In a city like Seattle with a rich history of folklore and coffee, there’s no question that the two are eventually bound to meet. In quite possibly the most intriguing café in Seattle – and possibly the Northwest – patrons can get a glimpse of the city’s ghostly past and see a side of Seattle that not many get to see – all while sampling Seattle’s locally roasted coffee.
“Market Ghost Tours & Espresso” can be found at Pike Place Market and offers daily tours that, well, bring the past to life.
The charming café just off Post Alley has a sordid past of its own. The 142 square foot café was originally an entrance to the public restrooms at the Market. The space was eventually sealed up and closed for decades.
In steps Mercedes Yaeger, the owner, lead tourist guide, barista, and local author, who took the once-creepy space and filled it with aromatics of fresh brewed coffee and rich storytelling in the heart of Pike Place Market.
The story begins nearly a decade ago, where Mercedes poured over historical records, mortuary and death records, and paranormal investigations. She took a previously boarded up place, secured the necessary permits and sealed up the restroom and Market Tours was born. The cafe has been among the hot Seattle tourist destinations ever since.
“Every culture in the world finds ways to share ghost stories,” Mercedes tell me over an espresso she just pulled. “They're meant to scare you, educate you, warn you about place, or share some history of the past.” Mercedes is also the author of the book, Seattle Market Ghost Stories, which is available at her café.
During my visit, of course I had to ask the obvious question: Was their café haunted? Mercedes and her tour guide Jim Pallotta, both pause and tell me that they have felt and witnessed strange things in their café.
“Things have flown off the walls, t-shirts have been knocked down,” she said as my eyes raced up and down the walls for paranormal clues. They tell me that despite the occasional ghostly flare up, they get along “great” with the unseen residents.
Though there is no promise of ghost sightings, you’ll probably see things you never have before. “It’s not just a walking tour. It’s about adventure. The (tour visitors) get historical information while getting entertained,” Mercedes added. “People who worked here, they have no idea of some of the stuff down here (at the market).’
I asked if they get a lot of psychics coming on the tour? Mercedes says yes, but this tour isn’t necessarily about the local hauntings its really about the place, the people, the history…and well, the coffee too. Market Ghost Tours & Espresso serves Caffe Vita and are possibly planning on highlighting other local roasters too.
“It's creepy when you think about the different eras this space was in use. It opened in 1908 and the city saw so many big events after; influenza, murder, drugs and crime along with the average joe stopping in for a pee. You often hear stories of bathrooms being haunted. Our tiny shop probably has a lot of stories to tell.”
Perhaps this is just another example of coffee being a facilitator in creating and developing great stories that we can share and have fun with. My recommendation is come by the Pike Place Market. Grab a cup of coffee and check out the local haunts at Market Ghost Tours and Espresso!
Market Tours & Espresso
Seniors or Military $14.50
*All subject to change so check back
Market Tours and Espresso Website: Click Here