I’m down to do pretty much anything if you can also do it while drinking — especially if it mixes in Houston history, true crime and GHOSTS. JK, I’m terrified of ghosts, but my interest in the drinking, history and true crime won out and I tried Nightly Spirits, a tour group that guides you through Downtown Houston’s spooky past.
This was actually my second Nightly Spirits tour — I did one in San Antonio too! The premise is pretty straight forward: A NS guide takes you to some of Houston’s oldest bars and establishments and tells you ghost stories while you sip on beer, wine, specialty cocktails (some are made just for the tour!) or whatever floats your boat.
The tour starts at 8:30 pm in Public Services, which is actually the first stop on the tour. We hung out and had a drink while everyone arrived and checked in. Then, we went to the back to go over the rules with our guide, Emily. Full disclosure, Emily is my friend, but in my honest (but yes bias) opinion, she was fantastic. You have to have to be quick thinking and witty for a job like that, especially when the costume is a old-timey skirt and corset. Do homeless people (or tbh just assholes) catcall you? Yes. Do you smoothly flip them off while simultaneously continuing your story? Maybe.
Anyways, I don’t want to give away ANY of the bone-chilling stories the tour has, but let me give you a few thoughts to tease you just enough so you’ll want to book your tickets asap:
- First stop: Public Services. This is a really cool bar that I always forget about in Market Square! The bar is in a tower downtown that used to be the Houston Cotton Exchange building. It was turned into lofts later, but the bar is where the trading room floor used to be. Plus, there’s an old lady haunting the bathroom. THAT’S IT. All I’m saying. (Just know it may be more than one person staring back at you in the mirror.)
- Second stop: Dean’s. I love Dean’s — it’s one of my regular Main Street haunts (pun intended). This one has a drink special for us. The Berry Scary is $8 and delicious! I knew Dean’s was an old department store, but I did not know that it was a front for the Houston mafia and that it had the first electric elevator in Texas. Also, didn’t know but will never forget that the old elevator operator still walks the halls and whose spirit totally photobombed my elevator pic.
- Third stop: Hotel Icon. Did you know Hotel Icon used to be a bank? You can see the old vault at reception and, yep, you guessed it, someone died and haunts the vault. This stop had $5 beers and a $9 cocktail of the night. It was our longest stop — you go upstairs and sit down and chill while the guide tells you stories.
- Final stop: We ended at Craft Beer Cellar and they have amazing brisket fries and tons of beers to try. Plus, this one has a friendly ghost that has been known to bring people back to safety, rather than cause any harm. Aw, ghosts, they can be sweet too.
I know, totally lacking on the details, totally teasing you, but come on! You gotta take the tour yourself. And I promise it’s not TOO scary. I totally get freaked out, and yes, I almost cried at the Spaghetti Warehouse picture (ask to see it, but you’ve been warned!) but it’s totally do-able.