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Driskill Hotel tops list of Texas' most haunted spots, among six other Austin digs

The Driskill Hotel is among six haunted places in Austin. (CC)

Austin's got some serious spook factor: The capital city boasts a slew of haunted digs to send a year-round shiver down your spine—including the most haunted spot in Texas.


Austin's Driskill Hotel topped Yelp Texas' Top 20 list of the most haunted spots, with the Driskill Bar clinching the No. 2 spot. Four other local properties made an appearance.

The list, released Tuesday, considered businesses in the restaurant, food, travel and arts categories with a large concentration of reviews mentioning relevant keywords like "haunted," "spooky," and "ghosts." It then ranked those spots using a number of factors including total volumes of reviews and ratings.

Here's how the city's creepy properties landed on the Lone Star State's list of frightful destinations:

No. 1 The Driskill Hotel

It may seem only fitting that the state's most haunted spot has a storied history. Determined to construct "the finest hotel south of St. Louis," Missourian cattleman Col. Jesse Driskell built the infamous Driskill Hotel in 1886. Located at 604 Brazos St., guests have long reported supernatural activity there, including alleged poltergeist sightings and encounters with the spirit of Driskell himself.

No. 2 The Driskill Bar

Long known as a power meeting spot for politicians, the Driskill Bar lies within the hotel itself. But it turns out the rich mahogany wood, plush chairs and live piano music aren't enough to mask the spook from its haunted hotel counterpart.

No. 3 Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

This southern cocktail bar, located at 303 Red River St., began in 1852 as a trading goods store, before expanding with a saloon and domino parlor. In 2003, Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill opened its doors, though it evidently still has strong ties to the past (and spirit world)—it's said to be haunted by people killed in a flood in the early 1900s. It's been said customers dining in will feel tapping on their shoulders or air blowing on their neck.

No. 5 Clay Pit

The celebrated contemporary Indian restaurant, at 1601 Guadalupe St., is located within the historic Bertram Building, named after German immigrant Rudolph Bertram. The building's cellar is allegedly haunted by a murdered prostitute's spirit, and one Yelp reviewer recalls "a sudden dizziness, nauseousness hit me like a ton of bricks" when he entered the upstairs rooms previously inhabited by the Bertram family.

No. 13 1886 Cafe & Bakery

This quaint Victorian-style café's traditional Texas comfort foods may not be enough to keep the scary at bay. Just like the Driskill Bar, the 1886 Cafe & Bakery sits within the Driskill Hotel's haunted walls.

No. 15 The Tavern

At 922 W. 12th St., The Tavern used to operate as a secret brothel in the 1920s. When one politician was caught there, local legend says he murdered the head madam's daughter Emily in retribution. Her spirit is said to have stuck around, sending kitchen drawers flying open and switching TVs off in the dining room. According to Austin Monthly, a pair of shoes were found buried within the walls during renovation in 2006, which the bar then put on display as evidence of Emily's continued presence.

The full 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

Popular

‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”

Austin's 7 Best Indian Restaurants

We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.

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