The original Playboy Club opened in Manhattan in 1962, when customers still needed a key bearing the Playboy logo to enter into the exclusive club. Now the club re-opened and seems to be quite the same within those plush, luxurious walls. Women in cocktail dresses and men in loafers with no socks were seen dancing and shimmering around an oval bar during the opening-night party. The bunnies performed as waitresses in black corsets, rabbit ears and cottontails while offering plates of sushi and flutes of Champagne.
The VIP area featured a group of well-groomed men drinking and admiring the beautiful bunnies as they passed by. Of course, they were ignoring the collection of readings on the bookshelves nearby which contained “Lincoln,” by Gore Vidal, “The Sensuous Man,” by M. and “Rabbit, Run,” by John Updike.
The club is divided into several separate sections, many consisted of tables and velvet covered chairs, or padded, leather benches, with light reflecting off the brass bunnies and shining off the black veneer walls.
According to Bloomberg, Playboy Chief Executive Officer Ben Kohn managed to find a quiet hallway to explain high hopes for the company. Playboy is in the midst of a very good year in which profits are up 25 percent. The company seeks lots of opportunities to expand in its future, particularly in the United States.
Playboy ditched its licensing business in the domestic market five years ago and instead began investing in places where the Playboy brand still conveyed an air of American exceptionalism, according to Bloomberg. Southeast Asia is home to five Playboy clubs, cafes and beer gardens while London is home to one Playboy club.
Last year, the company’s founder Hugh Hefner passed away at the age of 91, making the timing of all plans challenging. Hefner created a legacy and turned Playboy into a lucrative empire. He believed in having a buxom blond on each arm, which led to a symbol of success. However, recently insatiable bed-hopping is losing all its glamour. The brand instead plans to back its libertarian and personal-freedom roots, according to Kohn. He later adds fun to his list of goals for the brand.
Cooper Hefner, the 27-year-old son of Hugh Hefner and former Playmate Kimberly Conrad, explained further on Twitter saying, “I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake,” wrote Hefner, now Playboy’s chief creative officer. “Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem. Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are.”
“As you know, journalism is under attack every day by the White House,” he adds, “but there’s also censorship on social media. Those are issues of freedom of speech, which we’ve been fighting on behalf of for 65 years, and we need to address them again going forward. Those personal freedoms, those libertarian points of view are important to bring back.”
Mel Rodriguez told Forbes she feels that the club is far from exploitative. “The women here are being celebrated for their beauty, and as long as it is done respectfully, I see nothing wrong.”
The Playboy Club offers artisan cocktails and world-class culinary dishes, while the menu seems to resemble an Asian flair. However, there are food from all over the world including quail eggs, filet mignon, sushi, truffle fries, and even mac and cheese. The club also intends to incorporate Playboy themed events such as Masquerade Night and Hef’s Haunted House.
While the Playboy Club re-opened beautifully and exposed a whole new world with its proper way of living and hopefully a more responsible, respectful society, Esquire claims “it’s more boring than ever.” According to Esquire, “A safe space for men to ogle women’s bodies (consensually, of course) is not necessarily what we need most in these politically-electric days.” What a coincidence, since Hugh Hefner actually left Esquire magazine and began Playboy magazine the following year.