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Unveiling the “Scary Room”: Herbs and Spirits hidden in Austin’s Speakeasy Tavern

a set of stairs

In the heart of Austin, Texas, the Speakeasy Tavern is a destination that combines rich history with modern-day charm. This popular stop on Walking Tours of Austin’s Pub Walk Austin and Ghost Walk Austin tours harbors a secret—an elusive hidden room where old-world traditions meet chilling ghost stories. A unique feature of this little known space is the use of herbs on its walls, a practice rooted in folklore to ward off evil spirits.

Historical Roots 

The hidden room at the Speakeasy Tavern is more than just a novelty. It harkens back to ancient traditions where herbs were employed for their protective properties. This practice was believed to safeguard against malevolent spirits, a fitting theme for a venue steeped in mystery.

  • Rosemary: Often hung above doorways for purification, its presence in the hidden room is a nod to its historical use in keeping harmful spirits at bay.
  • Sage: Known for its cleansing abilities, sage is a staple in spiritual practices, believed to expel negative energies and protect the space.
  • Lavender: With its soothing scent, lavender brings peace and wards off evil, creating a serene and protected environment.
  • Thyme: Symbolizing courage and protection, thyme was historically used in various forms, including being embedded in walls.

A Secret Sanctuary 

This hidden room is a special highlight on the Pub Walk Austin and Ghost Walk Austin tours, (, where visitors are invited to explore Austin’s haunted and historic sites. The herbal tradition enhances and affirms the Speakeasy’s haunted reputation, blending historical significance, with just plain goose bumps!:) No doubt, any night out enjoying the nightlife of Austin must include a peek into the “scary room” as it is referred to by employees.

Experience the Mystique 

Participants in one of Walking Tours of Austin’s tours can experience the Speakeasy, and other haunted sites firsthand, and if the hidden room is unlocked…they are welcome to peek inside.

Whether you’re a lover of Austin’s history, a ghost story enthusiast, or just looking for a unique night out, the hidden room at the Speakeasy Tavern promises an unforgettable experience.

So, what makes this hidden room so scary…? For starters, this secret space was hidden from view for nearly 70 years until a recent restoration and expansion unveiled the scary little room. When the boards were pulled away, the herbs were found exactly as they appear today! Furthermore, the room just happens to rest at the exact spot where the beloved firefighter Jimmy Glass perished in the fire in 1916. Many people, employees and guests alike, have reported that Jimmy’s final, desperate scream emanates from that very spot, continuing to haunt the tavern. Is it any wonder that employees have nicknamed this hidden room the “scary room?” It’s a sight you will never forget. Pub Walk Austin or Ghost Walk Austin, they are tours you will never forget!!

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