in their keys after staying as little as an hour and a half after checking in.

Other Reported Activity: full body apparitions; shadow figures; unexplained fog appearing over your head; objects moving on their own; feeling as if the building is swaying back and forth; doors opening and closing on their own; disembodied voices; lights and faucets turning on and off on their own; unexplained knocking; a sudden feeling that you are in imminent danger and feelings of not being alone and being watched.