Friday the 13th is considered to be a bad day, but instead of avoiding black cats and ladders, why not check out these Los Angeles bars and restaurants that have spooky tales and haunted histories? The guide Gourmet Ghosts — Los Angeles (City Ghost Guides) will give you the scoop — and the numbers of some haunted booths or tables.
Formosa Cafe, 7156 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
Lined with photos of countless movie stars and partly-built from an old train car, this has been a red beacon on the Boulevard for celebrities, mobsters, and even us mere mortals. An old-school favorite for over 70 years, its red leather booths and low lights make it ideal for all kinds of liaisons, though be careful if you sit at booth number 8. That was the favorite of late co-owner (and huge Elvis fan) Lem Quon, and he’s been seen and heard by many members of staff in that very booth, and making sure everyone keeps busy.
Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles
One of the original luxury hotels in Downtown L.A., the Biltmore Hotel opened its doors over 90 years ago and has been a major player in the city’s history. It had a Zeppelin airship hover overhead in 1929 (the crew stayed overnight), but it was most famously the “Hotel Sedgewick” in 1984’s Ghostbusters — Ray, Egon, and Peter caught “Slimer” in what’s now the lobby. Most notoriously, it was also the last place Elizabeth Short was seen alive; the cocktail inspired by her, the Black Dahlia, is a must-try (vodka, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, Kahlua).
La Golondrina, 17 Olvera Street, Los Angeles
Right near the original settlement of Pueblo de Los Angeles, this was said to be the first Mexican restaurant in town and is overseen by the ghost “La Consuela” (or “The Mistress,”) who has been seen on the stairs and on the balcony, which is now in the back room area but used to look out over Olvera Street. Owner Vivien Bonzo is sure there are many spirits here, and she’s certain that the lady is the ghost of her grandmother, who was known as The Queen of Olvera Street.
Basement Tavern, 2640 Main St, Santa Monica
Removed from its foundations and bought here in the early 1970s to form part of historic Heritage Square, this Queen Anne-style building bought along “Delia,” one of its former owners, for the ride. Staff members regularly hear footsteps, see flickering lights and opening doors, and when two of her nieces, visited to take a trip down memory lane, they felt sure she was still in charge. The Basement Tavern bar — look for the big eye on the front door around the back — paid tribute to her by creating Delia’s Elixir (Bourbon, agave, raspberries and lemon) in her honor.
Gourmet Ghosts — Los Angeles is available at independent gift shops and bookstores in L.A., San Diego, Long Beach, and San Francisco, and online at Amazon, Nook, and iTunes. For more information go to the website or learn more on Facebook and Twitter (#GourmetGhosts).