A magic bar. It sounds tacky to the extreme. A Japanese magic bar. It sounds quirky as well as tacky. But Bar 84 at Gallery Hotel – where we went last night – is a locally known institution of genuine wonder and incredulity (all my friends who’ve grown up here have heard of it). It’s the place that restores your faith in magic being nothing other than…magic.
Hashi is the magician/owner of the bar. Strange but brilliant, he is very dead pan and astoundingly good at magic. Proper, sophisticated magic. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about pulling rabbits out of hats, big clown shoes or wands but head-shakingly real (but it can’t be, can it?) stuff that takes place before your very eyes. You could take absolutely anyone here for some after dinner dazzlement and they’d love and remember it (the perfect place for me to bring my darling, but tricky-to-please-in -a-city, Dad to on his next visit to Singapore, but we’ve been here after work dinners, fun-own-time dinners etc).
Hashi-san is the main gig, but depending on what night you go you may have to sit through a warm up act before you get him, Friday & Saturday nights especially. The warms ups are of varying degrees of impressiveness but either way, it just makes The Master all the more worth waiting for.
Drinks are definitely over priced (Coke Light is $10; cocktails about $30) but who cares? There is a magic fee of about $45 per person as well as a bar entrance fee of about $20 but this is a show like no other and you absolutely should have to pay for it.
For those that have been, all I can say is:
…and for those that haven’t, The Lemon Trick is the finale of finales that I defy anyone to work out (if anyone ever does – please, please tell me how on god’s green earth he does it).
Open in the evenings only, from 7pm-2am, it’s worth calling ahead as they can sometimes be very busy. Closed on Sundays.
Bar 84, Gallery Hotel #2, 1 Nanson Road, Singapore
T: (+65) 6235 0002
Bar 84 interior shot (top) courtesy of Fork