FROM ESCAPE ROOMS,  virtual reality games, poker nights, a murder mystery dinner theater, comedy shows and all day/everyday happy hour, Escape Reality Downtown is literally an adult playground. The full bar and lounge lure those seeking a different kind of night downtown—to drink craft beers and cocktails with multi-generational video games, mobile activities and mind-boggling challenges at their fingertips. Slide a 360° VR headset on and experience interactive environments—simulated or augmented—like flight action game Ace Combat and rhythm slashing game Beat Saber, or travel the planet’s topography with Google Earth. If the surrealness of virtual reality is too intimidating, step over to the retro arcade area. Environmentals like pinball, hunting, racing and dancing games invite you to feel like a kid again, as do coin-operated cabinet machines offering 1,300 nostalgic titles such as Donkey Kong, Ms. Pacman, Defender, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Metal Hawk. Lest we forget, the escape rooms. “We know people love the unique mysteries and the immersive real-time adventure aspect of Escape Reality,” says Owner Suzan Ponte. “But we did it a bit differently this time.” Instead of “breaking out” of the typical escape room, the mission here is “breaking in.” An old-school bank vault built into the back of the building becomes the puzzle for two unique games, The Inside Job and SafeCracker, to
be played either separately or competitively with two different groups. “It’s a race to the finish to see who gets the cash and who takes the blame,” explains Ponte. And it all can be done with a pint of liquid courage in hand. “Our whole mission is to get adults to stay and play,” she says. “Downtown already has so many great places to eat, drink and be seen, but there’s got to be more of that, ‘Let’s do. Let’s Play.’”

Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.