Part of Herndon's history, Jimmy's Old Town Tavern sits right at the corner of Elden and Spring Streets, and has been serving our community since 1997. The building was originally built around 1897, and housed the Wilkens and Brothers Bargain Store - a general merchandise store. Since then, it has been a grocery store, sporting goods store, butcher shop, carpet store and a bar.
Now I could go on and on about the delicious food (the wings are incredible!), friendly staff and the relaxed atmosphere, but in the spirit of it being October, I want to talk a little more about this possible ghost (you were probably more curious about that anyway).
Over the years, there have been quite a few unexplained events within the Tavern building - most of them attributed to the resident ghost, affectionately named Walter.
One female employee said that she has had several encounters with Walter, usually in the small prep house (or catering building) next door to the Tavern on Spring Street. That small building belongs to Jimmy's Tavern and is used to store supplies and to prepare foods. At one point in time, decades ago, the building was used by the town undertaker as his carriage house. The female employee said that one time she and two other employees were standing in front of the prep house when they heard a huge crash inside. When they ran in to see what happened, they found several steel steam table trays - which had been stacked and nested on a metal rack - on the floor, arranged in a circle.
Another employee, a male bartender, said a few minor incidents had happened to him that he could "explain away," and he continued to profess that he did not believe in ghosts, untill this happened...
One night after hours at about 3:00 AM, the only three people remaining in the closed building were the bartender and two others who were playing a final game of Foosball.
The bartender was standing by the Foosball machine watching the game when suddenly “something” ran swiftly from the cash register area, behind and past the bartender, and down the stairs to the dining area, where it disappeared. The bartender made sure to explain that he had not been drinking when he saw this. The only way he could describe what he saw was that he saw “brown flannel.”
All the exterior doors had already been locked and the chairs were up on the tables. Thinking that someone was still hiding in the building he searched all over, as employees are not allowed to leave anyone locked in the Tavern after hours. He searched everywhere – the kitchen, the bathrooms, the closets, the crawl spaces, etc., but he could not find anyone. He was about to call the Herndon police to help him search for whomever was in the building. Then he realized the one place he had not yet looked was in the DJ booth. The lights were off in the DJ booth. He went inside the booth and flipped the lights on. No one was there. Suddenly he started feeling very scared for some unknown reason, and the door shut behind him. He didn't shut the door himself. He tried to open the door, but it wouldn't open. The door does not have a lock on it. He said he felt pressure on the outside of the door, as if someone was pushing against it on the other side, but it was not the Foosball players. He said it was like he and whoever was on the other side of the door were having a "pushing contest" for about 20 seconds. A brawny man, he decided to force his way out. He backed up a couple of steps and did a running tackle into the door. He blasted right through the door and landed on the floor, finding no one on the other side.
Another incident is described by a former female bartender who worked at Jimmy’s Tavern for the first ten years that the business was in operation. She and a co-worker were closing up the bar late one night. All the lights were off and they set the alarm. They were both standing outside the front door of the Tavern. Her co-worker started walking off toward his car as she turned the key to lock the front door. Just as she turned the key she saw through the glass door a man inside the Tavern, sitting on a bar stool which was located in front of a small wooden table just inside the door. The person on the stool looked right at her. She described the man as a white man in his 20s or 30s, with an average build and short dark hair. She said his hair was straight with a front bang cut, with the bangs brushed to one side. She said to herself, "we left someone inside!” She called out to her co-worker. He came back over and she told him they had left someone inside, but when she turned back to look inside the bar, the man on the stool was gone. The coworker did not see the man and told the bartender that she must have been tired and was seeing things, but she said, “I know what I saw. We made eye contact. It was creepy.” She said she must have seen Walter.
So whether you come for the food, top-rated happy hour, trivia, open mic nights, poker nights, live music, the famous Friday Night Fish Fry, or hoping for an encounter with Walter - you're always guaranteed to have a great time at Jimmy's Old Town Tavern! If you live in or near Herndon, you've gotta come check this place out. It's one of the many places that makes Herndon such a great place to live.
Check out Jimmy's website to view their menu and weekly events: http://www.jottnew.com/
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.