Playboy Club
The Playboy Club initially was a chain of nightclubs and resorts owned and operated by Playboy Enterprises
Playboy Enterprises
Playboy Enterprises, Inc. is a privately held global media and lifestyle company founded by Hugh Marston Hefner to manage the Playboy magazine empire. Its programming and content are available worldwide on television networks, Websites, mobile platforms and radio...

. The first club opened at 116 E. Walton Street in downtown Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, on February 29, 1960. Each club generally featured a Living Room, a Playmate Bar, a Dining Room and a Club Room. Members and their guests were served food and drinks by Playboy Bunnies
Playboy Bunny
A Playboy Bunny is a waitress at the Playboy Club. The Playboy Clubs were originally open from 1960 to 1988. The Club re-opened in one location in The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas in 2006...

 some of whom were featured in Playboy magazine. The clubs offered name entertainers and comedians in the Club Rooms and in the Living Rooms were local musicians and the occasional close-up magician. Starting with the London and Jamica club locations, the Playboy Club became international in scope. Contrary to gossip and rumors, the clubs presented members and guests with a respectable and professionally run entertainment venue. In 1991, with changing times, the club chain became defunct. In 2006, a few new clubs were re-launched and as of 2011, there are operating clubs in Macao, Cancun, and Las Vegas.

Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner
Hugh Marston "Hef" Hefner is an American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.-Early life:...

 was inspired by Burton Brown's Chicago chain of Gaslight Clubs. The Gaslight Clubs opened in 1953, featuring women dressed in velvet, one-piece "bunny" type costumes, and had live entertainment.


The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago in 1960, and later there were clubs in New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, New Orleans, Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, Detroit, San Francisco, Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, and St. Louis. There were Playboy Club resorts in Jamaica, New Jersey and elsewhere. The last American location before Playboy Club Las Vegas opened was Lansing, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although small portions of the city extend into Eaton County. The 2010 Census places the city's population at 114,297, making it the fifth largest city in Michigan...

 located in the Hilton Hotel, which closed in 1988. International Clubs existed until the 1991 closing of the Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 Club located in the Silahis International Hotel. Now International Clubs again exist with locations in Macao and Cancun. Manila was the only Club ever to be featured in Architectural Digest
Architectural Digest
Architectural Digest is an American monthly magazine. Its principal subject is interior design, not — as the name of the magazine might suggest — architecture more generally. The magazine is published by Condé Nast Publications and was founded in 1920, by the Knapp family, who sold it in 1993...

. During the last three months of 1961, more than 132,000 people visited the Chicago club, making it the busiest night club in the world.

Playboy Club membership became a status symbol. Only 21% of all key holders ever went to a club. At $25.00 per year per membership, Playboy earned $25 million for every 1,000,000 members. This revenue stream was critical to the development of the Playboy empire.

In 1965 Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner
Hugh Marston "Hef" Hefner is an American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.-Early life:...

 sent Victor Lownes
Victor Lownes
Victor Aubrey Lownes III An executive with Playboy Enterprises in various capacities, various vice-presidencies, always a close confidant of Hugh Hefner. Headed Playboy Europe and the UK Playboy Clubs from the mid-sixties until his dismissal in the early eighties...

 to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to open Playboy's British casinos, following legalization of gambling in the United Kingdom
Gambling in the United Kingdom
Gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Gambling Commission on behalf of the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport under the Gambling Act 2005...

. Gaming income from these casinos enabled Playboy to continue throwing money at financially disastrous clubs, theaters, resorts, record companies and film investments. The magazine's income was modest compared to that from these casinos. In 1981 the casino at 45 Park Lane was the most profitable casino in the world and the British casinos contributed $32 million to the corporation. Playboy showed a total profit of $31 million that year, meaning the rest of the empire made a net loss of $1 million. However, in that year Victor Lownes was fired, and gambling licenses were not renewed, thereby cutting off Playboy's biggest source of income and creating a financial crisis that would only be solved by enormous changes within the empire.

The Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva is a city in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 7,148 at the 2000 census. A resort city located on Geneva Lake, it is southwest of Milwaukee and popular with tourists from metropolitan Chicago and Milwaukee.-History:...

 had a ski slope and was one of the first to install a chair lift.

On October 6, 2006 Playboy officially opened a new Playboy Club in Las Vegas, Nevada. The new club at The Palms, with its very noticeable neon bunny head, has casinos, bars, and a restroom with pictures of Playmates on the walls.

Australian women were invited to Sydney to audition for the iconic Playboy Bunny role and for positions as singers and dancers at the Playboy Club. A minimum of five women will be chosen to travel to Macao for a six month contract as a Playboy Bunny. The Macao Playboy Club opened on November 24, 2010.

In October 2010 it was officially announced that a new Playboy Club in London was to be opened on the site of the old Rendezvous Mayfair Casino in Old Park Lane. It was opened on June 4, 2011. The 17,000sq ft property spread over two floors has been designed by acclaimed London-based Architect Jestico + Whiles. The club features a casino, cigar terrace, gentleman's tonic, sports bar ("The Player's Lounge"), night club ("The Cottontail Lounge"), cocktail bar under the direction of Salvatore Calabrase, and a fine dining restaurant under the reins of Iron Chef
Iron Chef
is a Japanese television cooking show produced by Fuji Television. The series, which premiered on October 10, 1992, is a stylized cook-off featuring guest chefs challenging one of the show's resident "Iron Chefs" in a timed cooking battle built around a specific theme ingredient. The series ended...

 Judy Joo
Judy Joo
Judy Joo is an American chef and television personality. She is currently one of the four Iron Chefs on the cooking show Iron Chef UK and a judge on the Food Network show The Next Iron Chef....


Locations and opening dates

  • Chicago (February 29, 1960)
  • Miami (May 20, 1961)
  • New Orleans (October 13, 1961)
  • St. Louis (October 16, 1962)
  • New York (December 8, 1962)
  • Phoenix (December 19, 1962)
  • Detroit (December 28, 1963)
  • Manila, Philippines (January 1964)
  • Baltimore (1964)
  • Kansas City (June 13, 1964)
  • Cincinnati (September 16, 1964)
  • Los Angeles (December 31, 1964)
  • Ochos Rios Club, Hotel, & Resort, Jamaica (January 4, 1965)
  • Boston (February 26, 1965)
  • Atlanta (March 6, 1965)
  • San Francisco (November 13, 1965)
  • London Casino & Club (July 1, 1966)
  • Montreal (July 15, 1967)
  • Denver (December 9, 1967)
  • Lake Geneva Club, Hotel, & Resort, Wisconsin (May 6, 1968)
  • Playboy Towers, Chicago (November 1, 1970)
  • Miami Plaza Club, Hotel, & Resort (December 22, 1970)
  • Great Gorge Club, Hotel, & Resort, New Jersey (December 22, 1971)
  • Clermont Club, London (1972; not strictly a Playboy Club but non-costumed Bunnies did work there)
  • Portsmouth, U.K. (December 1972)
  • Manchester, U.K. (December 13, 1973)
  • Tokyo (December 9, 1976)
  • Dallas (July 27, 1977)
  • Osaka, Japan (February 1, 1978)
  • Bahamas (April 11, 1978)
  • Nagoya, Japan (July 16, 1979)
  • Sapporo, Japan (April 25, 1980)
  • Atlantic City Hotel, Casino, & Club (April 14, 1981)
  • Buffalo (April 24, 1981)
  • St. Petersburg, Florida (May 8, 1981)
  • Lansing (September 17, 1981)
  • San Diego (December 17, 1981)
  • Columbus, Ohio (December 7, 1982)
  • Des Moines (March 12, 1984)
  • Omaha (May 18, 1984)
  • Rhodes (1999)
  • Las Vegas (October 6, 2006)

Playboy Clubs in popular culture

  • The film Hefner; an Unauthorized Biography includes leotard-wearing women being trained as hostesses in a Playboy Club.
  • In season one, episode two of Swingtown
    Swingtown was an American television series created by Mike Kelley as a summer replacement series for CBS. The show was a period and relationship drama about the impact of sexual and social liberation in 1970s American suburban households, with story arcs involving open marriages and key...

    the characters visit the Playboy Club.
  • The 1985 TV movie A Bunny's Tale
    A Bunny's Tale
    A Bunny's Tale is a 1985 television film based on American feminist icon and journalist Gloria Steinem's experiences working as a Playboy Bunny in 1963. It stars Kirstie Alley as Steinem.-Plot Summary:...

    , starring Kirstie Alley
    Kirstie Alley
    Kirstie Louise Alley is an American actress known for her role in the TV show Cheers, in which she played Rebecca Howe from 1987–1993, winning an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991...

    , was based on writer and future feminist leader Gloria Steinem
    Gloria Steinem
    Gloria Marie Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s...

    's 1963 article for Huntington Hartford
    Huntington Hartford
    George Huntington Hartford II was an American businessman, philanthropist, filmmaker, and art collector. The heir to the A&P supermarket fortune, he owned Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and had numerous other business and real estate interests over his lifetime including the Oil Shale Corporation...

    's Show magazine, a critical account of her time working as a Playboy Bunny
    Playboy Bunny
    A Playboy Bunny is a waitress at the Playboy Club. The Playboy Clubs were originally open from 1960 to 1988. The Club re-opened in one location in The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas in 2006...

     at the New York Playboy Club.
  • the 2000 TV movie A Tale of Two Bunnies (aka Price of Beauty), bring the story of two girls who try out as Playboy Bunnies in 1961, starring Marina Black and Julie Condra
    Julie Condra
    Julie Michele Condra-Dacascos is an American film and television actress.She was born in Ballinger, Texas, the daughter of Priscilla Condra, and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. During her teenage years, she modeled in various catalogs and commercials.In 1982, Condra had a very small role in the...

  • In season four, episode ten of Mad Men
    Mad Men
    Mad Men is an American dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on Sunday evenings on the American cable network AMC and are produced by Lionsgate Television. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its fourth season on October 17, 2010. Each...

    the characters visit the Playboy Club.
  • September 2011 saw the premiere of NBC's
    The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

     The Playboy Club
    The Playboy Club
    The Playboy Club is an American television series that ran on NBC from September 19, 2011 to October 3, 2011. Set in 1961, the series centers around the employees of the original Playboy Club operating in Chicago....

    , a television series focusing on the employees and patrons of the first Playboy Club, located in Chicago
    Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

    . A storm of protests against the sexuality in the TV show and low ratings led to the show's cancellation on October 4, 2011. Reports state that Canadian TV will continue to run the show.
  • In the James Bond
    James Bond
    James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

     film Diamonds are forever
    Diamonds Are Forever
    Diamonds Are Forever may refer to:In literature;* Diamonds Are Forever , the fourth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series* Diamonds Are Forever, a 2004 short novel by Ryk E...

     from 1971, Bond replace his wallet with the recently killed diamond smuggler Peter Franks to confuse his contact Tiffany Case. When she opens the wallet she finds his Playboy Club Member Card, which she uses to identify the man on the floor.

External links

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