A tiny sign appears above the door of a nondescript building with frosted windows. No words, just an icon of a washing machine. When that door is unlocked, you’re free to walk in. I won’t tell you exactly what happens next because, that’s part of the magic. Don’t worry, it’s harmless. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in the foyer bar of the Chicago Magic Lounge.
Beyond the foyer/bar area is a large theater for scheduled performances of bewildering magic! The scheduled shows require tickets, but they also do magic right at the bar, and it’s free! In the middle of the bar is a green tabletop and a magician perched behind it. Flanking the magician, waiters clad in tie and vest are mixing up cocktails, which from my experience are not for the weak. Lights are kept low, giving off a vintage glow to mingle with the gold accents of art deco fixtures behind the bar.
Magics sets at the bar are about 15-20 minutes, spaced apart by a 5-ish minute magician’s break. I’ve stayed long enough to see several sets and it’s worth seeing a few. The magicians don’t repeat tricks and you might get roped into participating after awhile. They say magic is all about perception, perhaps much of it is, but I still can’t figure out how ten bunnies emerged from my closed hand after the magician had only placed one in my palm before closing my fist. No doubt you’ll be stumped too!