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The haunted history of Zambra in Asheville, NC

Most employees won’t go down to the wine cellar alone, and with all the paranormal activity that’s been reported, we don’t blame them.


Zambra’s ethereal (and probably less haunted) patio space.

Photo by AVLtoday

The trendy tapas spot Zambra is revered for its opulent atmosphere, capacious wine list, and genre-bending small plates — but the basement emanates a different sort of aura.

Legend has it, Zambra is one of the only buildings in Asheville to have an exorcism performed in it. Was the ritual a success? We’ll leave that up to you to decide — but to this day, employees say they’re encouraged to bring a second person along whenever they visit the wine cellar, due to reports of creepy paranormal activity.

Joshua P. Warren Zambra investigation

Joshua P. Warren investigates the paranormal activity in the Zambra building, circa 1995.

Photo by Mark-Ellis Bennett

According to longtime paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren, founder of Haunted Asheville ghost tours, employees have reported the following:

  • A tall, dark figure that haunts the place, especially the basement area.
  • Patrons being violently shoved from bar stools by an invisible force.
  • Stoves and ovens found turned on when employees enter in the morning, though the staff is certain these devices were safely turned off the night before.

If that’s not chilling enough, local Redditors have also reported hearing “someone” whispering their names while no one’s around, lit rooms suddenly going dark, and the temperature becoming “frigid cold” in an instant.

Zambra Paranormal Activity

That sure looks like a pentagram.

Photo provided by Joshua P. Warren

In a report shared with AVLtoday, Warren traces the building’s haunted history back to the mid 1990s, when one of the rooms was found to have “ritualistic symbols apparently written in pigeon blood, including a large pentagram on the floor.”

Warren also observed “numerous birds nailed to the walls and evidence of candle drippings.”

At the exorcism that occurred shortly thereafter, “the shaman claimed the dark figure took form and then dove headfirst into a pile of dirt in a small section near the bottom of the steps.” Though the shaman “believed the spirit was gone,” not everyone is convinced.

Are the rumors true? We’ll leave that up to you — but next time we’re munching on a plate of patatas bravas, we’ll think twice before asking someone to grab us a bottle from the cellar. 👀

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