Word surfaced over the weekend that horror-themed Monsterland Bar & Grill in Mesa, which shuttered back in January, will awaken from its long dirt nap and become reanimated in late August.
Here's the rub: Per its owner Kevin Wynn, however, the haunted house-like establishment -- which formerly functioned as a Halloween attraction, as well as a restaurant, bar, and nightclub -- will serve mostly as an event space, at least for the time being.
For those who haven't kept abreast of Monsterland's ups and downs over the past two years, it first opened in downtown Mesa as a two-story haunted house and horror movie museum in September 2011. Wynn then transformed a chunk of the property into a bar and grill (which still left room for all the spooky creatures and Halloween-style attractions) in the spring of 2012, before closing everything in late January of this year.
As our sister blog Jackalope Ranch reported, Monsterland will reopen on August 24 with a big "Resurrection Party." Marco Regalado, owner of Tempe store Pop Culture Paradise, announced this past weekend that he and a group of others (including Wynn) have formed a "partnership" to put on various parties and other special events at the downtown Mesa spot.
Other than announcing its impending return later this summer, details about Monsterland are sort of few and far between. We spoke to Regalado on Monday via Facebook about whether or not the establishment would resume food and drink service after reopening and he stated that "that information is not solid at this point in time."
Wynn, however, says that while Monsterland still has a working bar and kitchen, he doesn't believe it will open as an eatery and drinkery with regular operating hours until Valley Metro finishes building the light rail through downtown Mesa around two years from now.
The 3.1-mile extension, which will extend light rail service along Main Street to Mesa Drive, began construction last month and is scheduled to be completed sometime in late 2015 or early 2016.
Wynn says that light rail construction could potentially hamper any sort of business attempting to operate in downtown Mesa over the next few years, which is why he suspects that Monsterland will only be open for parties and events.
"Trying to open up a restaurant and bar in the current situation is not something I'm prepared to do," he says.
That doesn't preclude the use of Monsterland's kitchen and bar during the various special shindigs and pop-up events that will be held there, like the "Resurrection Party" on August 24.
"We consider Monsterland to be an event space now, so it some wants to have a big party that's open to the public, they'd be able to use everything," Wynn says. "If they want to use the kitchen, they'd be charged a kitchen fee and a cleaning fee, or we'd help set up catering or point them in the right direction."
He added that liquor service would also be available if an event's organizers obtained proper permitting from the City of Mesa or other governmental agencies.
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Wynn says he also hopes that Monsterland will eventually be able to serve as a full-fledged restaurant again after the light rail extension is completed.
In the meantime, he hopes that holding regular events and parties at Monsterland will keep the place in the public's consciousness for the time being.
"It's a fantastic place and I think it still has a lot of life left to it," he says. "This is how we can keep Monsterland alive."