The Speakeasy Magic Bar is the North Side’s best kept secret
CHICAGO – If you’re looking to add some extra magic to your next night on the town, the Chicago Magic Lounge is the place to be.
It’s a speakeasy-style theater tucked away behind a fake laundromat and has been quietly attracting a following since it reopened in 2021 thanks to visitors documenting their experiences on TikTok.
“The nature of our theater is to bring back an old lost style of magic known as Chicago-style magic, and that can be done in several different spaces,” said co-owner and CEO Joey Cranford. “We have a performance bar where a bar magician works until closing at 5 at night… We have another secret entrance in the theater that allows ticketed visitors to come through and be seated anywhere in our 120-seat cabaret, and there’s Chicago-style magic that comes to the tables, there’s also stage magic, and then we have a back room called the 654 Club for the future of close-up magic, a nice intimate setting with 40 people that’s a magician watch .”
According to Cranford, Chicago-style magic is all about drinking and watching magic. He said the magic appeared in bars and restaurants in the 1920s to fill the time between drinking and eating. According to Cranford, the Chicago Magic Lounge remains true to the original vision of Chicago-style magic, adding that it can now be found around the world.
“It’s a chance for adults to escape. Everyone says but my kids love magic and I say of course they do, they’re kids but we want you to love magic,” Cranford said. “We want you to find magic in your life and so we really encourage people to make this a night out. Make it a date night. Make it a special event. Celebrate your birthday or anniversary. It’s a chance not only to escape from reality but also from the kids at home.”
From the moment you walk in you know you are in for a magical time as the entire theater is hidden behind a laundromat that dries clothes and everything.
“The laundromat is a way to get people out of their comfort zone and always prepare them for a surprise moment and let them know we’re not fooling around,” Cranford said.
During the pandemic, Cranford said someone took a video of the entrance to her laundromat and shared it on TikTok, where it went viral.
“I think we got about 2.1 million likes for that one video and the views were over 13 million views, which was just amazing,” said Cranford. “We’re here for the Chicago public, and that’s more than our entire Chicago metro area is here to see.”
When the theater reopened after the pandemic, Cranford said they changed their policies to allow people to take videos of their laundromat entrance for guests to share with their friends and/or family; and since then, several videos have gone viral, boosting ticket sales.
The Chicago Magic Lounge opens at 5pm every day of the week with the first show starting at 7pm except Fridays and Saturdays. They have a total of nine shows per week and ticket prices vary by day, so check their website for more information.
The Chicago Magic Lounge is located at 5050 North Clark St. in Chicago, and Cranford says, “It really is for the magic lover or for people who have never seen live magic or don’t know what it looked like today but it is.” just great escape.”
You can see more about the Chicago Magic Lounge in the video above.
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