New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

As Halloween approaches, we expect to encounter apparitions. Some may think it’s a once-a-year thing, but others know that spirits would never limit themselves to just one day of play. 

Just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, we looked into some amazing date night options that might just include a hint of paranormal activity. What may start as dinner for two could end with a visit from the beyond. Who says a third wheel isn’t fun?

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Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that goes bump in the night!

Beware of the Chair

Fighting over a chair is never a good thing, and you sure don’t want your date doing that at the Old Canal Inn.  In the late 40s, what started as two patrons fighting over a chair ended with both of them succumbing to a heart attack 10 days after the altercation. Fast-forward to the late 60s when two men sat in the chair separately and both dropped dead of a heart attack within three days of each other.

Coincidence or the work of a spirit? You be the judge, but you should know that the ghosts of original owner and a bartender have made multiple appearances. The chair is no longer in commission, but it’s on display as a cautionary tale.

Located in Nutley, the Old Canal Inn boasts some pretty tasty pub fare including their Ruben and their vegetable sandwich loaded with zucchini, squash, tomato and mozzarella. On Mondays only, you and your date can enjoy the namesake “Death Chair Burger,” a beer-battered and fried burger topped with jalapenos, mashed potatoes and nacho cheese. 

Be sure to check out their signature cocktails, including Banana Punch and Le Melon Spritz.

For more information on the Old Canal Inn, visit their website at

Watch Out for the Lake

The Iona Lake House Inn was built in the early 1900s and was rumored to be home to a secret brothel, a speakeasy and a favorite hangout for Al Capone and his pals.

Legend has it that a young employee named Victor noticed the paranormal happenings; items moving, strange sounds and a ghost he referred to as the “Lady in Black.”  One night Victor discovered the body of a long-time patron, fueling his desire to prove the paranormal activity was real. While doing so, he found himself chased by the Lady in Black, causing him to fall to his death. Victor, the Lady in Black and the original owners of the inn are just a few spirits you may encounter at the Lake House Restaurant in Newfield.

And if the ghosts don’t show themselves, you’re at least guaranteed to see some innovative dishes, such as the French onion pork chop with gruyere cheese and caramelized onions over parmesan mashed potatoes, and the short rib mac & cheese with creamy gruyere and white cheddar sauce. Their Monday Night Flight Night offers wine flights and an assortment of flatbread pizzas.

For more information about Lake House Restaurant, visit

Shore Can be Scary!

The Shore House in Point Pleasant is a very hot and happening place for a perfect shore date, but it’s a building with a rich history and perhaps some ghostly residents. Known as the West Point Hotel when it was built in the 1800s, it’s been the scene of several types of paranormal activity ranging from glasses falling to windows breaking and prankster ghosts doing what they do best — scaring mortals enjoying an evening at the shore. Perhaps this is because the hotel basement served as a makeshift morgue following an 1846 shipwreck.

What’s not at all scary is their menu, with simple pleasures like their pork-roll and egg topped Jersey Burger and creative pizzas, such as the Drunken Chicken Pizza topped with crispy chicken smothered in vodka sauce.

For more information on The Shore House, visit

The Romantic Ghostly Rendezvous

When it comes to a romantic setting you can’t beat the ambiance of The Brass Rail in Hoboken. Built in the early 1900s and since restored to its original grandeur, it’s been known to experience some paranormal activity. In 1904, a bride tripped while walking down the staircase, breaking her neck. Shortly after, the groom went to an adjacent room and took his own life. It’s been said that the ghosts of the bride, groom and a few of the wedding guests may appear late at night. Lately they’ve been pretty quiet, but you never know when they may decide to reappear.

One thing that won’t surprise you is how good the food is. Starting with lobster mac ’n cheese or selections from the raw bar is always a great idea, followed by main dishes guaranteed to impress, including short rib au poivre served with gorgonzola whipped potatoes or thyme roasted chicken with bordelaise tossed fingerling potatoes. Saving room for dessert is mandatory with selections including profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and Monster Rum Raisin Bread Pudding.

For more information on The Brass Rail, visit

The Ghosts of Relationships Past

Sometimes the Ghosts of Relationships Past can rear their ugly heads into the relationships of today.  Hopefully you exorcized the post-breakup demons before entering into a new relationship, but if you didn’t it’s never too late to make like a Ghostbuster. 

Remembering that you learned something from the failed relationship is a great place to start. Finding forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a symbol of strength because you’re essentially forgiving them for not being who you thought they were. Doing so will lead to “releasing” the unwanted spirit from your mind, freeing up space to focus on your happiness and new love. Some ghosts are great to have around, but the Ghosts of Relationships Past are the ones that need to be shown the door.

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery.  To learn more about Craig, visit

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date?  Tell Craig all about it at


More Date Night Ideas:

Delightful Delis

Autumn Apple Picking

Cookies Aren’t Just for Kids

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