Playboy Returns to London

Thirty years after closing its doors, the Playboy club has reopened just a stone’s throw from its original location in the Mayfair district of London. That closure, in 1981, almost sent the Playboy brand into financial meltdown as the casino within the club was the most profitable in the world at the time. When the gambling licenses for the Park Lane site were not renewed it forced Playboy into selling the club, restructuring its entire organization and leaving the way open for other gentlemen’s clubs to take its place.

Many felt that these new clubs were of a much gaudier, sleazier bent than the more sophisticated, showbiz style of the original Playboy clubs and have welcomed the return of Hugh Hefner’s seemingly deathless brand. The new club is a two level, 17 000 square foot property designed by London architects Jestico + Whiles and is built on the site of the old Rendezvous Mayfair Casino in Old Park Lane. The building houses a Salvatore Calabrese cocktail lounge, a casino, a restaurant headed by Judy Joo, a sports bar, smoking terrace, gentlemen’s salon and, of course, the cottontail lounge- home of the bunny girls.