The Playboy brand and all that comes with it certainly divides the opinion amongst us ladies. Are the fluffy tail and bunny ear outfits degrading to the sophisticated modern woman out there? Or are they a nostalgic reminder of a playful and glamorous 60s era?
Whatever your line of thinking, there’s no questioning that a newer, shinier and incredibly more stylish successor of London’s original Playboy Club has got people talking. Thirty years after the original club closed, Mr Hugh Hefner has brought back the Playboy Club to trendy Mayfair.
‘But what’s in it for the girls?’ I hear you cry. Well, in December last year, world-leading bartender Salvatore Calabrese helped set up a namesake bar within the London home of Playboy. Aside from the cottontail lounge, restaurant and casino which sit under the same roof in Old Park Lane, Salvatore has created a quirky art deco-esque haven for the most discerning of cocktail drinkers. Or, girls like us who just appreciate an exquisite martini.
Oddly-shaped mirrors adorn the walls and candle-lit tables are overlooked by a black and white canvas of the ‘Rat pack’ – from the earlier Playboy Bunny days.
While a team of grey corseted bunnies serve you at your table, you might notice the miniature Playboy cut-outs which cover the surrounding walls and let in a glow of light.
Fancy something a little fiery? The ‘Spicy Fifty’ is a mouth-tingling combination of Stoli Vanilla vodka, elderflower cordial, fresh lime juice, honey syrup and chilli pepper – something Salvatore concocted following his residence at FIFTY in London’s St James’.
Or how about a ‘Breakfast Martini’? A tangy mix of lemon juice, Contreau, Bombay Sapphire, and you guessed it, marmalade. The mixologist, who hails from the Amalfi Coast, was never a fan of the first meal of the day. So when he took one bite into a slice of marmalade on toast as insisted by his wife, he immediately found the base for his next masterpiece.
It’s no wonder Salvatore has served the likes of Stevie Wonder, Robert De Niro and even Her Majesty the Queen. The Playboy’s resident mixologist known as ‘The Maestro’ has a passion for the finest vintage cocktails you can get. Super premium tequilas, 1930s Gordon’s gin, and Cognacs dating back to the 1800s all feature in ‘The Maestro’s’ long list of ingredients.
A Sazerac based on an 1805 French cognac will set you back £2,000. But for a flirtatious night out with the girls, you could be just as tempted by a Bunny Bubbles, Playboy Fizz or Blueberry Muffin Martini.
You might not be into your Russian Roulette or Blackjack, but this seems to be the Playboy Bunny club of the 21st Century. Glamorous? Yes. Seedy? Absolutely not. Good cocktails? Without a doubt. I think Salvatore has won over us girls.
Playboy Club London, 14 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London,W1K 1ND; Contact: +44 (0) 20 7491 8586, firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Sunday to Tuesday 6pm – 2am and Wednesday to Saturday 6pm – 3am.
by Lucy McGuire