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Great escapes

September 28, 2016
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Bangor Escape Rooms owners Adam Weaver, Jim Weston, Chris Ford and Bev Weaver at their new Hammond Street business on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Bangor Escape Rooms owners Adam Weaver, Jim Weston, Chris Ford and Bev Weaver at their new Hammond Street business on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. (edge photo by Kevin Bennett)

Bangor Escape Rooms opens its doors

BANGOR You're in an unfamiliar room. You might be with friends or family or even perfect strangers. The door shuts behind you and a clock starts running.

You have 60 minutes to make your escape.

That's the conceit behind Bangor Escape Rooms, a business bringing the booming escape room trend to the area. They can be found at 1528 Hammond Street in Bangor, known to many as the former location of the Pilot's Grille restaurant.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, it's pretty simple. A group of people are placed into a room usually built around some sort of theme and the door is shut. From there, the group must solve a series of puzzles and piece together clues that take them down the path to a solution. Said solution must be worked out within a set time limit; solve it in time and you escape.

The quartet behind Bangor Escape Rooms consists of Jim Weston, Chris Ford, Adam Weaver and Bev Weaver. The group took their own enthusiasm for escape rooms and turned it into a business. They had their grand opening on Sept. 24 and already have three separate rooms up and running.

It might sound difficult and it is, by design but you shouldn't worry about it being TOO difficult. While the general aim for a harder room is a 30 percent success rate and 50 percent success for an intermediate room, your good time doesn't depend on winning; it's far more about the process.

'We want you to have as much fun as possible,' said Chris Ford. 'Even if you don't get out, we want you to get close.'

Each room has its own theme. There's the Inheritance Room, where players must follow clues to track down the inheritance left to them by their deceased great-aunt. There's the High-Stakes Room, where you get trapped trying to bust up an underground gambling ring and have to escape before the mob boss arrives. And there's the Haunted Locker Room, based on a supposedly true story from a high school in Nebraska.

(It should also be noted that Bangor Escape Rooms has plans for an advanced room one with an anticipated 95 percent failure rate for the hardcore players, but there's no timetable on its completion. It's an idea with a lot of moving parts and they're not interested in launching it until they have everything just the way they want it.)

All of these rooms aim to give the people of Bangor an entertaining and fun challenge.

'There's nothing here like this,' said Bev Weaver. 'Bangor needed something like this for entertainment. It's the kind of thing that anyone and everyone can do.'

It has certainly been a bit of a whirlwind for the team. According to Weaver, the entire process from concept to opening took less than two months. And judging from the massive response they have received thus far both physically and through social media, it would seem that they have arrived none too soon.

Obviously, that sort of turnaround wouldn't be possible without a significant degree of cooperation from the City of Bangor.

'The city has been going out of their way to help us move this along,' Jim Weston said. 'They recognize the quality of the effort we're making and the fact that we're bringing something new and different to the area.'

The cost per person is $25. Groups can book time in advance, but walk-ins are also welcome. Each hour-long session is designed for a maximum of 10 participants at a time, but a room can certainly be tackled with fewer. And while filling a room with friends or family is certainly a good time, there's plenty of fun to be had when strangers come together as well.

But what happens when the rooms have been around for a while? Will familiarity lead to more regular players losing interest? Well, it turns out that the Bangor Escape Rooms has already planned for that eventuality.

'The life expectancy of these rooms is generally about three months or so,' said Bev Weaver. 'Once the number of bookings start to drop or we see people solving the rooms too fast, we'll know that things need to change. At that point, we'll revamp things to give people a different experience.'

Escape rooms are proving popular all over the country; it was just a matter of time before we saw them pop up here in the Bangor area. So if you're looking for a different kind of good time, why not head to Bangor Escape Rooms so that you can get locked in a mysterious room with some friends and/or strangers?

Perhaps yours will be a great escape.

(Bangor Escape Rooms is located at 1548 Hammond Street in Bangor. Their hours currently run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, though that schedule is subject to change. For booking or other information, you can visit their website at or find them on Facebook.)

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