The Magic Castle

Justin Willman

tony wonder by Mick Minogue

The Magic Castle in Hollywood is a nightclub for magicians and magic enthusiasts, as well as the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts. It bills itself as ‘the most unusual private club in the world.’ The facility is a performance venue, restaurant and private club. A typical evening features several magic and sometimes variety arts performances, as well as a full service dining room and several bars in a nightclub atmosphere. A dress code of formal party attire is strictly enforced. Entry is only allowed to members and their guests, although low-cost, 30-day memberships are openly offered to the general public, with the savings in door charges often being sufficient to cover the membership fee.

The lobby of the Castle has no visible doors to the interior, and visitors must say a secret phrase to a sculpture of an owl to gain access, exposing the entrance to the club. Nightly, five different magic performances are showcased in three different theaters, with additional performances added on weekends. Magicians perform in several different theaters, including the intimate Close-Up Gallery, a larger Parlor of Prestidigitation, and stage illusions in the Palace of Mystery. Informal performance areas around the five bars give magician members the space for impromptu magic for guests and other patrons. In the music room, a piano is played by invisible ‘Irma,’ the Castle’s ‘resident ghost,’ who takes requests.

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