The Speakeasy

7.7 Overall
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To celebrate Black Friday weekend, some members of our Toronto ERA team decided to set sail for a new destination. This time our adventures took us into Columbus… the heart of Ohio! With each new city we visit we’re curious what we’ll see, what we’ll learn, and what the escape room community is like. Our second stop was Escape IT Grandview, another new offering to the Columbus region and the escape room industry as a whole. The owner of Escape IT Grandview decided to try his hand at escape room design after many years of working in the IT field (hence the company name). So what did we learn as we tackled their first room “Speakeasy?”

Starting from first impressions, we were worried. Escape IT Grandview’s location is adjacent to a restaurant with the main entrance recessed from the main road, so it’s hard to spot. Be sure to approach slowly if you don’t want to pass it by. Those who have mobility issues should be advised you’ll need to use stairs to access the lower level of the building. As we entered the office space which doubles as a control room and lobby, we continued to notice a bunch of little things missing like refreshments, snacks, thematic company branding, etc, etc, etc. That feeling of worry kept increasing and we started to assume we’d be making a long list of helpful recommendations for our host by the end of the day. The owner and designer of Escape IT Grandview was very friendly however so there was a little glimmer of hope moving into the first of two rooms… The Speakeasy.

Wait, what’s going on here? The room is AMAZING! The room quality wasn’t just good it was exceptional! We’ve seen many ‘speakeasy’ themed rooms across North America, but this could very well be the most impressive at first sight. Real wood, metal, and other building materials were used in the design and props. Impressive layout and use of space. Props that fit within the theme and the time period… etc, etc, etc. The audio on one of the props was a bit off, but given how impressive we enjoyed every little thing, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. We could easily go on about the little things that impressed us; it’s definitely not what we expected, but now we were excited to be here and ready to play!

Was the immersion any less impressive? Nope, it was also incredible. A great soundtrack, good use of theme, a story that was engaging with reminders of our mission throughout, and even a couple little surprises to delight any seasoned enthusiast. If there was one minor improvement needed here, it would be our common refrain for most escape rooms – to develop the story as the game plays along. Having said that, this is one of the few times where we didn’t feel the absence of purpose or story even though it was fully revealed at the beginning. The reminders of our mission through the puzzles, the soundtrack, and the environmental elements were more than enough.

What about the puzzles then? Yup you guessed it, they’re also pretty good. A good variety and amount of puzzles were employed requiring different skill sets from dexterity, to deduction, to observation, to math, to logic… etc. And what’s even better is how none of the puzzles seemed out of place or out of context. They blended into the scenario and the room perfectly. Did we also mention how inclusive most of the puzzles were? Yup, you’ll get that here also. Again, if there were one thing we would’ve liked to have seen it would be a team-building puzzle that requires two or more people working in synch in order to accomplish a task. Another thing that stood out to us is how the room seemed to be ideally balanced for groups which have a variety of experience levels on their team. Additional puzzle paths are added to accommodate for larger groups, which is great to hear and reminded us of another famous Ohio location we visited earlier this year…

So let’s talk about fun and our recommendations… Should you visit this room if you’re an enthusiast? Yes. Should you visit this room if you’re a group of new players? Yes. Should you visit… let’s just jump ahead shall we? Yes, Yes, YES!!! The Speakeasy is a must for everyone! It can easily be enjoyed by group sizes from 3-8 and even if you’re not fully engaged in the puzzles, the atmosphere and design alone will have you impressed! As it stands right now this room makes our top three most enjoyed rooms in all of Ohio! It’s right up there with Houdini’s The Oval Office (in Cincinnati) and Escape Rooms By FrankNicky’s Trapped In The 80’s (in Sandusky). We enjoyed it THAT much and we know you will too!

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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