I think of all the places I have read and/or researched about none made me wonder why someone would name an inn after a body part. In this case, I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, anyone who thinks the Ear Inn was named after a person’s ear would be wrong. It was actually named after a magazine, but lets start at the beginning.
The Ear Inn started out as a home for James Brown (no, not the singer). James Brown was a black man who assisted George Washington during the American Revolution and possibly was pictured in the Cass Gilbert painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. After the war was over, he settled in New York and became successful in the tobacco trade. He later moved to Greenwich and built a Federal townhouse in 1817. Today, it’s one of the few Federal townhouses left in NY.
During the 19th Century, Thomas Cooke brewed beer and sold crocks of corn, whiskey to sailors. It became a speakeasy during Prohibition. It’s also been a boarding house, smugglers’ den and brothel. In 1977, new owners turned it in to the Ear Inn known today.
During its pub days, one particular sailor enjoyed hanging out at “The Green Door”, as it is also known, and even lived in a room above it. He was killed by a car in front of the building and may haunt his favorite establishment. He returns after closing time and startles waitresses. Some customers claim their drinks mysteriously disappear. He may not be the only one haunting the Ear Inn.