Detroit has a spooky side. When you have thousands of abandoned buildings, I guess that’s bound to happen. But maybe the creepiest, spookiest spot in Detroit is one that’s still inhabited.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking about the Two Way Inn, on the corner of Nevada and Mt. Elliott.
For starters, it’s old. Freaky old. It’s owners say it’s Detroit’s oldest bar, dating back to 1876. That’s reason enough for paranormal activity. Throw in the fact it was built by a teetotaler Protestant – P.W. Norris – as a centerpiece of his new town – also Norris – where he promised, the Detroit Post reported, “that no place shall be devoted in whole or part to the manufacture or sale of intoxicating drinks”, well… what do you expect?
Oh, and did I mention that the siding is now aluminum? I’d be rolling in my grave, too!
In fact, legend has it that Norris himself haunts the Two Way Inn, clad in buckskin with a great, long beard, slamming doors and taunting guests with ghoulishly cold drafts. He was, after all, one of those larger than life figures, in my mind the first true superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. He also founded Pioneer, Ohio, and served as a spy in the Civil War, all while raising a family. Why, I’d dare say that’s something you could drink to!
Sorry, P.W. I didn’t mean that, honest.
Norris put a lot of effort into his namesake town. He secured a stop on the new Detroit & Bay City Railroad. He saw to it that there was a plank road heading north of his town to Warren and south from his town to Gratiot Avenue, one of the main routes into Detroit. So it probably rankled him that Norris never quite took off as the grand suburb he envisioned in his lifetime, and really not until the area was annexed by Detroit.
But enough history. The Two Way Inn of today is a quality – if ghost-infested – bar. There’s always plenty of cheap liquor and beer, and the men’s bathroom is stocked with aftershave and mints, so you’re set if you puke. Throw in a pool table, a digital jukebox, food specials, and some cool bartenders and it’s practically paradise, the perfect neighborhood bar in a neighborhood that needs one. The out of tune piano and original wood floor give it rustic look that’ll make you glad you drove out.
Now, now, I know what you’re thinking at this point… is this ghost businesses even serious, or is it just a stupid running gag? Well, I can tell you this: my first time at the Two Way Inn, a box of plastic cutlery mysteriously slammed itself onto the floor and spilled everywhere. Coincidence, or Mr. Norris?
Luckily, every room has more than one exit, making for an easy escape if the tables start flying. Or, like, if there was a fire or something.
‘Spose that’s why they call it the Two Way Inn.