The Playboy Club Is Coming Back to New York City
A blast from the past.
Manhattan's original 1962 Playboy Club was a members-only den of debauchery, often quoted in pop culture, and famously investigated by feminist and writer Gloria Steinem, who went undercover herself as a hired “Bunny” for a tell-all story.
But since it shuttered in 1986, Manhattan has been devoid of this particular slice of nightlife, accessible only to members called “keyholders” who paid about $25 a year for the honor. The iconic Bunnies included the likes of Debbie Harry and Lauren Hutton.
The new Playboy Club will feature a lounge area, game room, and full-service dining room, according to the press release—although, as it notes, “by far the most attractive feature of Playboy Club New York will undoubtedly be the return of the Playboy Bunnies to Manhattan.” The release adds that the Bunnies have a “worldwide, well-deserved reputation for their style and graciousness.” In Steinem's investigation, she found that Bunnies were fitted with everything from special costumes to personalized false eyelashes, and were given “demerits” if their “tails” should droop or tights should run.
The Playboy Club reopening comes in the midst of a moment of transition for the legendarily scandalous Playboy brand, which stopped publishing nude photos in 2015 and sold its stately Los Angeles-area mansion in 2016, although 90-year-old founder Hugh Hefner continues to live there.
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The Clubs themselves have gone in and out of fashion over the last three decades. At one time, about 40 were in operation, but it appears the corporation is pushing for a new era of expansion. More Clubs are now slated to open in locations across Asia, according to the release, alongside the few that currently exist in cities like Las Vegas, Beirut, Los Angeles, and Hyderabad, India, where Bunny costumes have been modified to adhere to local modesty laws.