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10 restaurants that are literally underground

By: Angela Nelson on Aug. 29, 2017, 12:14 p.m.
Marsden Grotto, South Shields

Photo: Steve Smith/Facebook

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Marsden Grotto, U.K.

The Marsden Grotto in the coastal town of South Shields, England is the oldest facility on this list, dating to the 1780s. The Grotto, as locals refer to it, is built into the face of a cliff and has a bit of a dark past.

It was first home to Jack the Blaster, who worked in the quarry nearby. As Chronicle Live reports, he used explosives to create an opening in the cliff face to build his home. Then he and his wife, Jessie, provided refreshments for a small fee to smugglers who would hide their wares in the dwellings.

Legend has it that one of those smugglers, nicknamed John the Jibber, ratted out his fellow smugglers to law enforcement, and to thank him they lowered him down an elevator shaft and left him there to starve. His spirit is said to haunt the place to this day.

These days, Marsden Beach is a popular spot for dog walking and rock climbing. Visitors say the view is stunning and the area remains a popular attraction. But they add that this pub-style restaurant, which is under new ownership, is not as good as it used to be.