The building that houses the Spookeasy Lounge in Ybor City, Tampa Florida’s historic district, started its life as a church. More specifically, it was a church that worked directly with Cuban immigrants that came to Tampa to work in its cigar factories.

The building on 15th street has seen many occupants over the years .. churches, an orphanage, night clubs and, now, a Kava tea bar with a basement that hosts a liquor bar and night club.

The Spookeasy Lounge is themed appropriately as a horror destination. Effigies of popular movie monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein and more adorn its walls and the gothic décor transport visitors to a vibe similar to a European castle. But the owners know there is more to the building. At least 17 spirits haunt the two-story building and co-owner Kat Traver is more than happy to research the history behind the hauntings and invite paranormal investigators in to determine who and what is still residing in the century-old building.

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The Inspiration Behind The Episode


When I worked as a ghost tour guide in Ybor City before the pandemic, I would regularly take my guests to The Spookeasy Lounge – in its former location. The owners were kind, the vibe was amazing, and my guests were always excited to check out the cool décor, which was a mix of gothic-meets-Halloween.

Since the pandemic, the Spookeasy has relocated down the street and now claims a much larger space in a historic building that boasts two floors and a cascade of ghosts that cover every era of the building’s history. I knew I wanted to learn more, and when I crossed paths with Kat Travers at a recent festival in Ybor, she was immediately amenable to my invitation to be interviewed.

Just three weeks after we crossed paths and reconnected, Kat and I chatted over zoom and she was more than generous with her stories of hauntings, paranormal experiences and historical research. Her insight into the building that houses her unique business is invaluable and I know this will be a place I will want to visit and investigate regularly, since it’s close to the Phantom History House B&B here in Tampa.

I hope you enjoy learning about the history of this building, and its 17 ghosts, as much as I enjoyed it. And if you ever find yourself in Ybor City, try some of their tea or hang out for the bar downstairs after dark, and let them know you learned about them from Phantom History.

Spookeasy Lounge Photo Gallery

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