Reliably Austin
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Streaming troubles? We've made changes. Please click here on for more information.

Want to see a ghost in Austin? Check out one of these 'haunted' spots

The Driskill
Michael Minasi
The Driskill took the top spot on Yelp's list of the 20 most haunted places in Texas.

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

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.

1886 Cafe and Bakery
Michael Minasi
The 1886 Cafe and Bakery, located inside the Driskill, took the No. 13 spot on Yelp's list of the most haunted places in Texas.

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.

Moonshire Patio Bar and Grill
Michael Minasi
Some say the Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill is haunted by the ghosts of people who drowned there during floods in the 1900s.

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.

The Clay Pit
Michael Minasi
The Clay Pit is located in the historic Bertram building, which had an underground network of tunnels that led to other bars and brothels in the late 1800s.

Clay Pit

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.

The Tavern
Michael Minasi
The Tavern is said to have a resident ghost named Emily.

The Tavern

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:

  1. The Driskill — Austin
  2. The Driskill Bar — Austin
  3. Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill — Austin
  4. Menger Hotel — San Antonio
  5. Clay Pit — Austin
  6. Miss Molly’s Hotel — Fort Worth
  7. Monteleone's — El Paso
  8. The Emily Morgan Hotel — San Antonio
  9. The Adolphus, Autograph Collection — Dallas
  10. The Alamo — San Antonio
  11. Jefferson Hotel — Jefferson
  12. The Tremont House Hotel — Galveston
  13. 1886 Cafe & Bakery — Austin
  14. St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel — San Antonio
  15. The Tavern — Austin
  16. Faust Brewing Company — New Braunfels
  17. Faust Hotel — New Braunfels
  18. The Esquire Tavern — San Antonio
  19. The Crockett Hotel — San Antonio
  20. VFW Post 76 — San Antonio
Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
Related Content