A Spooky Evening in Bradenton at the Haunted Tavern

September ushers in the spooky season. To kick off the season’s creepy mood, I joined some spirits at the Haunted Tavern in Bradenton. The 90-minute pop-up, interactive event is equal parts history, entertainment, and with each round of cocktails, lots of eerily fun.

A text I received earlier asked guests arrive 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. show as it will start promptly. Abiding, my friend Viv and I arrived at 6:45 p.m. and quickly found a pair of seats in the front. Others attendees chose to pregame either at the bar or enjoy their cocktails in their socially-distanced seats. Mood music played as we sat in the mostly-dark function space of the Urban Loft of Manatee Central staring at an alter. Chatter in the room was loud with anticipation as a soundtrack appealing to the supernatural played.

Eerie Tales and Cocktails Make a Fun Evening

As the clock ticked closer to 7 p.m., servers with ghoulish macabre makeup and dark clothing handed out the first of four beverages. Called “Doctors Orders,” the shot included a plastic syringe of strawberry puree.” The server mumbled something as he handed it to me. I have no clue what he said but guessed we were to wait before drinking the shot.

Soon after 7 o’clock, the slender tavern keeper sauntered up to the alter and he was our storyteller for the evening. He spoke slowly and purposely with a Southern drawl, reminiscent of the Low Country. Or N’awlins. The important thing, he instructed us to take our shot.

The evening consisted of four eerie tales, all with ties to the Bradenton and Southwest Florida area. Following each story, specialty cocktails were served. And as the audience enjoyed more spirits, the engagement level increased.

Viv and I with the Tavern Keeper/Storyteller for the Evening During the Haunted Tavern Pop-Up Experience in Bradenton, Sept. 2021.
Viv and I with the Tavern Keeper/Storyteller for the Evening During the Haunted Tavern Pop-Up Experience in Bradenton, Sept. 2021.

Yeah, Go Ahead and Book that Haunted Tavern Ticket

For $40, the Haunted Tavern was a fun way to spend an evening, learn something, or at least be entertained, and try something new. If you read mixed reviews online, take them with a grain of salt. Forty dollars is a great value for the entertaining evening. Think of it as a ghostly pub crawl. You’d probably spend more than $40 stumbling from pub to pub.

If you attend, be sure to bring cash to tip the servers. Or, you may have an option to tip via Venmo.

Follow Rock Star Beer Festivals on Facebook or eventbrite to see if there’s a Haunted Tavern or Boozy Caldron popping up in your community.

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Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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