This article is the first in a series highlighting haunted bars throughout the South.
425 West Chestnut Street
The clump of three commercial structures on West Chestnut Street in downtown Louisville could not be more disparate; a delicate Beaux-Arts commercial building stands with an English Tudor structure with an unremarkable and squat building separating the two. The English Tudor building, which seems to be a transplanted British pub, is now occupied by META, one of Louisville’s best-known “upscale dive bars.” The unremarkable building in the middle appears to be occupied by a tattoo parlor, while the tallest building in the group is a strip club.
Opening on December 5 (Prohibition Repeal Day), 2013, META specializes in unique takes on classic cocktails in an atmosphere that hearkens towards sophistication and seediness. META’s location, two doors down from a strip club, and a former strip club, the Show-n-Tell Lounge, adds to the bar’s sense of seediness. According to Thrillist, the spirit of a former dancer remains in the building, perhaps reminding staff and patrons of the building’s darker past. The apparition of this young woman has been seen gliding through the back hallway and some staying late in the bar have reported an uneasy feeling permeating the air. The identity of this young woman is unknown.
In 1912, the Courier-Journal reported on a dinner held at Kerner’s restaurant at this address: “Two dozen adherents of the Prohibition party, half of them women,” met to organize the county’s first Prohibition organization. So, if you encounter a wraith at META, she may be down for a dance or upset at your imbibing.
While I haven’t been able to determine when the building was constructed, there are many clues scattered in the pages of the local paper. A camera shop, Schuhmann’s Click Clinic, occupied the building in the last three decades of the 20th century; while an exterminating business operated here in the latter part of the 1930s. In 1934, a tailor’s shop at this site was the scene of a suicide when a man shot himself in the head in a wash room. Perhaps this poor gentleman’s spirit remains here?
- “County organization is formed by Prohibitionists.” Courier-Journal. 28 April 1912.
- Eigenheer, Michelle. “Let’s all drink with ghosts in Louisville’s most haunted bars.” 17 October 2016.
- Garcia, Carly. “Meta, Louisville’s newest bar, opens on Repeal Day with a vintage French twist.” Insider Louisville. 5 December 2013.
- Hunter, Marnie. “Louisville bourbon bars: Master distiller Marianne Eaves’ favorites.” 3 May 2018.
- Myers, Elizabeth. “3 Things I hope for Meta Cocktail Bar.” Louisville Magazine. 6 August 2013.
- O’Neil, Lauren. “Get into the spirit of the season with four haunted Louisville bars.” Louisville Magazine. 28 October 2014.
- “W.T. Solger, 65, kills himself.” Courier-Journal. 17 March 1934.