Haunted Lafayette: Top Notch Bar serves up food and "spirits"

In the small town of Brookston, Top Notch Bar Food and Spirits is taking their name literally.

Posted: Oct 26, 2020 6:32 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2020 5:46 AM

BROOKSTON, Ind. (WLFI) — If you take just a short drive outside of Lafayette, you'll find the small but lively White County town of Brookston. Every day you'll find them serving up food and drinks. A few patrons, however, may never actually leave the bar.

The bar was first a dry goods store back in 1902. A few years later in 1914, it was changed into the Myers hotel.

That's when tragedy first struck. A young girl died of Spanish flu in 1918 while staying there. 

While the little girl is a lesser known spirit at the bar, there's another ghost whose name is known around town.

"Even the regulars do it, you know? TV goes out, 'Bunks doing it,'" Top Notch Bar Manager Lesly Yoder told News 18. "We've had things falling off the bar into the trough."

In 1965 the former Myers Hotel was now known as the Top Notch Bar. In June of that year, a gruesome murder occurred.

"When we bought the place there was actually still curtains hanging from when the man was actually murdered." Co-Owner Maliha Syed told News 18. 

That same night, Lawrence "Bunk" Switzer would be pronounced dead. His former lover was charged with second-degree murder.

Although Bunk's life was taken, some say he may have never moved on.

Yoder told News 18 about a common occurrence around the bar. "It's the ice scoops. One going missing one month. A month later the same ice bin another ice scoop gone."

For the most part, the mood around the bar remains positive. There's one moment, however, that Syed says gives her chills.

"There was a girl working here. She was getting ready to leave and close up. No one else in the building. Police showed up and say "hey IU had called...we're coming to do a wellness check."

Officers tracked the phone's GPS to the bar. According to Syed, officers claimed the person calling was making suicidal threats because of the voices and ghosts coming from upstairs. 

"The phone number, I believe, when we looked it up was an Oregon phone number. Police checked over everything...checked upstairs, downstairs...you know obviously, there was no one here." Syed explained to us. 

Even though this incident was alarming, she told us she's never felt threatened. The staff makes sure to say hello to Bunk before starting their shift each day. 

"Any time anyone comes upstairs it's always like "hey Bunk, I'm coming up!" Maybe that's why nothing's moved when I get up here." Syed said. 

Bunk also makes sure employees know his presence as well. One of his favorite ways is messing with the jukebox.

Syed and Yoder say old songs they don't recognize will randomly come up without explanation.  When News 18 visited the bar for this story, Bunk may have even let us know he was there.

When we went back to the main bar area, the jukebox was turned off. That's something the owner says they always keep on. When they turned it back on, it booted back up much faster than normal. 

Yoder and Syed say although the murder was a negative moment in the bar's history, Bunk's story has become a town tale.

Yoder told News 18 "I love telling new people, like, do you know what happened here in the 60s? You tell them and they just get so excited. They want to come up here."

Next time you go to Brookston, make sure you check out Top Notch Bar. Of course, make sure you say "hello" to Bunk. 

We will tell you the stories of the old Benton Co. Jail Wednesday on News 18 This Morning.

Watch previous stories below:

Pierce Cemetery (2019)

The Fowler Theater (2019)

New York Street Murder (2018)

Amelia Earhart and Hangar Number One (2018)

The Pythian Home (2018)

The Tippecanoe County Triple Execution (2017)

The Lahr House Guillotine (2017)

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