Find escape rooms, virtual reality games, food, drinks and more in Atascadero
—Looking for that next great adventure? Look no further than The Great Escape, a family-friendly, all-around-fun venue located in the heart of downtown Atascadero.
Since opening in 2021, The Great Escape has welcomed thrill-seekers from across the Central Coast and beyond. An immediate favorite of locals, word has spread about this unique escape room that not only offers fun and excitement, but also serves up food, wine, beer, and cocktails.
“We have it all here at The Great Escape,” said Owner Bill Murrieta. “Our motto is ‘Come Escape Life Awhile’ and we aim to offer the best service possible while ensuring an elevated experience for our guests.”
A graduate of Cal Poly SLO and retired commercial pilot, Murrieta’s career took him to various locations across the globe where he discovered the appeal of escape rooms during his travel downtime.
“My friends and I have been to multiple escape rooms and I learned over the years what appeals to people,” Murrieta said. “I visualized bringing this type of entertainment to the Central Coast and making it even better than any other rooms I’d experience. Essentially, I wanted to create a sort of all-in-one venue with food, beer, wine, and tons of fun.”
And that’s exactly what he’s accomplished with the help of his amazing crew. The entire staff is dedicated to ensuring each guest has an unforgettable adventure and leaves wanting to come back for more.
“When somebody leaves our doors, we want them to say, ‘That was the most incredible experience I’ve had in a very long time.’ That’s been our goal from day one,” he said.
Escape rooms and virtual reality
Whether you want to try stopping a mad scientist in Dr. Chadd O’Nay Goes Mad or finding a bank robber’s loot in The Hideout, the rooms at The Great Escape offer a slew of challenges. The rooms have a capacity limit of six people, with Murrieta stating four as the ideal number.
With most escape rooms, once you’ve completed it, you’re done and it’s not much fun to try it again. That’s not the case at The Great Escape.
“The rooms here change so the way you get out – or escape – can be different every day and the difficulty level also changes,” Murrieta said. “So, one day it’s dialed back to the difficult level and the next it will be set to very difficult. We keep things exciting around here!”
Adding to that excitement are the virtual reality (VR) games. Choose from five different options – Top Golf and Nature Treks are recommended for beginners while Red Matter, The Room: A Dark Matter, and Escape Legacy: Ancient Scrolls are hits with intermediate level players.
“Virtual reality is gaining in popularity, especially with the kids,” Murrieta said.
Food, beer, wine
The Great Escape is the perfect place to spend time with friends and family over a plate of nachos or a glass of wine. With food that satisfies the younger crowd and more ample offerings of food and beverages for the adults, there truly is something for everyone on the menu.
“After completing the escape room, most people want to sit down and talk about their adventure,” Murrieta said. “We have the ideal place to do this while enjoying an appetizer or meal together.”
Murrieta and his crew strive to use the freshest local ingredients and highest quality products available. The family-friendly menu includes appetizers, finger foods, a charcuterie board, and more. Popular items include the nachos, mini corn dogs, tater tots, and a tri-tip chili made from a 40-year old family recipe. Desserts include a homemade brownie, corn bundt cake, and cheesecake.
“I think we have the most family-friendly menu in the area,” Murrieta said. “These are foods people love and most are simply nostalgic, fun foods. Oftentimes, a family will come in, the kids play a virtual reality game while the parents sit nearby enjoying an appetizer and a glass of wine.”
A limited number of cocktails are available, including a “breakfast in a glass” Bloody Mary. As a sommelier, Murrieta takes pride in serving guests a rotating selection of local wines and beers in addition to unique offerings from around the world.
Want to plan a date night? The Great Escape is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening – food, drink, and tons of fun. Plans are underway for themed activity nights, and options are available for team building and special events.
Bring the entire family or enjoy a date night at The Great Escape, located at 8115 El Camino Real in Atascadero. Find more information and reserve your time slot at thegreatescapeadventure.com or call (805) 703-1452. Check for updates, specials, and more on The Great Escape on Instagram and Facebook.
—By Meagan Friberg