Toast to the spirits in this haunted bar
The History of La Carafe; The Oldest bar in Houston
In Old Market Square, at 813 Congress st lives not only the oldest bar but the oldest building in Houston. Built by Nathaniel Kellum in 1837 and then rebuilt after a fire in 1859 this two-story wonder has hosted customers for almost 2 centuries. This building built of brick concrete and wood is a local treat for great drinks and great history, and a go-to spot if you ever find yourself thirsty and thinking. After the founding of Houston, John Kennedy became a successful businessman owning many plots of rural land and many businesses as well including the bar we know today. After John’s death, the business was then passed down to his oldest son, who then passed it down after his death. La Carafe originated in the 1860s as the Kenndey bakery, serving biscuits to the confederate soldiers. In 1950 this bar became what we all know today as a bar. However, it also served as a pony express station, a slave market, and a general store. After five generations of Kennedys, it was sold in 1987 to the Wengler family, Caroline Wengler being the president/owner today. Although that’s not without fights from many buyers trying to buy the bar. But, Caroline has refused on multiple occasions stating It’s not her land to sell, she also stated she wasn’t very excited hearing about the entrepreneurs trying to turn it into a law firm. And Happily, Caroline has done a great job hosting and keeping this bar a cozy, mellow, and downright great place to drink.
Even more interesting than the history of this bar is its rumored haunting. Bartenders report bottles falling by themselves, hearing a young child playing with a ball, and even seeing the faces of the previous owners in the window. Multiple patrons have reported a disembodied voice of a bartender at last call. “When you come to La Carafe, you’re never alone. There are always some presences around” States Ted Brown a bartender. But fair warning to those guests who are more courageous as it seems most things happen on the second floor. Patrons report seeing, hearing, feeling upwards of 5 ghosts at a time. And women should watch their step going down the stairs as many have seen a woman in a white dress, and felt as if she tried to push them down the stairs. Today this bar is a hot spot for all those who love everything haunted and a great place for any speculators out there. If you choose to visit, you should bring a deck of tarot cards, an open mind, and some change as they only accept cash. If you’d like to witness a ghost, visit La Carafe, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Written by Eva Beckstrom