Montezuma Tavern & Haunted Kitchen
The living share this former brothel building
with spunky, mischievous and kind entities.
The entire brick and wood building stands alone, a huge structure with two floors and a basement, with an apartment unit attached in the back. A source said that in early 2020, the building was divided into three business spaces, after years of being just one bar and restaurant.
The brick wall that originally separated the original 1880s bar and brothel, is still there, making it easy to renovate in 2020 the kitchen and restaurant area of the original bar to be a separately owned commercial establishments.
I found the names of two businesses that occupy this building as of 2021. Another source says that a third business also is here, but I couldn’t find its name in any online research. When we visited, the mystery was solved.
The Montezuma Tavern and the Haunted Kitchen have a partnership as a result of the Covid financial challenges.To visit the Haunted Kitchen, the patron uses the Montezuma Tavern Entrance. The Haunted Kitchen still has their kitchen and inside seating in the back as well as having an outside front sidewalk eating area covered by an awning.
The Vibes Juice Bar is the new business located in the Haunted Kitchen’s old commercial space.
The Vibes owners have repainted their front and entrance a light purple. They offer a variety of juices for their health-conscious patrons, and probably something to eat while drinking juice!
There is a staircase on the outside of Vibes’ front door that leads up to the second floor home of two businesses known as Private Tattooing by Unusual Species and The Attic Lounge; which serves drinks and has musical entertainment.
The interior of the Juice Bar has a lovely atmosphere, with nice wooden tables and chairs, restored wooden floors, original wooden accent walls, some rugs, and appropriate decor; all set in a place with nice display cases to show customers what is available for the take-out orders as well.
The doors that were once used by the alluring”working ladies” who entertained and offered sexual relief during the brothel days are probably still there, though a few may be covered up with dry wall. The doors led to the upstairs boudoirs.
To survive the pandemic, Montezuma Tavern and The Haunted Kitchen have worked together to lower their costs and promote their businesses. They share the patio area and take turns hiring musical groups to entertain customers. As of 2021, The Haunted Kitchen Restaurant is cooks all the food for the Montezuma Tavern customers as well.
The back patio is an informal, comfortable space, with patio tiles and enough awnings to give privacy and shade, but not so much as to block a view of the sky. It has a small stage area with electrical outlets, a patio seating area with small round and square tables spaced six feet apart, all covered with plastic table cloths.
Comfortable-looking patio chairs with arm rests are made of cleanable material. Other pictures of this patio show black umbrellas with square tables that seat four. It probably depends on the season what kind of tables and chairs are available.
Montezuma Tavern’s interior was also given a face-lift as well. A Tavern had always been there since the building was constructed and really needed a more appealing look that would blend with its historic features.
“Long gone are the kitschy Johhny Cash photos and the general mish-mash of interior design that was. Now it’s a beautiful, comfy, tavern that is simple and much more refined,” a customer said in a review on Trip Advisor.
Montezuma Tavern is a wonderful combination of new and old decor, and elegance. A gorgeous copper bar was installed that complements the original large, decorative wooden, mirrored part of the bar that sits on a long chest of drawers, extending all the way up to the ceiling; where all types of hard liquor and beer taps are on display.
The patio in back provides the tavern the space needed for customers to sit and enjoy a brew or drink, eat a meal or snack, and enjoy the live musical entertainment on the small stage mentioned above.
Montezuma Tavern specializes in all sorts of beer, wine and the hard liquors as well. The craft breweries are well-represented. There is upscale bar-type food to go along with the beer and other drinks offered. Such beers as Slumber Yard Hazy Angel IPA, Four Peaks KiltLifters, and Oak Creek Nut Brown would be interesting choices for Tom and I!
Montezuma Tavern enjoys business from the local folks who love this historic watering hole, as well as tourists who stop by for a beer and a snack; a welcome respite from tromping around historic Prescott.
In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, this part of downtown Prescott was the area to enjoy the physical pleasures and those amusing pastimes that brought relief; a place to spend the night, with amenities like a bath and having someone do your laundry, being close to places that offered meals, drinking, and perhaps a game of cards, and the chance of imbibing in opium and sexual recreation.
In the late 1800s, this building known as the historic Arizona Hotel, which was infamous for being the home of one of Arizona’s first brothels. Underneath the hotel and other establishments along “Whiskey Row,” there were tunnels which were used for opium dens and laundry delivery routes used by the Asian immigrants who lived in Prescott.
The Vibes Juice business space was once the parlor where men would choose a lady to have a good time with in the upstairs cribs on the second floor. This explains why there were so many doors off the main room, though they may have been covered up with drywall if they were not needed. This would create more space for tables.
After prostitution was finally out-lawed, the space became a restaurant, with the bar right next door. During the 20th Century, many such businesses have occupied this building, serving the locals and visitors.
Coyote Joe’s Bar and Grill moved into this building in 1997 and set up a very successful restaurant/bar/live musical entertainment establishment. The basement area became the home of Coyote Joe’s business office. The main floor housed the kitchen, a restaurant area which was separated from the bar area by a brick wall, a billiard room and a nice patio for outdoor dining and events. The upstairs housed a banquet room, a space for a mini bar and dancing with a DJ, called Annie’s Attic, and a large apartment.
Two other restaurants and bars followed Coyote Joes; Brick and Bones, and Rickety Cricket, but both had a hard go of it probably because of economic factors. In this part of town, this building as well as all the historic buildings found on Whiskey Row had declined into creaky, fixer-opportunity status, that made life hard for everyone who owned a business here.
They needed to change. Younger people preferred the modern area of Prescott, and spent their recreation dollars there.
The owners of this building decided that this building was indeed in dire need of a facelift; a renovation that would attract younger folks and people who wanted something “exhibiting some urban youthful renewal.”
There were three distinct business spaces that could be renewed, so the owners went for investing funds with the goal of getting three new businesses as tenants who could pay rent and provide more stable income for themselves and for the owners.
Interestingly, the Montezuma Tavern that opened on January 25, 2020, is going strong despite the Covid plague. Its owners made a deal with The Haunted Kitchen, who agreed to cook all the food served in the Montezuma Tavern. This arrangement brings more funds into both establishments, and better quality food at a cheaper price. They decided to share the patio area, as well as take turns hosting musical groups.
As of 2021, both the Montezuma Tavern and The Haunted Kitchen are doing well together and have inspired other businesses along Whiskey Row to upgrade their facilities, as this whole street is attracting the crowds once again.
Apparently, some friendly, fun-loving, and mischievous spectral ladies may still be residing in this building. The spirit of an elderly woman may also visit. Do you wonder how The Haunted Kitchen got its name?
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Prostitution has been a risky profession since it began. Women have always been at risk of being killed by men with anger issues, dying from abortions, from alcoholism, or being murdered by jealous clients or boyfriends who claimed them as their own. They have also been prone to having low resistance to deadly diseases because of their life-style, and to catching sexually transmitted diseases.
Molly’s Bed and Breakfast, TX (One prostitute died of a lung disease, and another one was murdered by angry client).
Slippery Noodle Inn, IN (A prostitute and her client were murdered by a jealous second client).
Dumas Brothel Bed and Breakfast, MT (A prostitute who worked in the bargain basement for the frugal client was murdered by a out of control client).
Montezuma Tavern and The Haunted Kitchen, AZ (A prostitute or two could’ve been murdered here while working, or died from a codeine/narcotic-induced abortion).
Typically, Prostitutes looked for the man who would marry them and take them away from their looked down upon profession. If they suffered heartbreak from a failed relationship or didn’t find anyone by the time they were thirty, or if they caught a sexual disease that would lead to death, they commonly killed themselves.
Birdcage Theater, AZ (Women who reached the age of thirty, and still were working ladies, often killed themselves because they had lost all hope of escaping their line of work).
Palace Hotel, WA (The lady in blue who resides here killed herself after the love of her life, a client, changed his mind and decided not to marry her).
Red Onion Saloon, AK (A prostitute hung herself after it was evident that she had caught a sexual disease from a client).
Montezuma Tavern and The Haunted Kitchen, AZ (Some of the ladies could’ve died from suicide).
Most of these spirits are thought to be the women who used to work here and/or the folks who hung out/used the tunnels under the building. Spirits of Former Brothel Ladies are definitely here. An elderly, probably Asian lady also likes to visit, and see the children who come to the restaurant with their parents.
A well-endowed, clear apparition of a woman, dressed provocatively, appeared by the hostess desk, floated through the restaurant area, and continued right through the brick wall into the bar.
More Subtle Appearances
Upstairs, a person would walk into the banquet area, and find it filled with a white, smoky substance, which would disappear immediately.
The living have heard voices, footsteps and seen doors opening and closing by themselves in both the downstairs and upstairs area of this building.
The Spirit of Annie
This spirit was a prostitute who worked in one of the second floor cribs.
She cared about the well being of the owner of Coyote Joe’s and his family.
Into the ear of a relative of the owner of Coyote Joe’s Bar, she whispered a warning of an upcoming fire in the upstairs Annie’s Attic mini-bar and dance floor.
This fire occurred two weeks later on the second floor.
Traditional Favorite Spot; Then and Now
A favorite spot to congregate seems to be the kitchen, much to the annoyance of the chefs.
Various kitchen utensils fly off the shelves by themselves.
The oven has been turned off before the food was cooked.
Kind Elderly Female Spirit
My theory is this is the spirit of an Asian woman who while alive worked in the laundry service for the Arizona Hotel.
She is a kind-hearted spirit with a soft spot for children.
This spirit has been known to give chocolate candy via a vending machine to children when they simply ask for it.
The manifestations listed above were reported when Coyote Joe’s Bar was here. I couldn’t find any new eyewitness accounts of the ladies being there from other establishments who called this structure home.
They probably want to down-play their spirit activity, while the owners of Coyote Joe’s shared the hauntings with at least one book author who wrote about haunted places in Prescott. The original story I wrote was based on a book about hauntings in Prescott, AZ.
I couldn’t find any hard evidence caught that was shared on-line either. Perhaps private investigations have been done to relieve the fear of the employees about the spirits who love this place.
Probably so! Most of the spirits have long enjoyed the bar, the space next door that was their old parlor, and the second floor of this large building. They enjoy playing around in the kitchen area and like to cruise through the wall to the bar. The spirit of Annie is probably still protecting the living from real dangers like fire and is the guardian of the structure.
Some spirits may have left because of the recent renovations, like the removal of the old bar in Montezuma’s Tavern. The prostitutes who worked upstairs are probably still there; unless the spirits have been cleansed from the building. The owners called their restaurant, “The Haunted Kitchen” probably because of the paranormal activity known to happen here.
214 South Montezuma Street
Prescott, Arizona 86303
* CLOSED *
Montezuma Street is one of the main roads which runs through historic downtown Prescott, on the west side of the main court house.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr