GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual social gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let’s put the “Boo!” back into “booze.”
All those who attend will receive a free (square) G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you, without asking the staff about our group.
Taix (pronounced “Tex”) first appeared on to GHOULA’S radar a few years ago, when a strange story was reported to us involving mysterious voices heard in the bar area. According to a witness, on one of the nights when live music can be heard in the bar, disembodied, cryptic phrases came out of the speakers, as if someone were whispering into an unseen microphone. Although, the sentence fragments were in whispered tones, those present felt it was a male voice. Everyone just assumed it was interference from a police radio or a walkie-talkie, so the periodical messages were just ignored, while the performers did their best to continue playing. At the end of the night however, when all the sound equipment was off and unplugged, the (unamplified) whispering continued, and sounded like it was coming from within the room (and was not heard outside of the room). Even though a search for the source of the faint whispers commenced, it was never found.
Taix is one of the few local restaurants that GHOULA occasionally get inquires about (When is “Spirits with Spirits” going there?). Even though, GHOULA first heard about it because of the story mentioned, the ghost that everyone knows about is the full-bodied apparition of a man in a white button-down shirt. This male figure is only seen in the kitchen and basement, and is generally seen in the mornings before the restaurant opens. Who this “man” is (or if its the same ghost whispering in the bar) remains a mystery. Who could this ghost that seemingly shows up to work at the start of the day be?
Could it be a member of the Taix Family? This historic restaurant is not only one of the oldest in Los Angeles, it is one of the few in that group that is still owned by the same family. Originally, Taix opened in 1927 at 321 Commercial Street in downtown, when Marius Taix took over a speak-easy, and turned it into a simple restaurant, serving one thing each day, and using long “family-style” tables. These “pot-luck” dinners, where everyone rubbed elbows, was an instant success. In 1963, the next generation opened a second location in Echo Park and called it Les Freres Taix (“The Brothers Taix”), but most called it “The New Taix.” Although they denied that the business was moving to the new location, within two years the original landmark restaurant was torn down to make way for the Harbor Freeway. Could the ghost be a guardian from the family, keeping an eye on the place?
Maybe its the ghost of Noah Botwin, the man who owned “Botwin’s Cafe” at this Echo Park location before the Brothers Taix moved in. Botwin and his restaurant seemed to always be plagued with problems, from expensive battles with unions to a corruption scandal involving pay-offs for an illegal liquor license, so it would kind of make sense that this notorious figure would be cursed to spend eternity here.
Then again, perhaps the spirit is a former employee still reporting to work from beyond the grave. When the new Taix opened, restaurant reporter, Art Ryon wrote that the Echo Park location had young waitresses, instead of the old men at the downtown location. That said, the new location currently has three men who have worked there for over fifty years. Could the ghost be one of the long line of old men, who have dedicated decades of service toTaix. Or, is it the cursed bartender…
There is a probably apocryphal story of a bartender (in the early 1950s when it was Botwin’s Cafe), who bought Mr. Botwin’s former car at a cheap price because Botwin felt it was unlucky. Botwin had lost a (then) “20 dollar” gold coin inside the car, and could never find it. Shortly after the bartender bought the car, he drove it off of a bridge and died. It is said that when the tow-ruck lifted the mangled wreck, the gold coin dropped out.
So come out and toast one of Los Angeles’ oldest bars, and if you are lucky, and you listen carefully, you may find out who haunts it… if you dare.