While visiting Pensacola, Florida, you might find yourself driving through a shadowy tunnel of oak trees, headed for what was once Sacred Heart Hospital. As you cruise down 12th Avenue, you’ll notice the looming structure of sandy gray stone, now known as Tower East. Built in 1915, the late Gothic revival building looks more like a castle than a medical facility. After the hospital relocated to another site in 1965, the building has become the home of small businesses, a pizza parlor, a school (Pensacola School of Liberal Arts) and, according to local rumors, a few ghosts.
Housed in the basement, O’Zone Pizza Pub has an old-school charm that differs from your average neighborhood joint. But it’s not just the ambience that draws in ghosts—ahem, guests. There’s a large craft beer menu as well as classic and unique pies. The Ponderosa Stomp, for example, comes with cheddar, barbecue sauce, chicken, bacon, green pepper, diced onion, and honey, with the option of adding cream cheese and jalapeños.
After eating, visitors can explore other parts of the former hospital. The first three floors are open to the public and house display cases filled with antique medical equipment and other curiosities. Black-and-white pictures of nuns in a chapel and surgical rooms hang on the walls, along with an eclectic mix of huge, spooky paintings.
Know Before You Go
If you're heading to O'Zone for dinner, be sure to check out the other areas of the former hospital first. The public areas of the building are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Remember, the upper floors, where there's no electricity and the walls are crumbling, is closed to the public. Ghost-hunters and thrill-seekers: Should you head up there, the family who owns the building might call the police.