thoughts on drinking, life and mixing the two.
The greatest trick the devil ever played?
I don’t know for sure.
The best trick I witnessed at The Magic Castle?
That is an easy one – it was the illusion of exclusivity. They make you feel like their club is special: private and hard to get in to. You have to know a magician or otherwise seek out Magic Castle passes. Although most people eventually end up with one, I am not going into detail here to preserve your experience of wrangling a pass.
But what is The Magic Castle, you ask? Briefly, it is an old Hollywood mansion built in 1908 that now serves as “the world’s most famous club for magicians and magic enthusiasts and home to The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc.” The decor has a great old haunted mansion feel and it is pretty cool to just wander around and look at, but be careful not to take too long – the next show is starting any minute.
Growing up an amateur magician of sorts, I had heard stories of this special private club were magicians hang out and plot global domination. No way to get in unless David Copperfield himself opens the door to his private limo full of scantily clad ”assistants” and beckons you into his über cool world of supermodels, private parties, illicit drugs, and supermodels (did I mention supermodels?). Then I came to realize, as most of you non-magic folk do, that the magician seldom gets the girl, the private party (unless screaming six-year olds are involved) or the opportunity to plot world domination. Magic may be fun but us poor adolescent lads doing card tricks never come off quite as cool or sexy as we think we do. Now, as a grown man and cocktail geek (which my fellow cocktail aficionadi will tell you is much, much sexier), my only opportunity to visit the Magic Castle is as an outsider.
Recently, I had my first opportunity to visit and, after all these years, I still seemed to be drawn to the Castle, filled with the anticipation of a childhood dream all but forgotten. The Magic Castle was a really fun time and a great date night. You have to dress up and you must have dinner. Yep, you will be forced to have an evening of fun in fancy clothes. Be clear that my dream was fulfilled and it was a night of revelry that I won’t soon forget, but when I try to be honest about the Castle’s true experience, it was more like an adult Disneyland than a private club. It was totally packed on a Friday night with guys in suits and ladies is sexy cocktail dresses. There were bachelorette parties, birthday parties and couples of all ages on dates. Every corner had a magician or a bar, or a magician at a bar. Every room was a theatre and every curtain had a felt covered table or stage. I would love to have posted pictures of this but – guess what – no photos allowed once inside the sanctum sanctorum. Waitresses at every show and bars in every corner push cocktails, and why not have one or several? You got your passes and you got all dressed up – it makes you feel so special that you really want to make a night of it. This was the trick – and I felt it.
Sure I succumbed to the Magic Castle. All in all I would do it again. We had a great time. As a self-professed geeky magic snob I found some of the magic to be less than stellar, but lot of it was really good and all of it was fun. The drinks were strong and reasonably well made (corpse reviver #2 on the menu). The steaks and lamb chops were well cut, cooked perfectly and tasted great (the sides, however, needed some magic) and our party cleaned our plates to the bone. Next time I need to get a room, San Diego is too damn far at 1:00AM. In all, I had a really good time and spent a lot of money and I recommend that you do the same. Allow yourself to be taken in; suspend your cynical nature and fall for the gimmick, it will be fun, and at least you will look good as you stand, drink in hand, hobnobbing with the Hollywood greekerati.