The Griffin and Gargoyle project, founded by Milwaukee local Daniel Colwell, aims to deliver an eventful night out for Dungeons & Dragons fans.
Colwell began the project in 2019, dedicating himself fully to the building's design and concept while under quarantine during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Geek culture, which used to be a fringe market, has really blossomed into becoming a fully-fledged economic powerhouse," explained Colwell, when speaking to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal.
The planned 32,000 and 38,000 square-foot Griffin & Gargoyle would contain several immersive rooms/areas with their own unique fantasy flavor. Colwell proposes a tavern, capable of housing up to 350 guests, as the building’s core attraction. An experienced food and beverage director, Bill Soplanda, has already been tapped to bring The Griffin & Gargoyle’s menu to life.
A game shop, referred to as The Library, complete with six private gaming spaces, a gift shop called Curated Curiosities, a steam-punk bar named The Gnome Alchemist, an ax-throwing range titled The Barbarian in the Basement, and outdoor wedding and event spaces would all be apart of The Griffin & Gargoyle's larger campus. According to the Sentinel Journal, a Chicago-based designer has already begun to take a crack at bringing Colwell’s ambitious plans to fruition while connecting the various areas via elevators and hidden stairwells.
"We're really hoping we can use that space as almost a cultural ambassadorship for the game of Dungeons & Dragons," Colwell, a player since high school, said of the proposed space. The Lake Geneva location makes a fitting tribute to the entrepreneur’s personal history as well as that of the tabletop role-playing game itself. Colwell intends to open The Griffin & Gargoyle nearby Emagine Geneva Lakes theater where he works as a senior manager. The game of Dungeons & Dragons was created by Gary Gygax in Lake Geneva, with the Wisconsin town even honoring the creator in the form of a modest memorial which has been a pilgrimaged location of many of the game’s practitioners over the years.
Though Colwell has crafted a curated experience, complete with actors and intricate narratives, he also intends to make the location a unique attraction for any type of tourist. "We expect we'll have some customers coming in fantasy costumes and be looking to fully participate in the story and really understand what's going on," Colwell remarked, "and then we expect we'll have some customers who were maybe just visiting Lake Geneva for the weekend and had heard about a really interesting place to have a meal.”
Colwell’s concept has already picked up plenty of traction amongst Dungeons & Dragons fans online and he hopes to open The Griffin & Gargoyle by spring 2024 to coincide with the role-playing game’s 50th anniversary.
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Source: The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal
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