School friends Alex Barr and Lee Porter opened Barr Porter and Thai restaurant Thai Udon Kitchen, in Dean Road, in October 2020 – but since then have made some unusual discoveries.
The pair were told by the building’s previous owner it may be haunted, but thought nothing more of it until a strange photo surfaced appearing to show a ghostly figure in the venue’s upstairs function room.
“We were talking to some of the regulars and just out of the blue one of them said they had a photo taken by a DJ that was here just before Christmas, who was setting up upstairs,” Alex said.
“One of the customers asked him to take a photo of the room and send it to them.
“He was the last in the building when he took the photo and in it you can see a figure at the back of the room.”
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Since then Alex, 52, discovered a secret passageway in the building which he believes was used years ago when it was a gentlemen’s club.
Alex also found a secret room upstairs behind a blocked-off door frame he thinks might have been used by the Freemasons years ago.
Alex said: “We did a lot of decoration and a bit of repair work [last year] and my business partner would stay back late at night through the winter – he said he heard noises upstairs all the time like knocking.
“We’d joke all the time about possible ghosts and things but it’s amazing once this photo came out the amount of stories that regulars have been telling us.
“They mentioned this passageway, so I went upstairs and sure enough it’s there and there’s also a room that is blocked off – it’s hollow behind.”
He added: “If you look outside of the building there is a window to the room.
“When I get some time I might knock the doorway down and have a look to see what is behind it. It is a strange one.”
But far from deterring customers, punters have been keen to explore more of the building – with some even suggesting the venue should host a paranormal event.