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” (as it is known), 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 the 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 occupy the first floor. The atmosphere in both spaces is casual, with a funky décor that is attractive to college-age folks, who make up about a third 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 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 students with great food, a banquet room for social events, a happening venue with a variety of music offered, and an ample supply of locally brewed beers. Being in a college town culture featuring a strong folk arts community, and environmentalist beliefs, Humbrews caters to what their patrons want, which includes lots of vegetarian options, locally made tofu, local grass-fed beef hamburgers, buffalo wings and sweet potato fries. The pool table is also popular. 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 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 areas 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. Merchants were becoming wealthy 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.

In 1886, the Arcata townspeople voted to ban Chinese residents from their city, a shameful act of prejudice that must embarrass present day residents. In the 20th century, Arcata became the home of Humboldt State University and environmental groups and causes, and the town gained a new source of income that took the place of logging redwood trees.

By 1987, Humboldt Brewing Company was brewing their famous Red Nectar and Hemp Ale, but by the turn of the century they needed a bigger space for their operation. They moved their brewing operation to Firestone Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California.

In 2003, they had ceased all operations and closed their doors in Arcata, leaving their employees out of a job. In response, they 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, and The Humbrews Next Door Music Venue opened its doors, featuring a variety of live bands and musicians, becoming a big hit with students and locals.



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

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

People who have invested their lives being in business in a special place sometimes like to stay there or visit in their afterlife, watching over the living.




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:

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

Glasses and bar items move by themselves.

Employees who had to close the restaurant and bar over the years often heard the sound of footsteps in empty areas of the building.

Perhaps the owners and staff have felt a friendly male presence, 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, that quite a few personal experiences have been reported. There may have been private psychic or scientific paranormal investigations done.

No hard evidence captured by any paranormal group has been made public. If any were done, they would be categorized as investigations for private clients. The current Humbrew owners told Rich Newman, a paranormal investigator and author of The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide, that their spirit was a former owner/businessman. This may mean that a psychic medium has talked to this spirit gentleman, or that 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

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