The McKittrick Hotel has finally reopened its doors, and it is serving up something much needed: impeccable speakeasy vibes mixed with a healthy dose of COVID fatigue humor (not to mention an reassuringly thorough list of COVID protocols). Situated just off the elevator, right before the stairs up to the luscious Gallow Green, Speakeasy Magick has come back to life in the hotel’s Club Car.
It feels oddly poetic to step into a bar – a speakeasy, if you will – that could have been pulled from the Roaring Twenties, and to feel the combined tension and catharsis of the past eighteen months coursing through the room as champagne is sipped and neighbors chat. What was special about Speakeasy Magick pre-pandemic is now therapeutic, brilliant, and exciting in a way that we might not have been able to comprehend before.
Everything about the McKittrick is a transportive experience, but Speakeasy Magick is a production unto its own. As with the infamous immersive Sleep No More, the ambience of your night at this magic show is defined by a dark, smoky, candlelit room, to the tune of a talented pianist delivering old classics for an early twentieth century vibe. But in some ways, Speakeasy Magick is an even more intimate experience than Sleep No More. For one, guests are seated in parties at small tables, and your group will be along for the same unique ride as you.
Over the course of the night, the six magicians of Speakeasy Magick work their way through the tables, and each one has a way of bringing in their small audience with their own personalities and pulls. Learning names and encouraging audience participation that leaves even the participant baffled, each magician arrives with a unique set of mind-boggling tricks and an even more impressive persona. We tried to follow along with Matthew Holtzclaw’s explanation of three-card Monte, never expecting that the real reveal was up his sleeve the entire time (metaphorically, of course – the real legerdemain was much more complicated, or so I assume). We laughed with Todd Robbins’ self-deprecating humor and gasped in horror as he performed tricks that would guarantee anyone their own car on the subway.
The evening is emcee’d by Todd Robbins, who will tell you he’s performed magic from Coney Island all the way to…Coney Island (but in reality has an extensive resume). Robbins creates such a convivial atmosphere to the event that you may even leave feeling as though you’ve made friends. The closeness of the room, the charm of each of the performers, and personalization of each magician’s act make for an intimate experience that would be hard to replicate or to find elsewhere. Speakeasy Magick was made for the McKittrick, and the McKittrick was made for Speakeasy Magick.