Nestled within the heart of Houston’s Old Market Square Historic District, La Carafe stands as a captivating blend of vintage allure and modern vibrancy.
Dubbed to be the oldest building in downtown Houston, the iconic structure that houses the La Carafe has stood still since its establishment in 1860.
However, the storied bar offers more than just a selection of fine wines and craft beers; it is widely known to be one of the most haunted bar in the city. It is said that many of its patrons and employees have never left the bar after their passing.
In this article, we will delve into the history behind the haunted bar, and reveal some of the haunting stories that have been retold for the past few decade. So, pull up a bar stool—if you dare—as we delve into the enigmatic world of Houston’s most haunted watering hole.
History of La Carafe
Built in 1847 by developer Nathaniel Kellum, the building that houses the La Carafe first opened as a bakery to serve residents when Houston was still a fledgling city.
Over the years, the building has undergone various incarnations, serving multiple purposes including a trading post, a drug post, and a hair salon. In the 1960s, the building was renovated and renamed to La Carafe. At present, it is widely considered to be the longest-running commercial establishment in Houston that has been in uninterrupted operation.
During the 1980s, the bar became a popular gathering spot for Houston’s iconic skating community known as the “Urban Animals.” Additionally, it’s rumored that Sam Houston, the first President of the Republic of Texas, once stayed overnight at this location in the final years of his life.
In 1979, the iconic building became an official Texas Historic Landmark. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The bar last changed hands in 1988 when it was purchased by Carolyn Wenglar. In spite of the ghostly stories that have sprung up since the 1940s, Carolyn went ahead with the purchase of the building and the business. Since then she has since enjoyed good business and good company.
Today, many visit the bar not only for its historic facade and wonderful atmosphere, but also the ghostly encounters that many have experienced.
The La Carafe has now earned a more haunting reputation. In 2022, it topped Yelp’s list of the Top 20 most haunted restaurants and bars in Texas.
Hauntings at the Bar
Stories of mysterious footsteps, shadowy figures, and even ghostly conversations fill the air, much like the mellow tunes from the jukebox in La Carafe.
One of the most popular apparition is none other than Pamelia Mann, a hostress who once ran a boarding house called the “Mansion House”. She is said to be a lost spirit who now haunts the building, and is said to push pretty women that she don’t see eye to eye.
The ghost of a former bartender named Carl is also widely known to haunt the bar. He is said to manifest his presence through a disembodied voice, calling on visitors for a ‘last call’. Another ghost is known to roam along the bar counter, pushing unsuspecting guests and causing them to spill their drinks.
Apart from the manifestations, visitors have also experienced paranormal events such as unexplained footsteps and lipstick stains on the beer mug.
In spite of all the ghostly stories and paranormal encounters, residents have become used to these peculiar happenings.
In the tapestry of Houston’s vibrant history, few places are as enigmatic as La Carafe. As one of the city’s oldest continuously operating commercial properties, its storied past is a compelling mix of history, culture, and otherworldly allure.
Today, its enduring legacy is amplified by whispers of hauntings, tales of spectral figures, and unattached voices that occasionally fill the air.
Whether you’re drawn to La Carafe for its historical significance, its selection of fine wines and beers, or its reputation as one of Houston’s most haunted spots, one thing is certain: you’ll be stepping into a world where the past is not merely remembered but palpably felt!