The Magic Castle maintains a regal hiding spot perched atop a hill overlooking Hollywood. And rightfully so. This establishment is an exclusive members only experience. It has been for decades. And will be for decades to come.
Unfazed by social media and the quickly evolving world outside the castle walls, the magicians who grace the dark and hazy halls are a special breed. All with their vastly unique specialties, the members have this old world stoic respect for the art of magic and illusion.
There are artifacts around every corner, mysterious bars in each den. You can have a full sit down dinner on the main floor, or cozy into an old mahogany bar stool for a whiskey and lighter fare on the upper level. There are a handful of different stages – some as intimate to only hold a dozen guests, others with a stage and elevated seating for 200. The magicians only perform one or two weeks a year, to always keep the material fresh and draw dropping. I could spend hours trying to find the right descriptive words to describe a visit, but I think I’ll just briefly recount my new favorite place in Los Angeles, through my eyes.
Dress coats & ties are a must. When you pay for valet you are given a secret code to say aloud at a bookcase, which opens you into the castle. I could have left after this and felt satisfied with the experience.
The halls are draped with dark red curtains, the owner (who is in his 90s) will always be sipping down a drink and engaging a patron somewhere amongst the bars scattered on the two floors. The first bar is for beginners. The amateurs who are practicing their first sleight of hand. These hopefuls are sporadically visited by one of the great veteran magicians to bestow a piece of invaluable knowledge. We cozied up to the bar for a glass of wine before dropping in to see a dear friend Adam Trent’s magic show. The room held no more than 30 people, his act was was sidesplitting funny, and the magic awe-worthy. After the half hour show we were back out to enjoy some quick tricks by passerbys at the bar before catching the final 11:30 show at the biggest stage.
The first act was the magician that played the hand on the Adams Family. He was eerily quiet and utterly mesmerizing to watch, his tricks classic sleight of hand with a level of superior sophistication. The second act was akin to a comedy central standup where the comedian takes props from a giant chest. He was hilarious, pulling material from the audience.
The Magic Castle is just that. Magic. A hidden gem that takes you back a half a century to a time where we would appreciate a trick or illusion without googling how it was done. A time where we respected a stage with a single performer and a castle with a password.