While you won’t find greasy-haired potions masters or famed boy wizards at this creative drinking experience, you will have a lot of fun if you’re keen on the occult. The Wizard’s Den invites you to escape to a world of magic and potion-making (read: cocktail mixing).
The Time Out team was invited to get its wands at the ready and learn the ropes (robes?) at this boozy encounter. First things first, the event name is a ruse* – you won’t find any tall bearded gents of Gandalf’s ilk. Wizards are not the ringleaders here, but a fierce witch by the name of Morticia Le Mort, who nec-romances you with her witch’s familiar filling the role of potions assistant.
With the acting antics of the cast and the clever set-up of the venue combined, this experience is a whole lot of fun for those willing to play along. You’ll be tasked with a series of escape room-like clues and riddles to work out. Solve them to uncover magical wands for your team, potion bottles and ingredients required to mix up cocktails.
The atmosphere and staging of the venue are a great mix of spooky, playful and immersive – with floating candles, shelves stacked with trinkets, crystal balls, pentagrams, witchy paraphernalia, and even a secret entrance to a witch’s garden (which is sure to please those of us who went green and succumbed to plant fanaticism in lockdown).
During the two-hour dose of escapism you’ll ‘levitate’ a book off a shelf, brew up a steaming cauldron, and be classed in “evocation and cyromancy”. The tasks and riddles are not so challenging that someone starting to get a bit tiddly can't give them a go (but there is help at hand if necessary), and the cocktail flavours are fruity and intriguing without veering into sickly sweet territory.
Your golden ticket will set you back $40 (plus booking fee), which includes a drink on arrival, two cocktails, and wand rental – which is quite the value-for-money experience when you consider how much the average cocktail can set you back in Sydney.
If you were amongst those tempted into donning a cape and wand at ‘Semester I’ when the Wizard’s Den debuted in Sydney last year, you’ll discover a whole new set of challenges and rewards at ‘Semester II’, which takes place upstairs from the Lewis Carroll-inspired Wonderland Bar in Potts Point (the former residence of World Bar, may it rest in peace with the ghosts of the grungy Kings Cross of yore).
Wizards and witches in attendance are encouraged to BYO robes (in Semester I, these garments were supplied, but not even the strongest banishing spell can overrule the public health and safety measures required in post-lockdown 2020).
This strictly 18+ potions class is in session until December, with multiple evening sessions Wednesday through Sunday starting from 5.30pm and running until late, as well as weekend afternoon events from 2pm. For junior conjurers, there is a family friendly session on Sunday, October 25, at 2pm – just in time for spooky season. Check out sessions and availability here.
* For anyone concerned their ticket purchase might line the pockets of a certain controversial author of a book and movie franchise set in a magical school, this event has no association with said author.
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