OUR STORY

AN Austin ICON since 1916

About the tavern

For over a century now The Tavern has been serving Austin locals.

 

Located off twelfth and Lamar, we are Austin's favorite neighborhood pub with dark wood bars, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an expansive, dog-friendly deck. The Tavern is the perfect place to catch up with friends, watch the game, drink cold beer, or grab some of our famous wings & burgers.  

Our rich history, steeped in Austin lore, has made us an iconic part of the Austin community.  Learn more about our story below.

“Every Austinite has their Tavern story, where they met their wife, or sealed the deal, or met Emily, the resident ghost. The Tavern has a place in all our hearts.”
- Shannon Sedwick | Owner

01

HISTORIC
PAST

Established in 1916, The Tavern has been a fixture in Austin culture for over a century.

02

ICONIc
PRESENT

Now owned by Michael Shelton and Shannon Sedwick, of the iconic Esther's Follies.

03

HAUNTEd
HISTORY

Ever heard of Emily? The Tavern is known as Austin's most haunted bar.

 
 

OUR Historic past

The Tavern was established in 1916 as The Enfield Grocery Store, a large and modern (for the time) storefront.  Architect Hug Kuehne  modeled the building after architecture made popular by German public houses of the time. 

 

During prohibition, it is rumored that the establishment became a storefront for a bustling upstairs bar, casino, and brothel.  After prohibition ended, The Tavern was born. 


 

Since 1933 The Tavern has been serving cold beer, hearty burgers, and air conditioning.  You may have wondered why our neon sign touts “air conditioning”.  It is because The Tavern was one of the first establishments in Austin to introduce this modern amenity.  This attracted people from all walks of life to The Tavern to gather for food, beer, and sports. Something we still pride ourselves on to this day.

 

After numerous renovations over the years The Tavern has become an Austin landmark, boasting nearly 5,000 square feet and the ability to accommodate large groups gatherings.

 

OUR ICONIC PRESENT

In February of 2018, Esther’s Follies co-owners Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton purchased the Tavern in order to preserve this piece of Austin history.  In an era of Austinites losing iconic establishments these OG “Keep Austin Weird” advocates couldn’t bear to see another lost.  The Tavern has now joined the ranks of The Velveeta Room and Stars Café as a part of the Esther’s Family of venues.

"We are happy to be part of a rebuilding renaissance with our favorite Austin stalwart... Michael and I have always had a special love of the Tavern."
- Shannon Sedwick | Owner

Michael and Shannon, along with Chef Johnny Romo, have revamped The Tavern menu to focus on innovative pub fare, local craft beers, and craft cocktails.  With a desire to support our local community we utilize fresh, local ingredients, and products whenever possible.  

A HAUNTED HISTORY

The Tavern has become known as Austin's most famously haunted bar.  It's said that our resident ghost, Emily,  has become a staple here at the Tavern and our longest patron... though, if you ask her it was her house first.  She reportedly roams the upstairs playing pranks on patrons.  Many guests have reported being tapped, pinched, or the feeling of being watched by something unseen.  At times you may hear the sounds of footsteps or a phantom pool game. Hazy apparitions and cold spots have also been reported as well as TVs shutting on and off with no explanation.

During a 2003 renovation it is believed that Emily's shoes from her past life were found in the walls of a crawl space upstairs.

 

WHETHER OR NOT you believe in ghosts, there’s something to be said for a great tale.  We've even turned it into a murder-mystery dinner theatre called The Haunting of the Tavern with our owner Shannon Sedwick playing Emily herself!  Come by and hear Emily's story for yourself or join our friend's at Haunted ATX for a ghost tour.

Emily Swag

 

OUR FAMILY

Esther's FOLLIES
Stars
Café

Austin's #1 Comedy Troupe & the nation's longest-running musical revue! Bringing political satire, sketch comedy, and award-winning magic all in one show every week.

Legendary 24-hour diner with a huge breakfast menu & artsy vibe.  Serving up a fun & funky ambiance with great food! Truly one of Austin’s best-hidden gems.

The velveeta
room
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One of Austin's best Comedy Rooms.  The Velveeta Room is going on 28 years of live, uncensored stand-up comedy...see you down at The Velv!