A new London-based magic-themed bar called The Cauldron Chicago will debut later this year in Wicker Park at 1612 W. Division St.
Co-founders Matthew Cortland and David Duckworth are getting ready to bring their unique bar experience to Chicago, marking their sixth location. This one-of-a-kind bar will move into the former home of Bedford bank, which has been vacant since 2017. When it opens on May 4, customers can expect a 10,000 square feet world of magic and mystery, with three individual spaces. These spaces will feature interactive technology where guests can activate the self-pour stations with a sensor-based wand.
The Cauldron Chicago has also partnered with CH Distillery to create 10 to 12 malört-based cocktails, according to Eater Chicago. Some cocktails at this upcoming bar include the Wormwood Wizard, the Windy Manhattan, and an unadulterated Magical Malört Straight Up. Ownership is also creating its own currency that customers can hand over to a bank teller in exchange for beverages.
“We are working with them to develop a whole slew of malört cocktails for their speakeasy menu,” CH Distillery founder Tremaine Atkinson tells Eater Chicago, adding they’re “celebrating the magical properties of wormwood and malört.”
The company also plans to include a speakeasy-style bar inside the 1920s-era building’s safety deposit vault, calling it The Vault. Here, guests can expect classic cocktails and a collection of more than 4,000 keys. Each guest can select a key and open a safety deposit box with prizes ranging from a free drink to a potions class to a $1,000 bar tab. Because of the unique bank design, this will be the only location in the company with this feature. There are also plans to add a stage and piano for live music.
“It’s a Chicago jazz meets wizards in a speakeasy setting,” Cortland says. “And what better way to enter a city than by partnering with brands people know and love — or love to hate.”
Another aspect of this establishment will be a walk-in bar and restaurant serving British-style pub food. Some dishes expected to be on the menu include fish and chips served on hot river rocks with dry ice at the bottom for an oceanic effect; a flaming pan-fried cauliflower served with liquid English white cheddar; and “Elven Bread,” a sweet challah-style loaf wrapped in banana leaves and tied with string. There is also a rooftop space on the property, but it’s unclear what it will be used for. Cortland tells What Now Chicago the third space will be an immersive experience with the brand’s unique features.
“I’m obsessed with fantasy, and I love the idea that you can take something from your imagination and make it real,” Cortland says. “We’re basically building Margaritaville for wizards.”
The Cauldron Company can also be found in Manhattan and Philadelphia, as well as in Edinburgh and Brighton. Cortland tells What Now Chicago he’s excited about this opening for many reasons, but mainly because of how great the city of Chicago is in terms of people and its culinary reputation. In an interview with What Now Chicago, he says just about everyone who has been a part of this project has been more than supportive and helpful. The Cauldron doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon, as the growing business is looking to expand the concept to even more cities nationwide.