MESA, Ariz. — The Monsterland science fiction and horror movie prop museum is morphing into a bar and grill, becoming the second business in the last month that is working to create a nightlife in downtown Mesa.
Monsterland opened before Halloween last year with hundreds of creepy costumes and animatronics from horror movies new and old.
The museum's owners decided to expand into the bar and grill after the Halloween-themed haunted house events didn't draw as many horror fans as expected, Monsterland spokeswoman Kristy Smith said. The museum's elaborately decorated exterior walls will stay in place as the interior floor space is cleared for seating areas.
The revamped Monsterland is scheduled to open April 13.
Fittingly, that's Friday the 13th.
Monsterland's foray into the bar industry comes a month after two Mesa residents said they plan to open Desert Eagle Brewing on Main Street. The microbrewery is scheduled to open in July without any food, but a restaurant could come later.
Monsterland sees the brewery as a compliment and not competition, Smith said.
"I think anything that brings people downtown is going to build momentum," Smith said. "I don't think people understand what's down here. People think it's a conservative place but it's really changed over the years."
Monsterland will feature costume theme nights every fourth Saturday of the month, live music at times and 20 Arizona microbrews. It will be open Wednesday through Saturday. That could expand if the concept takes off, Smith said.
Monsterland's owners invested about $500,000 on the interior. While some of the props will be put in storage to create space, Smith said they could be rotated frequently. She said the new Monsterland is less of a museum than before but still will be full of historic decor.
"All of our animated props will probably be set on timers, and there probably will be a show every hour. Everything the people loved at Halloween will still be up and running."
Monsterland can seat 200 inside and 60 on an outside patio.
Monsterland's main entrance on Main Street poses some challenges with Metro light rail construction beginning this spring. Smith said Monsterland and other businesses should be able to avoid taking a big hit because back entrances face parking lots along First Avenue and First Street.
Construction shouldn't bother downtown visitors if they avoid Main Street and use the parking lots in back, she said.
"There is a lot of parking," Smith said. "I just don't think a lot of people know about it."
Information from: East Valley Tribune, http://www.eastvalleytribune.com
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