First Look review: Mad Hatter’s (Gin &) Tea Party is a seriously creative and whimsical good time
By Michael Dritto
Playing at: 2239 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago’s South Loop. Tickets are available for $65 per person and can be purchased by visiting here. Seating is limited, running multiple times Thursday through Sunday through the end of December.
Basic storyline: You are invited to a trip down the Rabbit Hole for a pop-up theatrical cocktail experience with the Mad Hatter and friends. For 90 minutes, guests will be waited upon with a variety of gin-infused teas while the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse serenade and entertain — in order to avoid confrontation with the Queen of Hearts and Time herself.
What stood out: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is one of the most immersive experiences I have encountered in Chicago, and an incredibly clever way to couple an interactive adventure with the Rabbit Hole gin and whiskey brand.
Upon entering the converted bar, you are led down an elaborately decorated queue that literally transports you down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland. Once through, one of the Tweedles escorts you to your own private table, eclectically populated with various teacups, surprise mystery ingredients and a small assortment of tea-related snacks.
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is one of the most immersive experiences I have encountered. … The event is outlandish and absurd and laugh-out-loud funny.
Side note: Make sure you eat before arriving. The snacks provided, while tasty, will not likely be enough to curb the effects of the amount of alcohol you will be consuming.
To get the full experience, it is recommended that you dress up, but not to worry if you don’t because you’ll be provided with a selection of extravagant hats. Each hat is decorated with a unique element added on top, such as buttons, feathers, smaller hats, etc. I highly suggest wearing one.
The event is outlandish and absurd and laugh-out-loud funny. It is on par with Disney World-level theming and could easily be turned into a Disney in-park experience if they were ever bold enough to indulge in the edgy, adult humor that Mad Hatter’s so successfully leans into.
COVID precautions: Face masks and temperature checks are mandatory for entry, tables will be separated by six feet, hand sanitizer will be readily available and event space and costumes will be disinfected after each seating.
Final thoughts: Hats off to Fever and the Mad Hatter staff for putting together a unique and original experience that allows people to venture out into the world again in a safe, social way.
Mad Hatter’s (Gin &) Tea Party provides an atmosphere of silliness and fun that has seriously been lacking during this time of COVID. So allow yourself to escape to your own local Wonderland and grab some drinks with the Mad Hatter.