Lonely Planet Writer

Chicago honors its place in the history of magic with a new speakeasy lounge

If you feel like immersing yourself in a truly magical atmosphere, then the Chicago Magic Lounge might be the place for you.

The Chicago Magic Lounge is a tribute to the city’s long history with magic. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge

Part-performance cabaret and part-speakeasy bar, this enchanting club in the heart of one of the USA’s biggest cities is hidden behind a laundromat. That’s the first obstacle you’ll have to pass, as only the right code typed into an old-style phone will reveal the Lounge’s door.

The Performance Bar is what welcomes you into the Lounge. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge

Inside, the Performance Bar will welcome you with its tricks and signature cocktails, including one named “How Did Houdini Die”. The answer, he was punched in the stomach and got his appendix ruptured, which is why the cocktail is a rum punch. The bar’s food menu is inspired by Matt Schulien’s 1960s restaurant, the first to define what “Chicago-style” magic truly is – restaurant and bar magic. The dessert, on the other hand, includes truffles and champagne.

The Blackstone Cabaret sits 120 people and is used for larger shows. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge

If you feel like watching a show after having sipped your Dark Arts or Abracadabra drink, you can either choose the 120-seats Blackstone Cabaret, where larger shows are performed, or enter the 654 Club, where magicians marvel a much smaller audience of only forty people with their sleights of hand.

The 654 Club is for much smaller audiences. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge

The Chicago Magic Lounge is generally an adults-only venue, but it does have family Sundays with shows for children. It also offers magic classes and a very exclusive Round Table for people who are passionate about magic and would like to use the Lounge’s extensive library.

The Lounge was born to “reinvent Chicago-style magic for the modern age”. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge

“It was our desire to reinvent Chicago-style magic for the modern age,” said the Lounge’s CEO and co-owner Joseph Cranford. “We want this place to be a testament to magic’s history and Chicago’s place in it.”

The Lounge is truly a testament to magic’s history. Image: Courtesy of the Chicago Magic Lounge

While access to the Performance Bar is free, you will need to book a ticket for either one of the shows, and you can do so through the Lounge’s website here.