Perhaps it’s a good thing that a cardiologist is one of the minds behind the new haunted house on Duval Street. On a recent Monday evening, delighted, but authentic, screams from inside the “Haunted Hallways” could be heard on the street outside. And the scares start right on the sidewalk, where masked ambassadors lure people inside the dark hallway at 618 Duval St.
“We wanted to do something fun for the community, something to bring locals and kids downtown,” said Dr. Bruce Boros, who worked with Nelson Sawyer of Powerhouse Construction & Management on the project. “In three days, Nelson and his team got this whole thing up and running, and we have high school students as the actors inside. It’s really been a lot of fun.”
Haunted Hallways opened Oct. 16 and runs nightly from 4 to 11 p.m. through Halloween. All ages are welcome. Adults will be properly petrified by suspense-building dark hallways and costumed characters. Younger kids receive a glow-in-the-dark necklace at the start to alert the actors not to scare them too badly.
Haunted Hallways is the first of many community-oriented projects that Boros has planned for his new business at 618 Duval St. The large and meandering property with entrances of Duval and Angela streets, was formerly the home of Cowboy Bill’s country bar and mechanical bull.
The new entertainment center will be called the Key West Emporium, and already includes the popular Kaya restaurant, the brainchild of Scott Taylor.
Additional plans will include a sports bar, a karaoke bar, a private VIP lounge with dedicated drink service that can be rented nightly, and themed musical and dance nights, Boros said.
“We’re thinking of a Latin and Salsa night, a tropical daiquiri bar, a night of music, dancing and sports from the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, tons of every sporting event on several televisions, and then we want to do some things during the day for kids and families.
“The whole idea is to bring locals back to the central Duval Street area,” Boros said. “Duval Street was traditionally the city’s main street and social center. And there’s no reason that element has to be sacrificed to tourism. We want to engage the community during the day and create an ideal mix for locals and tourists at night.”
While the new Key West Emporium takes shape in the coming months, Haunted Hallways offers the perfect reason to rediscover Duval Street this Halloween. Convenient parking is available a block away at the fire station lot on Angela and Simonton streets — and it’s free for locals with a resident parking pass.