The Ghost of Gooch’s Grillby Cherlyn Gardner Strong on Oct. 04, 2009, under Ghosts and Hauntings, Life, Paranormal
It is an old establishment with a new identity. Gooch’s Grill at 1118 E. Sixth Street opened in July.
Chances are that you have driven by, or maybe even stopped in to the place before; perhaps during one of the establishment’s past lives. Before it was Gooch’s Grill, it was called The Victory Bar. Before that, it was Belushe’s Bar and Grill. Many Tucsonans might still identify the location as The Rhino Pub. The only thing that has remained consistent about the location throughout the building’s existence, is the rumor that a resident ghost lurks inside.
At the risk of sounding cliché, spirits, in more than one sense of the word, are on tap at Gooch’s Grill.
Employees and patrons alike acknowledge the fact that strange things are afoot at the bar after closing time. Bottle caps are flicked by unseen fingers throughout the bar. The swinging saloon style doors that lead up to the second floor office will swing back and forth for no apparent reason. The ghostly figure of a woman appears to some folks. The frequent sound of crying can be heard. Lights turn off or on by themselves. The previous owner of the bar, when it was Belushe’s, witnessed the bar’s televisions operating by themselves. It is a classic haunting.
Property owner Lon Wirtz has always disclosed the fact that the property is stigmatized, or haunted, to each enterprising bar owner who has occupied the property. Now, Gooch’s Grill occupies that spooky space.
Gooch himself states that The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) from the Syfy Channel’s television series, Ghost Hunters, has been invited to investigate the establishment. Whether or not Ghost Hunters’ Jay and Grant will show up to debunk or prove that the place is haunted, remains undetermined at the moment.
The identity of the ghost is unknown. Wirtz believes that before he built an addition onto the property several years ago, that a woman had been brutally raped and murdered on that very spot many years before. It is also rumored that the property operated as a bordello at one time, decades ago.
If ghosts scare you, don’t let this one scare you away from Gooch’s. The entire time I have visited the location over the last 15 years, I have never heard of the ghost emerging from the darkness until closing time or after. Just don’t stay that long. If lack of parking in the UA area scares you, there’s ample parking behind Gooch’s Grill, accessible from the first alleyway behind the building, south of Sixth Street.
Gooch’s offers typical bar spirits, in addition to the unique paranormal variety. Food is available and I’ve never been disappointed with my meals. Nachos, burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers are all available at Gooch’s. Stop by for lunch, happy hour, or a night out.
More often than not, you might find Gooch himself at the bar, chatting with his customers. Occasionally, you might even find me on the front patio of the bar, gazing up toward the second floor window, hoping to lock eyes with the ghost.
Though her identity is unknown, the ghost likely has grown accustomed to nicknames over the years. She can now be referred to as: Gooch’s ghost.