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Not dead yet: 2 campaigns aim to keep Mesa’s Monsterland going (UPDATED)

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Downtown Mesa’s Monsterland Bar & Grill is getting ready for its last hurrah Saturday night after announcing abruptly earlier this month that it would be closing. But fans and employees of the establishment that started life as a haunted house attraction and prop museum aren’t ready to say the last rites yet. There is not one, but at least two bids out there to keep Monsterland going — one by dedicated employees of the venue and another by an East Valley businessman.

The first group comprises Monsterland employees using the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, and is organized by Gregory Holmes, Dan DeWolf and Sean Curley. It’s seeking $300,000 in funding:

We don’t want to see this unique hotspot disappear. That is why we are raising money in order to buy Monsterland from the original owner. So we can continue to make Monsterland the great place you have all come to know and love.

Another effort is being spearheaded by Marco Regalado, owner of the Pop Culture Paradise comics, collectibles and game shop in Tempe. Regalado visited Monsterland Jan. 10, according to a representative, and spoke with owner Kevin Wynn about fielding a bid for the venue. He announced his intentions Friday night on Facebook:

There is some buzz around that we’re trying to buy Monsterland in Mesa. This is one rumor that I’m happy to say is true! I’ve submitted a proposal to the current owner. He’s waiting on a couple of other proposals and should have a final answer to me next week.
I gotta tell you this is something I’m really excited to share with you all! You have been great in supporting us at Pop Culture Paradise and I can’t think of any other customers I’d love to see at Monsterland supporting us there! Keep your fingers crossed!
Until that time, please go and support Monsterland in Mesa, I hear they are having one helluva last party tomorrow night!

There certainly seems to be a lot of support for Monsterland in what were supposed to be its final hours. Will it make any difference? Check back for updates as the story develops.

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UPDATE: Regalado tells Phoenix New Times that as of Jan. 23, the deal is “50 percent” done, but there’s still a lot of negotiation and due diligence ahead. He told reporter Benjamin Leatherman that the Monsterland employees behind the Indiegogo crowdfunding effort have pledged their funds to his effort to buy Monsterland, and that he’s hopeful of a potential deal by Friday of this week.

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About the author


Jayson Peters

Founding curator of Nerdvana


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  • I just came from this place. This was a terrible experience! After finally being seated we discovered that the dining room was full of second-hand cigarette smoke that was coming in from the “smoking area” just outside. The restaurant staff had the door leading to the smoking area propped open and they gave us attitude when we demanded they close it. We then moved to a different table but that did little to alleviate the problem as the restaurant staff also had a large window open that was allowing the cigarette smoke from the outside bar come inside.

    My fiancee ended up getting violently ill because of this and I ended up with a splitting headache. The worst part was that our party had two children with us!

    In Mesa, it is illegal for a smoking area to be allowed that close to a non-smoking area and it is illegal for an establishment to allow cigarette smoke to come inside the building. So we called the police, fire and Arizona Health departments and reported them.

    We ended up leaving before our food arrived, not only because of the cigarette smoke but because the food was taking so long.

    • You waited until the last night they were open, knowing it was going to be packed, and wanted service just the way you wanted, knowing 400 other people wanted to wait until the last night and expect the same thing? shame on you, you are the exact reason monsterland is closing.

  • WORST PLACE EVER!!!! Showed up just after 6:00 pm, and did not get a table until almost 7:30 pm, after being advised a 45 minute wait. We were sat inside, in the dining room; but it smelled as if they had sat us outside in the middle of everyone smoking. I told a waitress that this was against the law and to close the door or move us, as there were 2 children under 10 also at the table. We were offered a table right next to the one we had, but the entire place stunk of cigarettes! It took almost 15 minutes for 3 sodas and 2 waters. We sat there for another 30 minutes after ordering, and saw food just sitting at an empty table. A family of four asked what was the deal with the food, and a waitress then asked if they wanted the food as the people had left. Apparently, there is a serious reason this place is closing. Not only do they not care about the fact that you can taste an ashtray while sitting waiting for your meal, but you also are expected to wait for up to an hour in the stench before you are served, as well. Now, I have managed to get the children fed, but not at this horrible establishment! Whoever the owner is, lord help their patrons at any future establishment; because you will need a blessing from God to survive such a poorly run and maintained “restaurant.”

  • @facebook-100001332678615:disqus and @dd78dd9e8350d128afdd26b51d95fbf8:disqus, you seriously shouldn’t have expected your service to have been A+ on their last night. Not only did Monsterland have a lot of people there who had waited till the last day to try it out (just like you both) but there were also all the people who loved Monsterland there saying goodbye. There are obviously improvements to be made and I’m sorry you had a bad experience but don’t base it on one of its busiest days and on one of the saddest days for the employees there. Hopefully Marco, the potential new owner, can address some of these complaints. I hope in the future that you will do your part, as a member of the community, to write to the owner privately so that they can do what they can to improve their business. We need to help local, independent businesses by not blasting them online, but giving feedback that could help them be more successful. Unless you wanna live in a world where all you have to choose from are chain restaurants and big box stores. I have kids too and I usually take them to Monsterland for lunch, it’s quieter, well lit, and it’s less of a bar crowd. Just like many other ‘bar & grills’, it’s more of a bar scene at night. I hope that you might give Monsterland another chance if it is reopened with this potential new owner, maybe you can help him out by voicing your concerns where it will make a difference.