Downtown Mesa will be invaded by an abundance of curious and colorful characters during Second Friday this weekend, and we aren't talking about the usual assortment of funky steampunks or quirky artists that frequent the monthly event.
Instead, we're referring to all the werewolves, demons, succubi, horror movie icons, and other creepy creatures that will populate of Monsterland Bar & Grill, which opens its doors to the public on Friday.
The haunted house located along Mesa's Main Street will debut its recent transformation into a horror-themed nightclub and restaurant after a four-month-long renovation process that included installing a bar, dance floor, and outdoor patio seating.
Monsterland spokesperson Kristy Smith says that fittingly the grand opening is taking place on Friday the 13th.
"We couldn't have picked a more perfect day to do it since there's a chance that Jason [Voorhees] might make an appearance," Smith says.
She adds that it's been a scary couple of months giving the establishment a makeover and getting everything ready to make their deadline of opening on Friday the 13th.
"It's been a totally insane experience scrambling to get open, but everything looks great," Smith says.
While a large portion of the 15,000-square foot establishment will still function as a haunted house during the Halloween season. For the next few months, however, the focus at Monsterland will be on serving up spirits of a more alcoholic nature (including specialty cocktails like "Jekyll Juice," vodka-infused gummy worms, and 20 different microbrews) at its bar, which is located amid the ghoulish gravestones of its mausoleum.
Seating areas will be decorated with foam and latex creatures that were created for the haunted house, as well as replica props from such horror flicks as An American Werewolf in Paris and realistic-looking replicas of slasher film villains like Freddy Krueger.
Meanwhile, the dance floor will be haunted by nightcrawlers shaking their groove thing to live bands performing on the new stage or turntablists spinning up songs in the DJ booth. (Retro cover band 8Teaze will perform on Friday during the grand opening.)
In addition to weekly Team Trivia and karaoke nights, Monsterland will host a costume party on the fourth Friday of every month designed around a certain theme, whether its pirates or zombies.
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And once the Halloween season rolls around, Smith says both Monsterland's nightclub and haunted house elements will interact in "unique and interesting ways," such as large flatscreen TVs in the bar and restaurant that will show live video feeds of patrons getting frightened by pneumatic-powered creatures elsewhere in the building.
"We're hoping to add a whole lot of things after we open. We're trying to keep things grand to a certain extent and keep things fresh so people keep coming here and make this a destination place," Smith says.
Monsterland Bar & Grill's grand opening takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday. Admission is free.