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Austin’s Haunted Speakeasy Bar

a store front at night

Now a bustling three-level tavern host to a number of live music performances and celebrity guests, Austin’s Speakeasy had its start as an actual speakeasy during Prohibition in the early 1920s —but its true history goes back even further. The bar resides in the heart of downtown Austin, inside of the historic Kreisle Building, constructed in the 1870s. During the turn of the century, the area was once a thriving and busy business district. But in 1916 it became the site of a terrible tragedy, that would make it one of the most haunted bars in downtown Austin.

a group of people on a stage

The Tragic History of Austin’s Speakeasy

On July 23, 1916, around midday, witnesses reported hearing explosions coming from the Kreisle Building’s location. Soon afterward, the entire building was engulfed in flames. Thankfully, many of the employees in the building’s businesses were able to escape with their lives, but two women, workers of the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company, became trapped in an elevator in their attempt to escape and perished in the blaze. Notably, the fire also claimed the life of firefighter James Glass. His would be the first death of an active duty firefighter in the Austin Fire Department, which had been established only a year prior.

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Is the Speakeasy Haunted?

Nowadays, the Speakeasy is a vital part of downtown Austin’s exciting nightlife. But visits may be more exciting than some patrons have bargained for. Several people have reported seeing apparitions of two women or hearing screaming and cries for help. Employees have also been victim to all manner of poltergeist activity, such as getting locked in closets or bottles dropping and breaking on their own. Whether historical or supernatural, the Speakeasy has plenty of stories to share.

Join a Tour for More Spooky Tales

Join our five-star guided Ghost Walk Tour for a firsthand look at the Speakeasy and its intriguing history. Or, if you would like a deeper look into the building, explore it with us while enjoying a drink on our Pub Walk Tour.

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