If you think you’re in the wrong place, you may actually be in the right one. That is, if you’re in a cramped laundromat watching a laundry worker struggle to operate a particularly stubborn machine. Rest assured, there are clues outside of 5050 N. Clark that you’re at the right location--faded posters of touring magicians paper the doorway. How you get in is best left as a surprise, one of many you’re treated to at the Chicago Magic Lounge at its new location in Andersonville.
The Chicago Magic Lounge Offers Historic Grandeur
Setting foot in the Chicago Magic Lounge is a bit like traveling back in time. Sure, the bartenders are mixing more modern cocktails and utilizing some unique approaches (the Smoke and Mirrors, which includes mezcal, also calls for flammable citrus in its preparation) and they accept credit cards, but the decor and vibe is the grandeur of the 1930s and 40s--Chicago’s golden age of magic.
Towering posters of some of Chicago’s most famous illusionists and magicians hang from the walls, and the cabaret theatre itself, which seats over a hundred guests at cocktail tables around a small stage, is named for Harry Blackstone, the man who, it can be claimed, put Chicago stage magicians on the map.
At its grand opening, owner Joey Cranford talked about Chicago’s rich history of close-up magic. He talked about how there are Chicago-style hot dogs, pizzas, and, yes, magic, too. Table side magic is big and bold at the Chicago Magic Lounge, with various roving illusionists stopping by your table to perform astonishing feats. Their sleight of hand and angle work, especially in such close quarters, is, quite simply, astounding. Signed cards vanish and are transposed to pockets, folded up neatly with your signature still in tact. Magicians flourish and shuffle cards in innovative ways you’ve never seen, and audience members everywhere are all grinning in wonder.
Chicago Magic Lounge Offers Something For Everyone
To pair with your entertainment, the Chicago Magic Lounge offers a variety of foodstuffs and drinks. While not exactly enough for a full meal, these appetizers, of which this reviewer sampled the french fries with garlic aioli and prosciutto wrapped dates, were quite delicious and very reasonably priced. The dates, especially, are well worth the taste. Stuffed with gorgonzola, their candy-like sweetness is cut through nicely by the saltiness of the prosciutto and the creaminess of the cheese.
On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the evening is split between close-up magic and stage acts. At the grand opening, magicians Max Maven and Arthur Trace both performed as featured acts. Maven, who joked that he doesn’t stick out in Hollywood, where he lives, gave an eccentric and quick-witted performance, the highlight of which was an illusion involving a book by H.P. Lovecraft and some very funny patter. Trace’s performance also had some impressive magic tricks, one of which involved a card, randomly named by a randomly selected audience member, being revealed where it had been sitting in plain sight.
Open seven nights a week, the Chicago Magic Lounge offers live jazz and vocalists with close-up magic on Monday and Tuesday nights, magician David Parr’s performance on Wednesday nights, with family-friendly magic slated for Sunday afternoons, after brunch. With top-notch magicians, a historic milieu, and great drinks and bites, the Chicago Magic Lounge is definitely worth a few visits if you find yourself in Andersonville.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Chicago Magic Lounge
5050 N. Clark
7 nights a week
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