Visitors taking a daytime stroll along Kyoto’s Kiyamachi-dori, a picturesque, tree-fringed road near the famed districts of Gion and Pontocho, may wonder why one of its shuttered shops is painted over with an image of a dapper, mustachioed man bedecked in a black top hat.

At dusk, when canal-side lanterns illuminate the street, the story behind both the artwork and the establishment itself comes into clearer focus. A sign out front promises “elixirs and mystery,” and this is precisely what awaits inside the enchanted world of Christophe Rossi’s L’Escamoteur Bar.

A trained magician in addition to owner and head bartender, Rossi puts on a show with L’Escamoteur’s decor alone: a couch suspended from the ceiling; books and liquor bottles darting through the air via a pulley system; smoke rising from his expertly crafted cocktails, which are delivered with a flair he has cultivated over years of honing his magic artistry.