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Monday, Jun 17, 2019
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Bars & Spirits

To get to Ybor’s spookiest bar, step through the secret bookcase


Asked to describe his newly opened SpookEasy Lounge in Ybor City, you’d expect EvanChristopher Traver to go with any number of words. "Goth." "Victorian." "Hidden." Even an on-the-nose "spooky speakeasy" would have worked.

His actual response: "Authentic."

"We’ve got ghosts up in this joint," Traver said.

Before the Spookeasy moved in, the owner of 92-year-old brick building at 1919 E Seventh Ave. noticed a leak coming from a light fixture. He checked an upstairs storeroom and found a faucet running full blast.

"Nobody had been up there," said Traver, who owns the lounge with his wife, Kat Marie Traver. "And when you look at the security footage, the faucet is just suddenly … on."

When he heard about the supposedly paranormal incident, Traver thought, "I can do something with that." That former storeroom, up a flight of stairs in the Stone Soup Co. dining room, is now the Spookeasy. Patrons pass through an entrance hidden by a sliding bookcase. They alert the door man by tapping a hardcover copy of The Bone Vault.

It’s not a coincidence that the Spookeasy feels something akin to the Castle, Ybor City’s famous goth nightclub just two blocks away. Traver owns Nightside Productions, which for the past 10 years has put on some of the Castle’s largest annual events.

The bar serves kava and kratom tea drinks with names like the Morticia, Jekyll & Hyde and Vampire Blood. You can also order beer and cocktails and food from Stone Soup Co.’s menu.

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