District 57 Launches New Post-Apocalyptic Immersive Experience to Charlotte Community

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Creators of Exit Strategy announce grand opening of new entertainment complex offering a self-serve bar and fast casual food, arcade games and interactive challenge rooms

We are in the business of helping people create memories, and that is exactly what District 57 has to offer its visitors

District 57, a post-apocalyptic immersive entertainment experience, today announced it is set to open its doors to the Charlotte community on Thursday, November 12, 2020. The 20,000 square foot facility located off Freedom Drive will offer visitors fast casual food, a self-serve bar, arcade games, and Grid, a 30-room challenge course to test your mental and physical dexterity.

Co-founders Jelani Patterson and Mylene Labrie are successful local entrepreneurs and creators of Exit Strategy, one of the country’s first and most popular escape room attractions. Over the last five years, this concept has exploded across the U.S. with over 25 different escape rooms operating in the Charlotte area alone. Now the time has come for the entrepreneurial duo to embark on a new entertainment journey with District 57, a unique and immersive build-your-own adventure gaming experience that is quite different from an escape room.

“When we first had the idea to open Exit Strategy back in 2014, we were one of the early pioneers bringing escape room games to the U.S.,” said Patterson. “People truly enjoy the mentally challenging and hands-on experience of escape rooms, but now they expect more. District 57 takes this concept to an entirely new and unparalleled level that transports people to a futuristic world where they can escape their reality, which is something we could all benefit from right now.”

At District 57, visitors are immediately transported 60 years into a dystopian future to a safe haven offering food, drink and fun provided by a group of leaders that step forward following a mysterious apocalyptic event. The complex boasts quick service food,12 self-serve bar taps offering cider, wine and beers, arcade games like pool, foosball, electronic dart machines, Atari pong table, 4-person Pac Man, SEGA Genesis Classics for Nintendo and Grid, a competitive 30-room challenge course.

With Grid, visitors step into a long, daunting hallway with 30 different rooms each containing challenges that test their mental, physical and creative dexterity as they race against the clock to earn the most points in 90 minutes. Grid can be completed in teams of up to four people and each team is given a watch that unlocks each room, and displays game stats and a countdown timer. Every challenge takes between 1-5 minutes to complete, and participants have the option to re-try any rooms that stumped them.

“If you are expecting an experience similar to an escape room with Grid, think again,” said Patterson. “There’s no walkie talkie, no locks and no hints. You’ll really need to rely on your own brain power and physical finesse for these challenges, so come prepared!”

What differentiates Grid from the typical escape room is that the challenges in each room are faster and entirely different from one another. Success in one doesn’t guarantee success in the others, so teams need to rely on a variety of skills in order to conquer their competition.

Grid will be ready for visitors upon opening. Bordertown, a new generation laser tag concept, and Unknown, a sports simulator with over 40 different games that is only accessible via secret entry, are also expected to open over the course of the next 12 months.

Nearly everything in the facility was sourced and custom built by Patterson, Labrie and their creative team of visual effects and technology wizards, some of whom previously worked behind-the-scenes for Scarowinds, Charlotte’s popular Halloween and haunted maze attraction at the Carowinds theme park.

“We are in the business of helping people create memories, and that is exactly what District 57 has to offer its visitors,” said Labrie. “We are providing locals and tourists a place to grab a bite, safely socialize, and play challenging and unique games while immersing themselves in an alternate reality right in their own backyard. The goal for us has always been to build community through entertainment experiences, and we hope that’s what people find when they arrive at District 57.”

District 57 draws inspiration from the success of Exit Strategy, which has been a landmark attraction in the Charlotte metro area for over six years and was recently sold to a new owner. Combined, the two escape room locations offer 12 uniquely themed rooms, and have logged 45,193 bookings and served over 200,000 visitors from across the world.

“Jay and Mylene are true visionaries in the industry,” said Dan Harmon, owner of Exit Strategy. “They’re always at the cutting edge, building new and unique experiences for their customers.”

For more information on District 57, including the grand opening, venue attractions, pricing and group bookings, visit District57.com. Be sure to check for regular updates on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/district57hq/) and Instagram at District 57clt (https://www.instagram.com/district57clt/), and share your post-apocalyptic experiences using the hashtag #District57.

About District 57
District 57 is a 20,000 square foot post-apocalyptic immersive entertainment complex in Charlotte, North Carolina set 60 years in the future. The brainchild of successful escape room entrepreneurs, Mylene Labrie and Jelani Patterson, District 57 offers visitors fast casual food, a self-serve bar, arcade games, new generation laser tag and Grid, a 30-room challenge course. For more information, visit https://district57.com/.

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Nicole Cieslak for District 57

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District 57
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