Photo Credit: Monica Silvestre
Inside The Magical Speakeasy Hidden In A Chicago Laundromat
Created by owner and CEO Joseph Cranford in 2017, this speakeasy performance theater was inspired by the rich, untold history of the city’s magic bar scene that flourished in Chicago during the early 1900s. People from across the Midwest would flock to the city to enjoy the best in magical entertainment, and the term ‘Chicago-style magic’ became just as popular as the city’s gourmet hot dogs and deep-dish pizzas.
Chicago’s last magic bar closed in 1999 and, although the bars began closing when magic shows gained popularity in Las Vegas, Cranford always held on to his love for magic. And in 2015, he began curating a weekly immersive magic show that paid homage to the original bar scene and created an intimate experience for all guests.
The event quickly became a favorite in the city’s nightlife scene. The magic had returned and a community of magicians and magic lovers were beginning to gravitate towards the show. Believing not only in magic but in his community, Cranford and his business partner broke ground on the Chicago Music Bar on June 7, 2017; creating a permanent home for Chicago-style magic again and a safe haven for magicians of all sorts.
The pair partnered with some of the best designers, builders, and architects in Chicago to create an innovative, Art-Deco style theater venue with a unique flair, perfect accessibility, and an intricate design.
The 7,200 square-foot venue was converted from a 1940s era, commercial laundry building with a secret, hidden entrance. Upon arrival, guests enter through a vintage laundromat center only to hit the spin cycle and be teleported to a magical theater with walls covered in magic nostalgia and iconic 1930s themed decor.
The speakeasy performance bar and cabaret theater can hold 120 guests and bartender magicians entertain patrons from behind the bar; wowing them with classic magic tricks while pouring them a Smoke n’ Mirrors signature drink.
Designed like an elegant, vintage nightclub, the Chicago Magic Lounge also includes a breathtaking mezzanine overlooking the main floor, a 43-seat close-up gallery for more intimate magical performances, and the Chicago Round Table Library, an exclusive, members-only collection featuring books from famed author and magician Walter Gibson.
Founded on the belief that magic is about people, the Chicago Magic Lounge is a hub for magic connoisseurs from all over. Finding the perfect blend of imagination, entertainment, and culture, this hidden bar is the place to be for an evening of delightful and magical enjoyment.