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Houdini’s Magic Bar opening in Canterbury

By Gerry Warren

Canterbury’s newest venue opens today promising a heady mix of cocktails and conjuring.

Houdini’s Magic Bar is launching in a former city centre sweet shop on St Peter’s Street with a treat for customers.

Because topping the bill among its 13 resident magicians is renowned escapologist and stamina strongman, Stuart Burrell.

Magic man Sam Watson of Houdini's Magic Bar
Magic man Sam Watson of Houdini's Magic Bar

Over the weekend, he will be trying to break his own world record for freeing himself from a pair of traditional prison transport leg irons.

Houdini’s Magic Bar is the brainchild of Sam Watson and partner Claudette Cairns who opened their first venue in Broadstairs in 2016.

Mr Watson said: “We opened our first bar in Broadstairs which was a bit of gamble but it is going really well.

"We think the Houdini experience will be perfect for a medieval city like Canterbury, which was always our ambition.

“We have some fantastic magicians performing and all the entertainment is free for guests to enjoy while they have a drink in magical surroundings.”

Escapologist Stuart Burrell is a member of the Magic Circle in London as well as the United Kingdom Escape Artists Group.

Houdini's Magic Bar in St Peter's Street
Houdini's Magic Bar in St Peter's Street

He has set or broken 20 world records and currently holds the escapology world record for the most handcuffs unlocked in one minute.

His entry in the Guinness Book of Records for escaping from a pair of double-locked regulation prisoner transport irons is one minute, 3.78 seconds - set in July 2015.

It shaved more than 30 seconds from his own previous world record.

He will undertake a host of other escapes during his performances.

The escapologist said: “The rules are complex and, even if I follow them to the letter, I will still only have 63 seconds to get out.”

His attempts are scheduled outside the bar at 2pm and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.

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