The House of Clues Santa Barbara’s co-owners (left to right) Assel Abdrakhmanova, Oscar Zevalos, and Whitman Heining stand in their new escape room.
Paul Wellman

There’s something new in Santa Barbara for those of you who like to live on the edge: The House of Clues, an escape room that combines mental puzzles with physical challenges and fosters a team-building mentality to the intense countdown of a clock.

Designed by a clever group of artists with backgrounds in prop and set design, The House of Clues currently has two themed escape rooms available for play — Pirate Ghost Ship and Psycho Dentist — both created to challenge logic, draw players out of their comfort zones, and collaborate with other individuals in a setting far different from anything found on the daily. With 45 minutes to escape from each respective room, you are under constant video and audio surveillance and can communicate with the game master at any time, as well as receive guidance in the proper direction when needed. Every move counts, and nothing is as it seems.

The Pirate Ghost Ship room is right up your alley if you’re in the market for a traditional adventure. Full of treasure, rickety floorboards, and skeletons, the room is decorated to perfection, with every detail playing a key role in the story and in solving the riddles and (literal) puzzles. The Psycho Dentist room is not for those with weak stomachs. This scenario places you in the middle of a deranged dentist’s chilling murder plot, where the key to escape rests in solving a series of tough mysteries based on logic and mathematical puzzles. Though the room has its fair share of jump scares, it’s instantly gratifying to witness your team progress with each riddle solved.

Currently operating Friday through Sunday, The House of Clues is a great addition to Santa Barbara’s repertoire of things to do, especially for local adrenaline junkies and those who enjoy stimulating activities. The group of artists behind The House of Clues, with experience in escape rooms from Los Angeles, has brought a big-city activity to Santa Barbara, truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend you pay The House of Clues a visit, be it with coworkers as a way to strengthen the team mentality, or with friends as an interesting way to spend a Saturday afternoon. With a third escape room in the works, this is going to be our community’s next commodity and will satisfy our healthy need for adventure.

The House of Clues Santa Barbara is at 629 North Salsipuedes Street. Call 229-9179 or visit


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