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New boozy ghost tour, Nightly Spirits, will have you visiting Austin’s haunted bars

Arianna Auber
aauber@statesman.com
A new year-round walking tour, Nightly Spirits, provides ghost stories and drink specials to participants who will explore the haunted side of four local bars.

Is it a ghost tour? A bar crawl? Even better — it’s both. A nationally produced ghost tours company, Nightly Spirits, is now scaring up a boozy good time for Austinites willing to get the willies in some of their favorite watering holes.

Nightly Spirits kicked off this month, just in time for Halloween, with walking tours through four apparently haunted downtown bars. Each tour features themed cocktails, a lively recitation of the “hair-raising history” behind each location and plenty of scares. And each one is also an intimate affair, with only 15 to 20 participants, according to a news release.

You’ll see a spooky side to all four of the places you’ll visit, which include the Russian House, Waller Creek Pub and the Gatsby. The terrifying tours begin on the second story of Buffalo Billiards at 8:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night (and they don’t end after Halloween — Nightly Spirits is here to stay). 

Expect “appropriately attired tour guides (to) cast a spooky spell throughout the evening with their knowledgeable, theatric and even comedic tales of Austin’s other-worldly adventures,” according to a press release. Sixth Street staple Buffalo Billiards, for example, was founded in 1999, but its specter-filled building, dating as far back as 1861, was once a boarding house (and maybe a brothel, too). 

If you find yourself quivering in your boots after each of the ghost stories, make sure to down some liquid courage in the form of a stiff drink. The cleverly named Nightly Spirits offers a la carte drink specials at each location. 

Austin is one of 10 cities where Nightly Spirits has brought its supernatural spin to local haunts, after launching in Washington, D.C., in 2012. There are also tours in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. And they just might show your city in a ghostly new light.

“Whether you’re new to the city or have lived amongst Austin’s ‘others’ for years, I assure you you’ve never experienced Austin quite like this,” Jared Broach, managing director of the tours, said in the release. “Nightly Spirits guides will provide you with previously off-limits access while sharing tantalizing tales in what is a ‘phantomly’ phenomenal way to explore the hauntingly historic annals of Austin.”

Tours are $25 and last approximately two and a half hours, and “spirit sightings” are guaranteed. Book your haunted pub crawl and find more information on the website at nightlyspirits.com/austin-ghost-tour.

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