Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Guest » February 1st, 2002, 12:51 pm

I have an opportunity to teach easy to do magic for several weeks at a bartending school. One of the owners is a regular spectator of mine and was nice enough to ask if I wanted the job which pays quite well. I told him I would get back to him when I have confirmed my schedule for the next two months.

Well, needless to say my schedule is clear for the next 6 Thursday evenings he needs me. I have a rough list of common effects to teach, but they really need to be layperson friendly. I'm also going to give a list of quality beginner books and videos if they feel inclined to learn further on thier own. I may suggest a required reading of Magic For Dummies (Which is a wonderful book for new magi)

I was a magic bartender for a few years and I know what worked for me, but I'm not going to be discussing 'card on ceiling' or 'misled' (or any commercial effects for that matter) to what are really a bunch of laymen. I am however going to perform on the first night giving a 15-20 min show of what my routines were when I worked in that venue (without explanations of course). Hopefully this will help to fire them up about the prospect of learning some effects that they can apply to this type of work environment.

It's been many, many years since I was a layperson and I want them to really want to learn some basic routines to teach the value of having happy entertained customers (not to mention the tip factor).

My question on the table is, what would you, if you were in my situation, think you would put in your teaching plan? Please keep in mind the fact that these people do not own a TT and have never heard the term Double lift. I'm also going to introduce some commercial effects (sponge balls, jiggernaut, chop cup) that if they feel really good about and want to purchase and work on, I will provide the props and coaching (I will only coach those who purchase commercial props).

Hopefully there will be a few individuals who really take to performing and get excited about it.

Any suggestions would help tremendously and I will of course, update you all on how I fair... sounds fun doesn't it?

Thanks for your help in advance!

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1542
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Bill Duncan » February 1st, 2002, 8:02 pm

John Carney's Card In Matchbox (or matchbook) using the bar's own matchboxes. The method is a dead simple force, duplicate card and a simple steal of the extra (forced) card. Anyone with motor skills can learn the mechanics in an evening allowing you to concentrate on selling the effect.

It's in Carney Knowledge, his lecture notes and the recent Genii with Earl Nelson on the cover.

User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollyweird

Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Pete Biro » February 1st, 2002, 8:12 pm

sell 'em svengali decks, sponge rabbits, pea cans and paper tear to hats :D
Stay tooned.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5202
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Bill Mullins » February 2nd, 2002, 9:52 am

I can understand your position about teaching your repertoire, but:

If I went to school to learn bartending magic, and the teacher showed me some killer magic, and then wouldn't teach it, I'd be perturbed.

Bill Mullins


Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2002, 7:48 am


I think your missing my point. It's a bartending school that for each class will have one 2 hour evening of bar magic. I have to teach laymen not magicians. I'm cetainly not going to spend an hour and a half teaching a french drop or a double lift when they can be learning key card applications and learn a simple card or maches routine in an evening.

I'm looking for simple material that will get them to go out and want to learn more. Not overwelm them.

And I'm pretty sure it would be unethical to teach them ITR or topiting effects. :D

Carl Mercurio
Posts: 505
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New York

Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Carl Mercurio » February 3rd, 2002, 10:26 am

Bill Duncan points to a wonderful effect, the card in matchbox by John Carney. It's easy, but you'd be surprised at how hard that effect is for the average layperson to perform. I'd stick to really simple tricks, bar bets and gags. Here's some ideas.

1. Secretly reverse the bottom card of the deck. Have a card selected. While they're signing the card, secretly turn the deck over. The card is replaced, actually reversed in the deck. Put deck behind back and fix the bottom card, saying you're going to remove a card a reverse it in the deck. Then reveal reversed card is selection.

2. From Encyclopedia of Impromtu Magic, by Martin Gardner. Fingerplam a book of matches with all the matches torn out in your left hand. In your right pocket are the loose matches. Pick up a regular matchbook with all the matches still inside with your right hand and say you're going to "make the matches disappear". Do a really bad fake transfer. Openly put your right hand in your pocket, dump the regular matchbook and pick up the loose matches. Look at your left hand and proclaim the matches are gone. When the spectator says you palmed them and put them in your pocket, open the left hand and then open the matchbook showing the "matches" have disappeared. Then dump the loose matches on the bar for a kicker.

3. Teach them how to use a locator, like the bottom card or top card of the deck. Show them how you can build a simple location into a great mentalism effect.

4. Teach them a bill tear. You know, a quick one they can use when they pick up a tip before they drop it in the register.

5. Teach them how to vanish a cigarette in a thumb tip.

6. Teach them the Princess Card Trick.

7. Also from Encyclopedia of Impromtu Magic, teach them the trick in which two matches penetrate each other. You know the bit, where you push the matchhead into the fleshy part of your finger.

Good luck,

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1542
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Bill Duncan » February 3rd, 2002, 12:51 pm

> sponge balls, jiggernaut, chop cup
Sorry I misunderstood. If you only have two hours (it read like six sessions over as many weeks) you won't be able to teach the three effects listed above.

Carney's routine teachs a simple (Hindu shuffle) force and a simple (Biddle) steal, two of four the things Matt Schulien said you need to do good magic.

If you only have two hours you'd better stick to Karl Fulves' Self Working Card Tricks stuff. You can't really teach anyone more than one trick in two hours unless they have the requisite skills to begin with.

You can demo effects as they do in a magic shop and send them on their way hoping they practice.

Good luck


Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2002, 6:50 am

I agree Bill. I'm still working on the lesson plan, but it looks like one or two simple key card effects and one or two "bar bet" type items.

It will be two weeks with each class for the six weeks (3 groups of students).

Thanks for the help!

Posts: 46
Joined: April 13th, 2009, 9:38 am

Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby steve » February 4th, 2002, 4:29 pm

No wonder a good mixed drink is hard to find. All the bartenders are busy learning magic when I need a DRINK!!!


Re: Teaching magic to bartenders in training

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2002, 4:57 pm

You've heard the saying:

Never trust a MAGICIAN who doesn't drink,


never trust a bartender who does MAGIC!

Return to “Close-Up Magic”