Down one of the western-most avenues in Chelsea is a street with seemingly nothing special about it. But if you know which doors to walk through, you’ll be directed to a vintage elevator car and initiated, on the slow and authentic ride up to the top, by a velvet-voiced McKittrick Hotel bellhop. Another floor up via a skinny staircase and you’ll find yourself in a Scottish ski lodge, and the temporary home of Speakeasy Magick.
Speakeasy Magick: the name evokes the sexy, exciting underground of Prohibition New York, combined with the ancient and arcane (“magick,” with a “k,” is an archaic spelling of the word “magic”). For the McKittrick Hotel, these two elements seem to be the key to their success – just see their Bartschland Follies events or their popular, lavish balls thrown for New Years or Halloween. It should come as no surprise, then, that Speakeasy Magick lives up to its name and proves itself a worthy addition to the McKittrick’s repertoire.
The McKittrick Hotel might be most known for its long-running immersive show Sleep No More, which re-imagines Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a meticulously curated Hitchcock experience set in a 1930s Scotland hotel (in keeping with the doomed Scottish king). The Lodge, in keeping with the theme of Sleep No More, is a cozy spot for drinks and dinner in the guise of a rustic ski lodge, presumably nestled somewhere in the mountainous Scottish Highlands. And though you might catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building or Chelsea’s endless sea of construction if you peek outside, you wouldn’t want to – The Lodge effectively transports you to a different time, a different place.
Enter Speakeasy Magick, which has recently taken up residence in The Lodge. Over the blue velvet tables and perhaps a signature Sleep No More cocktail (with a pleasing purple hue, which seems fitting for “magick” of the evening), you’ll be endlessly entertained by “New York’s most elite magicians.” Emcee’d by host Todd Robbins (of Monday Night Magic), a clutch of magicians rotate their way around the small tables (seating about eight people each) to put on a unique, personal show. It’s all accompanied by a pianist who transforms classics of the 21st century (think: Seven Nation Army) into jaunty 1920s-sounding tunes. To be at one of these tables in the close-quarters setting of The Lodge is to not only be consistently surprised by what these performers have up their sleeves, but to have a constant sense of wonder as to what could come next. While you’re being entertained by one magician, you might witness a flare of fire at another table; hear a collective gasp rise from another table; or, perhaps, see one of the magicians finish his act in triumph and stand up to flip off the rest of the room. This is no friendly neighborhood magic show – it very much lives up to its name.
One – especially one who doesn’t usually frequent magic shows – might think: is there a point when the endless legerdemain loses its novelty? But thanks to host Robbins, some crowd-pleasing parlor tricks well-deserving of their “oohs” and “ahhs,” and the distinctive personalities that each magician brings to their craft, that point never seems to come. Perfect for an unorthodox date night or simply a unique New York night out, Speakeasy Magick is an experience that will bring all the magic to you – quite literally.