On a weekday night, you’ll see many men wearing black vests and bow ties working the floor of the Magic Lounge in Chicago’s Uptown.
You may compare them to hustlers that you’d find on the street since they’ll be walking from table to table where they entertain audiences at each table. You may see a magician at a table that’s turning two coins into three coins inside an audience member’s tightly closed fist. While at a table a couple of steps away, another magician is smirking as he transports a member of his audience’s chosen card from a deck into his pocket.The recently opened Magic Lounge was started as a spiritual successor of sorts to the magic bars of the old days, like the New York Lounge, and Schulien’s. It is a place where there are magicians that perform a type of magic that’s called close-up magic. It’s a form of magic where they do the magic right in front of the audience. On Thursday and Saturday nights, there’s a break in the action for the close-up magicians with the stage shows that take place. There will be magicians that are off the clock that surround the bar in a cluster. They will be practicing new material with their fellow magicians since fellow magicians will be harder to impress and they know a lot about magic itself. Most of those magicians are members from the Magic Lounge’s roster. All of the magicians will most likely have a card deck on hand.
If you’re a magician that wants to get into magic and learn all about it, then go to the session that happens late in the night. That is the time when the magicians gather around and share their secrets of the magic they know. The founder of the Lounge meant for the place to be a magician clubhouse. He wanted it to be somewhere where magicians can share their tricks and train their routines off the stage.
The History of the Magic Lounge
The Magic Lounge has a community that has a spirit that makes the place feel alive ever since it opened in 2014 as a club where you needed an invite. The venue initially was in the backroom of a magic trick store called Magic Inc. One of the co-founders of the Lounge thought that other magician clubs lacked participation, and he wanted to perform his tricks to his fellow magicians and receive feedback. He wanted everyone to help each other in the Lounge. Joseph Cranford, who is now the CEO of the Lounge, was a part of the fraternity that was based in Magic Inc. The fraternity had no name, but the members of the fraternity called it the Session Club occasionally. He has said that it was invaluable that he was a part of a group of devoted magicians. He learned how to do a lot of magic. Almost a year after he joined the nameless magician fraternity, he stopped practicing his magic to begin the development of the Magic Lounge, which is located in Chicago’s Uptown Underground. While he was developing the Lounge, he kept his partners updated on the progress.