More importantly on Halloween night, it's also well-known for its collection of ghosts.
So who are these souls traipsing the halls at the oldest continually operating hotel west of the Mississippi? Aside from a multitude of bumps in the night, kitchen utensils that transport themselves, and the presence of people (with no bodies to accompany them), they're the following stories:And if that's not enough...
Sallie White, murdered by her husband and buried at hotel expense by the Menger, has been seen walking in the hotel corridors, especially at night, for many years. She is clad in an old, long gray skirt with a bandana around her forehead and is generally carrying towels, which she never delivers.
Captain Richard King, founder of the King Ranch, appears now and then entering his room, the King Suite. He has been seen by many guests and employees of the hotel. The unusual thing is that he does not use the suite door, but goes directly through the wall. There was a door in the location where Captain King entered his suite many years ago.
A guest steps out of his shower and walks into the bedroom of the hotel. Standing by the bed is the figure of a man clad in a buckskin jacket and gray trousers. To further cloud the issue, this apparition is speaking to someone or something else in the room that cannot be seen. Buckskin asks the question "Are you gonna stay or are you gonna go?" three times.
A lady sits knitting in the original lobby of the Menger Hotel. She wears a dated blue dress and a beret with a tassel. Her glasses are small and metal framed. An employee asks "Are you comfortable...may I get you something?" The lady replies "no" in an unfriendly tone and disappears.
Why the Menger for these supernatural escapades? Built just steps from the battle of the Alamo and only 23 years after its bloody conclusion, the land lends itself to folklore.
Many of us don't see dead people unless we're watching the 2010 Dallas Cowboys play. But the Menger Hotel has seen dead people come and go — and stay.Well, it is a great bar. I wouldn't mind hanging out there after I've shuffled off this mortal coil...
The same can be said about some of the Menger's otherworldly inhabitants. Opened in February 1859, the oldest hotel in San Antonio is also one of the most haunted places in the city, nearly as famous for its ghosts as it is for its mango ice cream, which has been known to make the dead come alive.
The sightings have been reported by Menger guests as well as employees.
Theodore Roosevelt recruited some of his Rough Riders from the Menger bar and is reported to have been seen over the years.
Richard King, founder of the King Ranch, was so fond of the hotel that one room was named the King Suite, and that's where he died in 1885. His funeral service was held in the hotel's front parlor, and he's been seen walking the hallways.
There's also the Lady in Blue who has been seen on the second floor.
Pointing to the elevator, Malacara tells the story of a woman working at the hotel who got on carrying a lot of things and asked a man already in the elevator to press a button for her floor. He disappeared.
The most well-known of the Menger's ghosts is Sallie White, a young chambermaid shot to death in the hotel by her husband on March 28, 1876. The hotel paid for her coffin and grave.
Sightings of Sallie, dressed in a full-length skirt and a bandanna around her head, in rooms and hallways, have been reported for decades.
The hotel's paranormal experiences include seeing images suddenly appear and then disappear; feeling cold spots; experiencing discomfort and fear for no reason; seeing television sets go on and off; and hearing a bell at the front desk ringing by itself even when it was disconnected.
Some images have been captured on film. For years a bust of Countess du Barry from the French Revolution was in front of a mirror on the second floor next to the Renaissance Room. It disappeared in the early 1980s.
Last year, a hotel guest snapped a photo of the mirror. Malacara pulls the picture out of a manila folder. In the mirror is the distinct image of a woman who closely resembles the countess.
In another photo, taken at 2 a.m. in the bar on Aug. 5, 2007, there's the outline of a woman — perhaps Sallie — as well as what appears to be the figures of men sitting at tables.