Despite widespread rumor, Free State Brewery says Taylor Swift didn’t dine there Monday afternoon

photo by: Ed Zurga/AP

Taylor Swift, right, watches from a suite alongside Travis Kelce's mother, Donna Kelce, inside Arrowhead Stadium during the first half of an NFL football game between the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri.

The rumor spread swiftly, but it was missing the most important element: the Swift.

A large crowd of people descended upon Free State Brewery in downtown Lawrence on Monday afternoon after social media lit up with comments that mega celebrity Taylor Swift was dining at the local restaurant.

But, it wasn’t so, Free State owner Chuck Magerl told the Journal-World.

“We’ve heard that from everyone but our staff,” Magerl said.

photo by: Courtesy Free State Brewing Company

Crowds lined up outside of Free State Brewery in downtown Lawrence on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023 after a rumor that mega star Taylor Swift was dining at the restaurant. Free State’s owner said the rumor turned out to be false.

Magerl said he had been in the restaurant, 636 Massachusetts St., all day and he certainly had not seen the pop music star. He said no server had reported seeing her either, and no one — in retrospect — thinks they served an incognito Swift.

But lots of other area residents were eager to believe that Swift was in Lawrence, following her widely reported trip to Kansas City on Sunday, when she watched new friend Travis Kelce, star tight end for the Chiefs, play against the Chicago Bears.

“The alley behind us was packed,” Magerl said of people staking out a position on the chance that Swift was in the building and was going to leave via the backdoor. “We would be taking out the trash and there would be 50 faces staring back at us.”

Magerl said Lawrence police even called inquiring whether the restaurant needed help in ensuring that Swift could exit the building in an orderly way.

Magerl said the staff of the brew pub first became aware of the Swift rumor when people started lining up outside Free State’s front door, which is not common for a Monday. Upon feeling the situation out, staff members learned about the rumor. After awhile, it became clear why the line had formed because many started seeking answers of their own.

“At first it was ‘is she really here?’ and then it became a little more adamant ‘where is she?'” Magerl said. “We had to deflect a little and say ‘if you can tell us, we would appreciate it.'”

Certainly, having one of the most famous people on the planet dine in your restaurant would have been appreciated too. The fact that it didn’t happen, though, wasn’t all bad. Magerl said it was “a Monday that won’t soon be forgotten.”

Magerl, a fixture on Massachusetts Street, has been around for some big days in downtown, with one of the biggest being when President Barack Obama came to town in 2015. The buzzing crowds were similar, but also different in a way.

Obama’s crowd “didn’t have this giddiness to it,” he said.

photo by: Courtesy Free State Brewing Company

Crowds gathered in the alley of Free State Brewery in downtown Lawrence on Sept. 25, 2023 that mega star Taylor Swift was dining at the restaurant.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.