The Magic Castle is a private magic club started in 1963 on the grounds of a mansion in Hollywood off of Franklin Ave. built in the 1900s. Magicians from around the world come to the Castle to perform in weekly rotating gigs and on any given night you can see 4-8 magicians who will make you laugh, make you scratch your head, and hopefully make you smile. The club is invitation-only, has a strict dress code that actually means something–a rarity in this town where the millionaires and transients appear surprisingly similarly clad, doesn’t allow pictures, and requires dinner unless you are joining a member there. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a magician member and who won lifetime membership the first year he joined and have been many times. It’s the best. At Halloween they decorate the whole place based on a yearly theme and fill an entire coffin with candy for you to nab on the way out.
If you don’t know anyone who is a member your best bet for getting a guest pass is to check the Castle’s website for upcoming schedules and stalk the magicians’ social media accounts to see where they will be performing ahead of their run at the Castle, chatting with them at these shows, and asking for a pass. Magicians don’t share the secrets of their magic but they do share an enthusiasm for magic that means they are likely to help you out if they can.
Last week I visited the Castle with a co-worker and her mom, both of whom had never been. I love being able to share this most “LA” kind of experience with people and my member friend similarly gets enthusiastic about people who want to explore this cool bit of the city’s history. While it gets busier on the weekends there are also more rooms open and magicians performing Thursday–Sunday so it’s the funnest time to visit with first-timers. My favorite during these nights is the Hat and Hare bar where the bartender does magic a foot away. Seeing these people trick you when you’re looking up their sleeves and into their pockets and as lost as if they were a mile away is the best. These performers are truly skilled at what they do and they are almost all funny as they fool you too.
And while the whole members-only thing may seem a bit snooty, you can get away with having this evening be as cheap as a $15 valet fee (or a $7 Lyft ride if you’re me) if you’re joining a member and don’t have dinner or drinks.