What to Expect When the Magic Castle Reopens in May

The legendary venue won’t be accepting guests for the time being, but there’s a way to see magic in the meantime

Irma the ghost piano player has had the Magic Castle all to herself for the last 14 months while Hollywood’s famed private club for magicians has been locked up. The doors of the swanky mansion will open again on Friday, May 21, but only for members with dinner reservations.

The historic clubhouse has been operating with a skeleton crew since last May, while still offering programming via Zoom, outdoors in the parking lot, and a popular to-go operation called Dine & Delight, which serves up a virtual magic show alongside Beef Wellington and other classic castle fare. That program is available to the public and will remain available for immediate future.

The soft reopening is COVID-compliant, meaning parties are limited to six, masks are required, and temperatures will be taken. The state entered the less-restrictive yellow tier on Monday so regulations will likely loosen soon. But for now, entertainment will be video based and members will not be allowed to linger in the hallways or sit at the club’s many bars; one of the great joys of the club is chatting with cofounder Milt Larsen at the Palace bar.

Larsen, who recently turned 90, commutes between homes in Hollywood and Montecito. He and costume designer wife Arlene spent years creating a new club in that seaside town called Magic Castle Cabaret, which was open for less than a year when it closed for the pandemic. It was recently listed for sale, and the price includes the liquor license and all the magical trappings.

The Castle hopes to accept guest passes after the first few weeks, but in the meantime, that to-go package is a fun way to get a taste for the pleasures and treasures inside.

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