One of Chicago’s most unique establishments, the Chicago Magic Lounge, will open the doors to its new Andersonville home Feb. 22. The stylish, speakeasy-inspired magic theatre and bar is moving to 5050 N. Clark St. from its previous part-time home at the Uptown Underground (4707 N. Broadway St.).
The new Chicago Magic Lounge may be hard to find for passersby on the street. From the outside, the building appears to be a laundromat. When one enters through a series of secret doors, however, he or she will walk into the hub for all things magic in the Windy City.
The Chicago Magic Lounge’s managing director, Lesley Stone, said an average night at the venue consists of a perfect cocktail of drinking and magic.
“Your average night will be [to] come and have a drink at our bar where we’ll have a bar magician,” Stone said. “Then [you can] have a seat in the Blackstone Cabaret, where you will be able to order food and drinks and have magicians coming around table to table as you listen to music. [You’ll] have close-up magic done just at your table for your party, and then there’ll be a headliner or two to perform on stage.”
How one spends his or her night at the Chicago Magic Lounge is largely up to him or her, according to Stone. Once one gets through the two secret doors and enters the Lounge with a ticket, he or she is free to roam from the front bar to the two stages and see various forms of magic performed.
Stone said she hopes the Chicago Magic Lounge inspires a sense of community for all lovers of magic.
“We’re furthering our community of magicians and sharing it with more and more people both new to Chicago and locals,” she said. “We’re also interested … in growing diversity in our community of magicians. Someday down the road we might open several other locations.”
Kevin McGroarty, an instructor of visual communications at Loyola, has been a lover of magic since childhood and is now part of the Chicago Magic Lounge’s Round Table. The Round Table first began in 1929 as late night gatherings of magic enthusiasts at various restaurants around Chicago and developed into the loyal community McGroarty is now a part of.
“One of the things [the Chicago Magic Lounge] has been trying to build, in addition to a great place to watch magic, is a community of magicians,” McGroarty said. “They can share their interests and show each other things and help each other all profess and raise the bar of magic in general.”
McGroarty’s interest in magic led him to the Magic Lounge’s previous location years ago, which he said was packed every night he attended. Magicians there often performed Chicago’s distinct style of magic.
“[Chicago magic] is definitely more personal, close up, a little funny and a little bawdy,” McGroarty said. “It’s also really beautiful. I think the vast majority of people haven’t really seen magic up close. Maybe they’ve seen David Blaine or Criss Angel … but there’s a certain removal when you’re watching on TV. When you see it right there in front of you, it just seems impossible. It’s gob smacking.”
The Chicago Magic Lounge’s new home should be perfect to continue the city’s iconic style of trickery. McGroarty, because he’s a member of Round Table, was able to see the new venue before it opened and said it’s extraordinary.
“The space is phenomenal. It’s absolutely bonkers,” he said. “It’s based on a sort of 1930s nightclub … which was one of the golden ages of magic. The theater is gorgeous and holds about 110 people. You get to it through a secret door into another secret door — it’s just absolutely amazing.”
McGroarty said the new Chicago Magic Lounge will astound visitors, and he can’t recommend enough a night of magic for Loyola students.
“It’s an utterly unique sort of experience,” he said. “If your parents are in town and you want to make them say, ‘Holy crap, Chicago is amazing,’ or you got a date or you’re just trying to see something very special and unique, there’s literally nothing else like [the Chicago Magic Lounge] in the city.”
The Chicago Magic Lounge will begin its new run in Andersonville with mind trick magician Max Maven. Guests must be 21 and up, or 16-20 years old with a legal guardian. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.chicagomagiclounge.com/welcome/.