Tales of a City Girl

An escape room with a difference – Lady Chastity’s Reserve

Escape rooms have sprung up in the capital more and more recently. Offering an injection of high-paced fun with an adrenaline-popping challenge element, I’ve always wanted to try one. Lady Chastity’s Reserve isn’t an escape room in a traditional sense as you’re not trying to break your way out. But you are trying to win a bottle of wine, so after sorting out my booze ‘cheat days’ for the week (yes, I am now a full-on marathon training wanker), I joined an illustrious team of work pals to give it a go.

Held at the Four Thieves pub in Clapham Junction (although other venues are available), the experience begins by being led into a dark corridor away from the lively hustle-bustle of the pub by Gabriel, Lady Chastity’s old servant. Whoever this actress is who plays Gabriel deserves a raise. She didn’t break character once, even when chasing us around the pub as we were late for our start time.

Where this experience in particular comes into its own is its titillating, innuendo-laden background story. Think Great Gatsby with a kiss of burlesque.

Lady Chastity was (as we’re told by Gabriel) a socialite whose parties were the talk of the town due to her aphrodisiac wine. She ended up dying – I think of a broken heart (isn’t it always?) – but there is one bottle of wine left from her last party. One that you have a chance of winning, if you can solve the clues within the room, and try not to wake up her ghost.

Once you’ve broken the clue to get into the room, and guided to your first clue, the egg timer starts and Gabriel steps outside. The room is done up with old photos all over the walls, trunks, bookcases, wine cabinets and a foreboding looking locked cupboard. It looks like a slightly sinister library.

The clues are varied and fun, using word play, number games and common sense to help you crack each stage. The variance and difficulty level of each clue helps keep your adrenaline pumped throughout  the game.  They’re not so simple you’ll be rolling your eyes, but not so difficult you want to give up. You can use Gabriel’s help for three clues maximum – but apart from that, it’s you and your team for an hour.

We finally managed to unlock the wine after a totally unimpressive time (something like 59 minutes) – but were pretty chuffed nonetheless.

The wine wasn’t great but let’s be fair here, they’re hardly going to be whipping out their fanciest Cab Sav as a prize. Plus, I was with two Italians and they thought it was OK, so it was probably just my taste. Anyway, it was a great way to bring the night together at the end and toast our (clue-ridden) success.

The pub itself is brilliant too, with a fun, relaxed feel and a packed games room upstairs complete with Scaletrix cars and mini golf – no naff board games here – so it was a great place to hang out afterwards.

Would I recommend this? With tickets starting at £15.50 each, 100% yes. You can’t go wrong.

Get your tickets at the Lady Chastity’s Reserve website. This is also where I got my image from.