Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes to us again from friend of the site, Keyed Up teammate, and always welcome guest reviewer, Cathy Nanni! We thank her for the great review, and look forward to hearing more from her in the future!
Location: Sarasota, FL
Players: Up to 8 (We recommend 4-6)
Price: $27 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
“Jimmy’s Deli Isn’t As Dry As it Seems!”
Journey back to the roaring 20’s in New York’s prohibition scene. Hunt for a good time at the local speakeasy where you can swing back some hooch and mingle with gangsters and criminals. Escape with the gold before you get caught by the cops or worse….the mob.
Escape Reality really sets themselves apart from your standard escape room. Upon entering, the lobby and main interior are completely covered in purple walls, glitter, and twinkling fairy lights, with pop culture collectibles from all sorts of fandoms scattered everywhere. I felt like I was in geek girl heaven, as it was a total feast for the eyes of this pop culture aficionado.
The owner explained to us that he wanted to create a space where people could come to experience an escape room and then have a fun place to hang out and debrief. After completing rooms, he always wanted to have an area to linger and discuss the experience with his friends and family, but most of the time people had to go their separate ways because there wasn’t somewhere in the escape room to do this. I could really relate, as generally after our team Keyed Up would finish a room, we’d find ourselves standing in the parking lot chatting excitedly about the room. How amazing would it be to have a bar filled with geeky decor and boardgames to hold those conversations in; instead of that boring parking lot? That’s what they’ve done at Escape Reality.
In regards to customer service, the staff was incredibly accommodating. I was only in town for one day, which happened to be their build day and the morning of a big 80’s karaoke event they were hosting that evening. However, they were more than happy to allow us to participate in two of their rooms. Even though they were incredibly busy preparing for the night’s festivities and building their newest room, we never felt anything less than welcome to be there.
I went to Escape Reality with a friend and our young sons. As a teacher and parent, I really appreciated the time the owner took before the room to explain to the boys what a speakeasy was and give them a brief history of Prohibition. After this mini-lesson we were given the option of wearing some period specific costume pieces, something I’ve never seen in an escape room before and really appreciated. The attention to detail in this room was phenomenal. All of the clues and puzzles fit so excellently into a 1920’s speakeasy theme, immersing us into a different time period. You start in a very authentic alleyway and just like the dames and goons of old, you need to sneak your way into the speakeasy. Once inside, you’re greeted by a bartender who serves you up drinks as you search the bar for the hidden gold. The drinks were a fun touch and they even provided soft drinks for our two underage escapers. I love when the clue delivery system fits the theme and the rotary phones used to call for help fits quite well. Every item in the room that looked like it would be fun to interact with turned out to be an integral part of solving a puzzle. Thanks to the non-linearity of the room, there was plenty to do for all players, even if you ended up waiting on someone to solve something, there was enough to look at and take in (while enjoying your cocktail) that you never felt bored.
The initial part of the experience is a narrow alley and only three of us were able to really fit in there and explore, leaving our fourth person kind of stuck by the entrance unable to help out. This would be even more frustrating with additional people in the party. Escape Reality does a good job of spreading clues throughout the length of the alley so there is quite a bit for people to work on, but I can see where being the last one in could leave you feeling a bit left out.
Mafia Mayhem was the most immersive speakeasy/bar themed escape room I have done. The attention to detail in all aspects of the experience was really top notch! Book your boozy speakeasy adventure here!
Full Disclosure: Escape Reality provided media discounted tickets for our team.