SpookyEasy Lounge celebrates its soft opening at its new location, 1909 N 15th St., on Thursday, Sept. 1, although the party will probably continue throughout the weekend.
Self-proclaimed as the “Most Haunted Kava Bar in the World” the gothic lounge will occupy both floors of the historic building, which offers more than enough space for themed parties, game nights, film screenings, and other types of events the venue's come to be known for.
The upstairs area—which will live at the space last occupied by "Bar Rescue" restaurant The Loft—will be designated for kava, tea, coffee, CBD and delta-8 and boast more of a laid back, lounge-type atmosphere, while the basement (deemed the "catacombs") will offer a full service bar with signature cocktails. SpookEasy co-owner Evan Christopher tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that the two areas will be completely separate, as kava and alcohol can cause health problems when mixed together.
Coffin tables, skull glasses, crystal ball centerpieces, tombstones, candles and skeletons are SpookEasy’s go-to decor, and employees will be fully gothed out as well.
A small food menu is planned alongside extensive drink offerings, with casual bites like wings, burgers, fries, sandwiches and hot dogs. Sandwiches and other breakfast options will be offered in the morning, but its kitchen will remain open until closing time (which can be as late as 3 a.m. on weekends.)
SpookEasy first debuted above Stone Soup Company in Ybor City in fall of 2018, and remained at its flagship location until last summer, after it suddenly closed due to zoning issues. Christopher and his team spent a lot of time and money getting its second location above Mama Rosa's Pizza and Ybor Supermarket open, but then encountered the same issues as they did at SpookEasy's original spot.
"At both of those locations we had problems getting the city to change the use of the space from residential to commercial," Evan Christopher explains. "We poured a lot of money into renovations and lawyers for nothing, really."
The popular lounge was then supposed to re-open at 1823 E 7th Ave., above dive bar Boneyard, before it secured the former Loft space a few blocks away. It's been a constant struggle to find the perfect spot in Ybor City, but the SpookEasy team finally secured the ideal space for all of their spooky endeavors—and it also comes with a bonafide haunted status.
Christopher tells CL that there are several accounts of ghost activity at their new Ybor City space, and that it's even been a regular stop on the official Ybor City ghost tour.
The Loft owner Lisa Lawson—who was recently featured on the popular show “Bar Rescue”—can also vouch for the building's haunted status, as she has experienced encounters with spirits herself. The Loft’s last day in operation was Sunday, Aug. 21, but SpookEasy’s team has been renovating the downstairs area for the past few weeks.
The SpookEasy will bring the historic Ybor City building back to its roots, as the space was previously home to The Social and Flirt nightclub before Lawson's Cerealholic Cafe opened in 2019. Lawson describes the SpookEasy’s team as “entrenched in Ybor City culture” and states that she will be part of the transition until October.
After its grand opening celebration next week, Ybor City’s new hotspot will be open from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Expect event announcements soon, as SpookEasy is known for its Monday movie nights, game and trivia nights, DJs and more.
For the latest information on SpookEasy Lounge, head to its Facebook page and Instagram at @thespookeasy.
UPDATED 8/25/22 3 p.m. SpookEasy's second location (that never came into fruition) was above Mama Rosa's Pizza and Ybor City Super Market, not La France.