Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

King Arthur's Sword Turns a Spot in Baldwin Into an Entertainment Destination

IQ Escape's new South Hills escape rooms elevate Crafthouse Stage & Grill and Legacy Lanes.




photos courtesy iq escape
 

Suburban centers of entertainment are forever trying to get patrons to stick around all day.

On the simple end of this spectrum are sports bars that urges guests to watch a full day of football or March-Madness games (an interesting idea, but a very quick pathway to dropping $200 on wings and beer); the extreme end involves establishments, such as the bygone Latitude 360, which create a monolith of entertainment offerings under one unsustainable umbrella.

The sweet spot is hard to hit, here — it’s very difficult to offer a variety of theoretical fun under one roof without costs spiraling out of control and quality dropping. Yet, a multifaceted structure in Baldwin pretty well nails it.

And a pair of escape rooms are the difference-maker.

Tucked on a hill off of Curry Road, you’ll find the Crafthouse Stage & Grill, the Legacy Lanes bowling alley and the South Hills outpost of growing escape-room business IQ Escape. Separately, they’d all be fine; the former would be an above-average sports bar, the bowling alley would be a perfectly acceptable group of lanes and the escape rooms would be among the best of the local offerings (if a bit quicker than some of the more challenging games).

Together, though, you’ve got something, here.

Arrive on a Saturday or Sunday in the late afternoon. Rent some shoes and play a couple of games; you’re not that good at bowling (no one really is), so you’ll have a good time but not be compelled to keep at it for more than an hour or so. Have a round or two from the in-alley bar as you play.

Next, head to IQ Escape’s territory at the far end of the building. Two rooms are open right now: “The Pittsburgh Job,” a tongue-in-cheek mystery surrounding Andy Warhol; and “Excalibur: The Untold Story of King Arthur,” a beautifully presented medieval puzzler.

I’ve written about IQ Escape — which also boasts a satellite location in State College, Pa. — before, detailing a PM staff trip to their flagship last summer in After Dark and lauding their ambitious time-travel game in this year’s Best of the ’Burgh. The uniting theme among the outfit’s games is an inventiveness and narrative backstory that goes beyond the norm; while many similar businesses are more focused on the puzzles than the setting, IQ Escape wants to show off their inventive side.

That’s clearly present in “Excalibur,” the game I sampled. A massive round table sits at the center of the room, with crests and swords for each of the legendary knights hung on the walls. I won’t offer any spoilers, but the effects and secrets found within were immensely satisfying (although a few of the puzzles remained somewhat clunky; the game is relatively new, though, so that’s probably something that will be worked out through further playtesting).

After your victorious (or ignominious) emergence from the escape room, head to the grill for drinks and appetizers. A robust draft beer list accompanies a better-than-expected array of pub grub and burgers; someone in your party should get the nachos. There’s a busy schedule of live music and events here, in addition to the giant screen for your sports-related needs.

Those in your party with an appreciation for a cigar can linger a bit longer for a smoke and some bourbon in Crafthouse’s cigar room, as well. I can easily envision an outing with a large group here running from mid-day until closing time without any sense of fatigue; the urge to linger will not be forced, but rather quite natural in the face of a number of simple things done well.

And if you end up wielding a sword and wearing a crown at some point, so much the better.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Mobile Service To Connect Hungry Pitt Students to Free Food

PittGrub app will send folks in need to events with leftovers.

What's It Like When You Go from Laborer to Being The Boss?

Pitt's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence has been teaching business strategies to startups and century-old companies for 25 years.

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Richard DeShantz steps it up with a move from Downtown to Lawrenceville and shows Pittsburgh how to make French dining fun.

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialties, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG Paints Arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.