Our small business

The journey

Urban Mysteries Co was formed by three Adelaide friends and long-time business partners David Walker, Adam Winston, and Drew McGiffert. The concept for Urban Mysteries began in 2018 while the three friends were operating the BrainHackr board game cafe in Prospect SA.

The friends began developing escape room ideas while spending time explaining, playing and even developing games with their local community, at events like the Prospect Spring Fair, Prospect Library, Nova Cinemas school holiday program, and even through a popup game bar they created for the Adelaide University Union O-Week.

After 12 months of planning, a pop-up escape room was added to the Prospect café in 2019. The pop-up successfully ran for 6 months and paved the way for larger ambition. At the same time, they also engaged with the National Trust and developed gaming and mystery puzzle nights for two of their properties, Ayers House in Adelaide and Z-Ward in Glenside.

Then came Covid19. The BrainHackr cafe was required to close in 2020 due to Covid19 restrictions. Unable to continue with the business after months of restrictions they decided to hibernate the business and set their sights on a new more robust business model.

Fortunately, an opportunity to try out a short-term space with RenewAdelaide arose in early 2021. Giving the opportunity to test a dedicated game bar concept in the CBD. The focus of the bar was entirely on gameplay. No longer serving coffee and relying on retail add-on sales. The bar served game-inspired cocktails and provided a range of clever and brain-testing games. While the experience was fun and rewarding it reinforced the challenge covid would pose to any hospitality offering.

Experience and support gained through the RenewAdelaide program resulted in the friends securing a long-term lease on Gawler Place. The venue accommodates a more sustainable Mystery Room business, while also retaining a game-style Mystery Bar.

About us

Three Adelaide friends David Walker, Adam Winston, and Drew McGiffert are the faces behind Urban Mysteries Co. All regular board gamers and avid escape room escapees’ the trio now get to work doing what they love.

Drew McGiffert

StoryTeller

A qualified health and safety professional, neurolinguistic practitioner, and board gamer. Drew has worked within national and multinational executive positions for over 15 years. An industry-recognised specialist within health and safety with a high commendation from SafeWorkSA. Drew has extensive experience in designing behavioural based programs. Now redirecting these skills from compliance into creating fun and engaging experiences. Drew is our resident storyteller and game flow designer while being responsible for the day-to-day operation of the business.

David Walker

<Digital Curator>

Specialising in the design and development of accessible and well-designed digital solutions. David has been building websites and touch-screen interactives for nearly 15 years. Since starting his own freelance business in 2014 David has had a focus on community building and digital interactivity. He has contributed digital content to exhibitions for every major South Australian Museum. In addition, David develops interactive websites designed to help make content accessible, engaging, and fun. David is the curator of Urban Mysteries Co’s online presence and integrator of digital experience into our mysteries.

Adam Winston

GameMaster

Bringing over 15 years of retail experience into the business, Adam has a strong focus on client-centered engagement. Adam has an educational background in Psychology, Sociology, and Graphic Design. Both freelance and in-house designer, Adam has helped curate much of the look of Urban Mysteries Co. Often behind the screens facilitating games or serving cocktails at The Mystery Bar, Adam is usually one of the first and last faces our players get to see.