Humboldt Brews

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The gentle, unseen presence of a former owner is a kind, caring soul.



In the historic downtown section of Arcata, Humboldt Brews or “Humbrews” can be found in a two story building, that originally had two separate spaces on the first floor for different stores. Humboldt Brews is now in both store spaces. The Humboldt Brews Building, built of bricks and clapboard, is a rectangular building, with a deep interior that goes all the way back to the alley behind it. It has a flat roof with simple dentils just under the roof line. It also has a cool awning over both sections of this building.

The second floor seems to be rented out to a Yoga teacher while the “Humbrews” Brewpub, “Humbrews” Restaurant and “Humbrews” Next Door Music Venue are located on the first floor. The brewpub and restaurant are in one of the store spaces, and the music venue/banquet room are on the other side in the second store space. The atmosphere in both spaces is casual, with a funky décor that is attractive to college age folks, who make up 34 percent of the population of Arcata, because of Humboldt State University. One reviewer described it as being a “divey college bar.” The long bar in the pub is made of beautiful red wood, and the wooden tables and chairs are an upgrade in style to the establishment.

As was often the custom in the 19th century, the building shares a wall with a neighboring restaurant on its left side, part of a row of stores probably built in 1876, when the town was booming. What is unique, is that this building also shares a wall on its right side with the large Victorian Queen Anne Mansion; a long two story structure that sits on the corner of I Street and 10th Street. It is almost as long as the string of buildings it is attached to, nearly to the alley behind.

On their website, Humboldt Brews describe themselves as being “a full family restaurant, brewpub, and nightclub/banquet room.” They try hard to attract the local citizens as well as the college age folks with great food, a banquet room for social events, a happening music venue with a variety of music offered, and an ample supply of locally brewed beers. Being in a culture featuring a strong folk arts community, environmentalist beliefs and being a college town as well, they offer what their patrons want, which includes lots of vegetarian options, locally made tofu, local grass-fed beef hamburgers, buffalo wings and the choice of sweet potato fries. The pool table is also popular with everyone. It is a place where parents can bring their children as well.

They advertise on their website that they have what the patron is looking for: “Great music, delicious food and a huge selection of beers. Humbrews Restaurant, Humbrews Brewpub and Humbrews Next Door Music Venue sure is an entertaining threesome that draws people to downtown Arcata.”



The city of Arcata, California, located along the shore of Humboldt Bay, Oregon, got its start way back in 1850 as a town that supplied the provisions for the gold mines that were located just up in the Klamath, Trinity, and Salmon Mountains to the east. The town was called Union, after The Union Mine Company, until 1860, when it was changed to Arcata. The first streets and residential area were designed by Union Mine employees. In the late 1850s, the milling of the giant redwoods added a huge boost to the city’s economy. Besides being the residential home of workers that were employed by the mines and the logging businesses, merchants were becoming wealthy as well from selling products to not only the mines and lumber interests, but also to the growing population of people who brought their families out to be with them in Arcata.

This economic boom had inspired a merchant/landowner to build his large Queen Anne Victorian Home on the corner of I Street and 10th, connecting it to a row of business buildings right beside it, probably with a door connecting it to the building that now is home to Humboldt Brews. He probably owned the buildings on tenth Street, from I Street to J Street, and leased out the spaces to merchants offering various retail goods or services to the townspeople.

In 1886, way before the formation of the A.C.L.U., or legislation that banned discrimination, the Arcata townspeople voted to make all Chinese residents leave their city. This was a shameful occurrence that must embarrass present day residents. During the 20th century, Arcata became the home of Humboldt State University and environmental groups and causes, giving the town another source of income that took the place of logging the redwood trees.

This row of stores, all connected by a wall between each of them, became the homes to all kinds of businesses that people would shop at to buy items they needed or wanted, as they were part of the downtown business area. In 1987, Humboldt Brewing Company moved into both sections of the building, setting up a bar and tasting room in one and brewing their own beer in the other space. They brewed their famous Red Nectar and Hemp Ale there until 2000, when they needed a bigger space for their operation. They moved their brewing operation to Firestone Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California.

In 2003, they stopped all operations and closed the doors in Arcata, leaving former employees out of a job. So all the employees got together and formed their own company, Humboldt Brews LLC. After remodeling one side of the building, they opened their pub and restaurant in March of 2004. In 2009, they had saved enough money to remodel the long empty space next door, where the former Humboldt Brewing Company had originally set up a brewery for their specialty beers. They opened in this space, The Humbrews Next Door Music Venue, featuring a variety of live bands and musicians; becoming a big hit with the locals and college-age folks.



When people have to leave a beloved place because of circumstances beyond their control, they sometimes like to stay or visit in this special place, not letting the fact that they are dead get in the way!

Perhaps during the 1880s, a Chinese man and family ran a laundry facility in the Humboldt Brews Building, but had to leave his business because of the ban on Chinese people in Arcata.

People who thoroughly enjoy being in business in their special place sometime like to stay there or visit in their afterlife, watching over the living as they try to run a business in the same space.

Perhaps the original businessman owner of the Victorian Queen Anne and the buildings attached to it likes to see how the business is fairing.

Perhaps a former shop keeper or business owner who made his livelihood in the building a long time ago, still wants to hang around and watch others run their business.



Male Entity —

Thought to be a former owner/businessman who has hung around this building for many years.

Over the years, many owners and employees have experienced the following manifestations:

The disembodied male voice has been heard, speaking from the empty dining room areas.

Glasses and bar items move by themselves.

The employees who had the duty of closing the restaurant and bar throughout the years often heard the sound of footsteps in the empty areas of the building.

Perhaps the owners and staff have felt a friendly male presence, perhaps complete with cold spots, observing with a fatherly eye the working of this business.


Probably so, despite the lack of hard evidence. So many people have experienced the same manifestations for so long, there are quite a few personal experiences reported. There may have been a private psychic or scientific paranormal investigation done as the owners have the peace of mind, knowing who in spirit form is with them for moral support.

Over many years, people have made endless reports of the above mentioned manifestations.

No hard evidence has been captured by any paranormal group or been made public. If any were done, it was categorized as being an investigation for a private client to see who was staying with the owners and employees. The current owners told Rich Newman, paranormal investigator and author of The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide, that the spirit was a male former owner/businessman as a matter of fact, which may mean that a psychic medium has talked to this spirit gentleman, or he has talked to paranormal investigators, telling them who he was via an E.V.P. or voice box.

Since the owners know who it is who stays in the building with them, they don’t want to disturb him with investigations from strangers.




Humboldt Brews
856 10th Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Humboldt Brews is located just a 1/2 block west from the main historical downtown Arcata streets, H Street and G Street. Humboldt Brews sits on 10th Street and nearly on the corner of a historic residential area, I Street and 10th Street. 10th Street is located a mere two blocks north of the Arcata Central Plaza, the original center gathering place of early city folk.



  • Ghost Hunters Field Guide
    by Rich Newman
    pg. 30
    Llewellyn Publications
  • Humboldt Brews page on Trip Advisor
  • Humboldt Brews page on Yelp
  • “Historic Arcata” page on
  • Humboldt Brews web site

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in California