People often wonder about escape rooms and alcoholic beverages. They wonder if we serve alcohol here at ConTRAPtions, or if they can bring it with them when they come. (The answer to both is no!) Sometimes people ask how the game play is after a few dinner drinks. (The answer to this one is usually fun, loose, and with varying degrees of success!)
Some bars like the SafeHouse in Chicago are now integrating escape motifs into their venues. Spy themes, secret entrances requiring a pseudo-password, customers solving puzzles in order to get their drinks, and jumping through lasers to exit are just some of the fun things bars are doing to attract the escapist crowd. Other bars have added an escape room next to or above their venue. The two in conjunction sound like a fabulous time if you’re a fan of both! But is this always true?
We’ve had fans who claim that being a little tipsy can up their game in an escape room. In our limited observation, it may up the fun with some added goofiness, but not necessarily the game! This is due largely to the fact that, unlike a well-blended cocktail, alcohol and short term memory don’t really mix. That’s why The Bletchley in London requires its patrons to use their brain power before the drinks are served. Short term memory is a must-have when escaping a room, so here are some best practice tips for combining escape rooms and alcohol:
1. Save the drinks for afterward.
If you are a hardcore aficionado, you already know that you probably won’t be on your best game after you’ve had a couple. Saving the drinks for later while you debrief with your friends about your amazing escape is the best way to combine your adventure with alcohol.
2. If you do dinner beforehand, drink in moderation.
It is possible to have a drink with dinner and still have a successful escape. Alcohol does lower your inhibitions, which may help you loosen up and communicate with your teammates more effectively, especially if you are playing with strangers. It also alters your focus, which could be good or bad. It may help you not to overthink little things that aren’t important, but at the same time you can miss a critical detail. There is a mysterious threshold that is different for every person. Some players know they aren’t doing well because they’ve indulged their buzz a little too much, but the laughs they’re enjoying with friends makes up for it. And as any game master will testify, alcohol-induced laughter and goofiness is immensely entertaining for them too!
3. Whatever you decide, don’t come plastered.
Every escape room reserves the right to kick people out if they are damaging property or people. So please be respectful of the props and other players around you while you attempt your escape! Even if you are a happy drunk and not an angry one (we’ve seen both!), if you start trashing the room and breaking things, expect the game master to ask you to leave. Most GM’s are happy to give you a game voucher to come back in a less inebriated state. Such is our policy at ConTRAPtions, and trust us, you will have a much better time if you do!
4. Last but not least, never drive under the influence.
We all know this, but it’s worth re-stating. No escape experience is worth the risk! So please drink responsibly, and if you’re not OK to drive, give a friend your keys. And there’s always Uber or Lyft! We live in a great age for easy transportation of our intoxicated fellows: with the world in a smartphone and dozens of people willing to earn extra money using their own vehicle, there really is no excuse.
So with whatever degree you choose to combine escape rooms and alcohol (short of drunken rough-housing:), keep it fun for everyone, and remember that your brain is one of your biggest assets, in life as in an escape room!