After 30 years, Playboy Enterprises is relaunching in London, with the unveiling of a club/casino on Old Park Lane in Mayfair. It’s a stone’s throw from the previous incarnation, which was located on Park Lane, and was shut down in 1981 after its gaming license was revoked.
It may not be to everyone’s tastes but Business Traveller, who attended last night’s preview party, can confirm that the bunnies are back, complete with red or black satin bodices, bow ties, cuffs and trademark ears. It also noticed that more women were in attendance than men, suggesting that attitudes have perhaps shifted somewhat over the decades, and the nightspot will not be solely for male clientele.
The venue occupies the site of the old Rendezvous Mayfair Casino, and features a sultry cocktail bar (open daily from 4pm) called Salvatore’s, complete with bottles of Cristal champagne on ice, vintage brandy in glass cases, leather banquettes, and slick barmen in smart black shirts and gold braces.
There’s also the Dining Room, which dishes up Korean cuisine from executive chef Judy Joo for both lunch and dinner, the Cottontail Lounge (open Wednesday to Sunday from 10pm) that sports tables with ice buckets built in and colourful LED lighting, a Gentlemen’s Tonic barbershop, the Players bar (open from 4pm) and an outdoor smoking terrace on the first floor.
Also located upstairs is the casino – a Vegas-inspired gaming floor open 24/7 and complete with 18 tables including American roulette, blackjack, three-card poker and punto banco, as well as a slot salon, electronic roulette and, of course, bunny croupiers.
It should be noted that if you want to play, you will need ID, and minimum bets start from £5 for roulette, £10 for blackjack and three-card poker, and £25 for punto banco. A poker table will also be available for private cash games.
Those interested in experiencing the club first-hand will have to apply for membership in advance, which costs £1,200 a year (plus a £1,000 joining fee) or £15,000 for life. One of the privileges of joining will include being able to make use of its facilities for private events.
Adam Roberts, club director at Playboy London, says: “Successful applicants will be people from all walks of life with interesting stories to tell, people who go and grab life and enjoy the fruits of success – the kind of people you would love to share a drink with.”
The Playboy club London originally opened in 1966 and, since then, other venues have opened in the likes of Macao, Miami and Las Vegas. It is expected that the new club will “again cater to some of the biggest names in entertainment, sports and business”.
Report by Jenny Southan
The images below are CGI images of the new club, along with a photo taken at the preview event.