Popular local brewery Night Shift Brewing — which has breweries and taprooms in Everett and Boston, as well as two seasonal beer gardens in Boston and a third on the way in Somerville — has expanded again. This time, it’s part of Level99, a giant playground of escape room-like challenges at the Natick Mall.
The sprawling venue, located in the former Sears space, fills 48,000 square feet with a Night Shift taproom and beer hall, several private dining spaces, and over 40 rooms that hold over 100 physical and mental challenges with various themes. Geared at groups of adults, the challenges include everything from swinging on ropes over a floor of (LED) lava to navigating through laser beams to steal a jewel at a museum.
Night Shift’s recent partnership with Little Branch Hospitality — folks from Branch Line, Shy Bird, and Eastern Standard (RIP), including restaurateur Andrew Holden and chef Nemo Bolin — continues from Night Shift’s Boston location to this one, which means more Detroit-style pizza. The taproom, which seats nearly 100, has full table service, while the 140-seat beer hall has counter service. They share a menu of apps, salads, sandwiches, the aforementioned pizza, and such; think Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, a burrata and prosciutto salad, gochujang chicken wings, and more. The taproom also has a few entrees, such as coffee rubbed short rib and miso glazed salmon.
Level99 comes from CEO Matt DuPlessie, an engineer who has worked on projects with Disney and Universal Studios and founded 5 Wits, escape room-style venues with locations in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. DuPlessie’s design and production company Box Fort is behind the challenge rooms at Level99.
DuPlessie is considering Level99 Natick the flagship location and has enlisted Panera founder and former CEO Ron Shaich as partner in an apparent bid for world domination, or at least a bit of expansion. Aside from his history with Panera, Shaich has become a familiar name in the local restaurant scene in recent years: Through his investment group, Act III Holdings, he’s been driving expansion of Boston-area restaurant chains such as Tatte and Life Alive.
Level99’s online ticketing system isn’t up and running yet; customers can purchase tickets onsite ($30 for two hours, $40 for four hours, and $50 for all-day access; group pricing is available). Night Shift is accepting reservations via OpenTable.