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Unlocking clues and solving puzzles is at the heart of the escape room experience, an entertainment trend that took off in Denver about three years ago. But there’s one puzzle we still haven’t been able to solve: Where are the drinks? And the food? You walk in with your group, enter the themed room, solve the clues and escape—or fail to do so, and leave. There’s no space to celebrate, or commiserate, or simply catch up with a beer in hand after an hour of intense collaboration.
Tina Ronder and her husband, Vic, had the same question, and they decided to answer it themselves with Solutions Lounge & Restaurant Featuring Escapology, the city’s first combination restaurant/bar and escape room. It opens in Five Points on Friday, October 6. (Escapology is an Orlando-based franchise; the Ronders are launching Colorado’s first location.) The two halves of the establishment will operate together, but you aren’t required to experience them that way, meaning you can visit the escape room and grab dinner, or just stop by for happy hour and not test your brain power. (We suggest experiencing both).
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The seven escape rooms—two of which are not yet open to the public—are professionally furnished and incredibly detailed. They range from the Western-themed “Arizona Shoot-Out” and cybercrime-focused “The Code” to the “Budapest Express” (coming soon), which takes place on a train (video screens will display the “scenery” passing by). Some will eventually change to new concepts. “The games are difficult in a good way,” Tina says. “They [Escapology] want people to be able to get it—or get really close.”
Food and drink are not allowed inside the escape rooms, but your team can commemorate your success (or lack thereof) with chef Darian Blackwell’s cheese-centric menu. Raclette will be melted and served tableside, and the selection of salads and sandwiches has something for everyone, including a Pimento cheese BLT. The beverage menu features almost all local beer, a wine selection, and cocktails and mocktails tied to the seven themes. The full food and drink menu will be available in the dining room, bar, patio, and escape room waiting area.
The 6,100-square-foot, steampunk-inspired space—think gears as wall art, camshafts repurposed as door handles, and old pressure gauges and piping used as decor—was designed by Arrow B Architecture. It once housed the former owner’s Porsche collection. The building spans most of the block, part of a new development at 22nd and California streets that also houses Woods Boss Brewing Company and, eventually, the second location of Habit Doughnut Dispensary and Carbon Cafe & Bar—another hybrid concept that’s won the hearts of Denverites.
Solutions’ grand opening party will be held on Friday, October 13, from 5 to 8 p.m., and on Friday October 27, the venue is also hosting a steampunk-themed Halloween party; anyone in costume can purchase two games for the price of one (valid Monday through Thursday) and receive a free glass of house wine, beer, or a signature cocktail.
If you go: Solutions Lounge & Restaurant Featuring Escapology is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday. The escape rooms ($32 to $34; book here) are recommended for those 10 and older.
2220 California St., 303-653-9183