The Excalibur nightclub in Chicago was first opened in 1989. It is located in the former Chicago Historical Society building which is a Chicago historical landmark. The building was constructed in 1892 and designed by Henry Ives Cobb in the Romanesque Revival style; the gothic pair of large and imposing winged gargoyles at the entrance are a more recent addition.
The club was opened by Fred Hoffmann, who purchased the building in January 1989 from Peter Gatien for $3.5 million. Gatien had been the owner of the New York nightclub The Limelight and had operated a club in the Chicago building under that name as well, but closed it in 1985. Hoffman spent $1 million renovating the building, and at the time of its opening in 1989 it was the largest non-hotel entertainment facility in Chicago.1 The club is operated by Hoffman's company, Ala Carte Entertainment.2
CNN reported that on April 24, 2001, a waitress at the club, Colleen Gallagher, was tipped $11,000 by a customer on a $60 bar tab.3
The building is said to be haunted, as it was used as a makeshift morgue for victims of the Eastland Disaster of 1915, and has been the site of several television shows on the subject. It is the site of a weekly theater show about the paranormal, Supernatural Chicago, hosted by its resident "necromancer," Neil Tobin. A Houdini seance is also presented there annually by Tobin and the Chicago Assembly of the Society of American Magicians.
The northern portion of the building has its own entrance and is operated as a sister nightclub, Vision, known for its trance podcasts, and for working with the online radio station, Sense.fm.4 Notable guests who have played at Vision have included Rihanna, MSTRKRFT, Moby, Paul van Dyk, Benny Benassi, Cosmic Gate, Armin Van Buuren, Tiësto, and Gareth Emery.
On December 31, 2012, after a six month remodeling process, the Excalibur and Vision Nightclub concepts were retired and the club re-launched as the multi-venue, "The Castle", with a 3 million dollar remodeling and complete replacement of decor, lighting and sound systems. The Castle contains three nightclubs, a restaurant, lounge and craft cocktail bar, as well as private party facilities.5