Prefer to dine with supernatural companions? No, we’re not talking about Family Business Beer Company (whose co-owners are the stars of television series Supernatural) — these five establishments in Austin are supposedly haunted.
Here is Eater Austin’s guide to the city’s haunted restaurants and bars, complete with a womanizing ghost at a downtown historic hotel who paid a visit to a pop star to a brothel owner haunting a downtown basement bar. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, these spots offer a unique look into the city’s history.
604 Brazos Street, Downtown
The Driskill is so famously haunted that it offers its own ghost tours during the fall. Ghostly tales include two brides committing suicide in room 525 ... decades years apart, and Colonel Jesse Driskill, who built the hotel in 1886, roaming the halls leaving the inexplicable aroma of cigar smoke (just ask singer Annie Lennox, who reportedly encountered him).
Regardless, the Driskill Bar is a fine place to relax with appetizers or a drink—perhaps a Corpse Reviver? — in classic Texas cowboy style.
303 Red River Street, Downtown
The casual Southern restaurant’s private dining building, the Sunday House, was built in the mid-1800s, and with a lot of history comes a lot of ghosts. Moonshine even has a section in its employee handbook about supernatural occurrences, which include tapping patrons on the shoulder, creepy noises and encounters, and objects inexplicably moving. Other than ghosts and a look at historic Austin, the restaurant offers comfort food fare like chicken and waffles and blackened catfish.
214 West Fourth Street, Downtown
This basement bar is in a building that used to be a brothel owned by Sally Dagget and Blanche Dumont in the late 1800s. Employees and patrons have reported feeling a presence, from fingers on their neck to flickering lights (there’s even a short video about their experiences). Spookiness aside, you can grab a nice cocktail and admire the century-old brick walls and whiskey barrels from local distillers.
922 West 12th Street, West End
This West Austin sports bar is not only a place to watch rival sports teams meet their demise: the Tavern has been open since 1916, and was rumored to be a brothel and speakeasy during Prohibition. It’s haunted by a ghost named Emily, who reportedly taps patrons on the shoulder or causes eerie happenings. A pair of old-timey girl’s shoes were found in a crawl space during renovations in 2003, reinforcing the idea that Emily was real (the footwear is now on display in the Tavern). The bar, which is owned by the people behind Esther’s Follies, plays into the haunting with a murder mystery dinner series.
1601 Guadalupe Street, North Side
The Indian restaurant by the Texas State Capitol is located in a historic Bertram Building, which was built in 1866. It was previously a trading post, established by Rudolph Bertram. Legend has it that Bertram’s young son died in his room on the second floor, and his ghost reportedly haunts the restaurant’s private dining room.
Want to look at some of Austin’s culinary ghosts? Here’s a running list of all the restaurants that have closed this year.