Austin just might be the spookiest place in Texas — at least it’s home to several of the state’s most “haunted” spots, according to a new analysis from Yelp. The user reviews website released its list of the 20 most haunted spots in Texas this week. Unsurprisingly, the Driskill Hotel and Bar tops that list.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill (#3), Clay Pit (#5), 1886 Cafe & Bakery (#13) and The Tavern (#15) also made the roundup.
To gauge “hauntedness,” Yelp analyzed visitors’ reviews of businesses, searching for keywords like “haunted,” “spooky” and “ghosts.” Businesses with those words in their reviews were ranked based on the volume and ratings of reviews. Yelp did not include haunted houses and ghost tours.
The Driskill, which sits on the corner of Sixth Street and Brazos, is Austin’s oldest operating hotel. It was constructed in 1886 by a wealthy cattle baron named Col. Jesse Driskill who decided to spend his fortune to build a luxury hotel in Austin. The Driskill was lauded in newspapers as “one of the finest hotels in the whole country.”
The Driskill family lost their fortune in 1888, after drought and cold weather killed off their cattle, and the hotel was sold. It continued to change hands many times over the years. The hotel has hosted a number of inaugural balls for Texas governors, and it was a favorite spot of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson’s; the couple had their first date in The Driskill Dining Room.
The hotel is also the site of several urban legends — Room 525 specifically. It’s believed that a bride killed herself in the room after her fiancé called off their wedding, and she now haunts the halls in her Victorian dress. A second bride, who was also rejected at the altar, is said to have killed herself in the room in 1991. After going on a shopping spree with her ex’s credit card, she went up to her room and shot herself while in the bathtub, according to Austin Monthly.
There’s also rumored to be a ghost child roaming the Driskill. The story goes that in 1887, a little girl, the daughter of a senator, fell and died on the Driskill’s grand staircase while bouncing a ball. Guests can now hear her ghost laughing and bouncing a ball on the steps, according to local lore.
Col. Driskill is also said to be haunting the place, according to Ghost City Tours, leaving phantom scents of cigar smoke around the hotel. (The Driskill is nonsmoking.)
There’s so much superstition surrounding the hotel, it’s no wonder the hotel’s bar and cafe — 1886 Cafe & Bakery — also made Yelp’s most-haunted list.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill on Red River, is in part of the old Waterloo Compound, a group of some of Austin’s oldest commercial buildings. In the early 1900s, major floods destroyed most everything around the building, killing many. It’s now believed the ghosts of people who drowned haunt the restaurant, tapping patrons on the shoulder and moving around decor.
This Indian restaurant is located in the historic Bertram Building, another one of Austin’s oldest establishments. A German immigrant named Rudolph Bertram bought the building in the 1870s and used it as a trading post. It later became a grocery store and saloon, and he and his family lived on the second floor. The building was thought to have a network of underground tunnels leading to brothels and one that led to the state Capitol. Bertram’s young son and a murdered prostitute are said to haunt the place.
Located off 12th and Lamar, The Tavern was established in 1916 as a grocery store. Rumor has it it was a bar, casino and brothel during prohibition. Since 1933, it’s been a local pub, serving beer, burgers and more.
“The Tavern has become known as Austin’s most famously haunted bar,” boasts the pub’s website.
The Tavern supposedly has a resident ghost named Emily, who roams the second floor and pulls pranks on guests. Phantom shoulder taps, footsteps and pool games have all been reported. When the space was renovated in 2003, her shoes were supposedly found in the walls of a crawl space. The Tavern has taken the haunting in stride, making “Emily swag” and hosting murder-mystery dinner theater.
Here’s Yelp’s complete top-20 list:
- The Driskill — Austin
- The Driskill Bar — Austin
- Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill — Austin
- Menger Hotel — San Antonio
- Clay Pit — Austin
- Miss Molly’s Hotel — Fort Worth
- Monteleone’s — El Paso
- The Emily Morgan Hotel — San Antonio
- The Adolphus, Autograph Collection — Dallas
- The Alamo — San Antonio
- Jefferson Hotel — Jefferson
- The Tremont House Hotel — Galveston
- 1886 Cafe & Bakery — Austin
- St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel — San Antonio
- The Tavern — Austin
- Faust Brewing Company — New Braunfels
- Faust Hotel — New Braunfels
- The Esquire Tavern — San Antonio
- The Crockett Hotel — San Antonio
- VFW Post 76 — San Antonio