|Founded||February 29, 1960; 60 years ago|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
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The Playboy Club was initially a chain of nightclubs and resorts owned and operated by Playboy Enterprises. The first club opened at 116 E. Walton Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, United States, 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, some of whom were featured in Playboy magazine. The clubs offered name entertainers and comedians in the Club Rooms, and local musicians and the occasional close-up magician in the Living Rooms. Starting with the London and Jamaica club locations, the Playboy Club became international in scope. In 1991, the club chain became defunct. Thereafter, on October 6, 2006 a Playboy Club was opened in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino Resort, and in 2010 clubs were opened as well in Macao and Cancun. In time the Las Vegas club closed on June 4, 2012, the Macao club closed in 2013 and the Cancun club closed in 2014. In May 2014 the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles opened a Playboy-themed lounge consisting of gaming tables and Playboy Bunny cocktail waitresses.
On September 12, 2018 a Playboy Club was opened in New York City at 512 West 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. Many questioned the wisdom of opening a Playboy Club in the #MeToo era. On November 14, 2019, after just over one year in operation, the owners of the new Playboy Club in New York City announced the club had closed and the space would be re-branded as a steak house and other entertainment venue.
The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago in 1960, and later there were clubs in Miami, New Orleans, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, Boston, Des Moines, Kansas City, Phoenix, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Dallas, Buffalo, St. Petersburg, FL, Lansing, San Diego, Columbus, Lake Geneva, WI, Omaha, and St. Louis. There was also a Playboy Club in Canada, in Montreal. Playboy Clubs operated in Japan, under a franchise arrangement, in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Sapporo. There were Playboy Club resorts in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Great Gorge at McAfee, New Jersey, and at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, as well as Club-Hotels such as the Playboy Plaza in Miami Beach, Florida and Playboy Towers in Chicago. The last American location before Playboy Club Las Vegas opened was Lansing, Michigan, located in the Hilton Hotel, which closed in 1988. International Clubs existed until the 1991 closing of the Manila, Philippines Club located in the Silahis International Hotel. In 2010 International Clubs were opened in Macao and Cancun but in time the Macao Club closed in 2013 and the Cancun Club closed in 2014. Manila was the only Club ever to be featured in Architectural Digest. 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 grossed $25 million for every 1,000,000 members.
The Rabbit-headed metal Playboy key (supplanted by a metal key-card in 1966) was required for admission to a club. They were presented to the Door Bunny. Through most of the years, a strict dress code was enforced.
In 1965, Hugh Hefner sent Victor Lownes to London to open Playboy's British casinos, following legalization of gambling in the United Kingdom. In 1981, the casino at 45 Park Lane (now a luxury hotel, 45 Park Lane) was the most profitable casino in the world, and the British casinos contributed $32 million to the corporation. Later, Playboy also operated British casinos in Manchester and Portsmouth. In 1981, Playboy opened a hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, the New Jersey gaming regulators denied Playboy a permanent gaming license, and Playboy sold its interest in the unit to Elsinore Corporation, its partner in the venture, in 1984, at which time the hotel and casino were renamed The Atlantis.
The Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin featured architecture inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, operated from May 1968 until 1981, had a ski slope, and was one of the first to install a chair lift. The facility is now operated as the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. Its 'Playmate Bar' featured the Russ Long Trio and its showroom was managed by Carlo Cicirello. The 32-piece house orchestra was headed by Chicago pianist, Sam Distefano, who also conducted for such artists as Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Anthony Newley, Tony Bennett, and Ann Margret. Distefano went on to serve as Playboy's Vice President of entertainment for all Playboy Clubs and Hotels worldwide until he left Playboy Club after 25 years. The Lighter Side Trio entertained at all of the Playboy Clubs from 1972 to 1975, led by Joe DiPietro, with Douglas Brett and Charles Raimond.
The Casino Chicago
On October 6, 2006, Playboy opened a new Playboy Club in Las Vegas, Nevada. The new club at The Palms, with its prominent neon bunny head, had casinos, bars, and a restroom with pictures of Playmates on the walls. The club closed in June 2012.
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 were 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 announced that a new Playboy Club in London was to be opened on the site of the old Rendezvous Mayfair Casino 14 Old Park Lane. It was opened on June 4, 2011. The 17,000 sq ft property, spread over two floors, was designed by London-based architects Jestico + Whiles. The club features a casino, cigar terrace, gentleman's tonic, sports bar ('The Player's Lounge'), night club ('The Tale Bar'), cocktail bar under the direction of Salvatore Calabrase, and a fine dining restaurant under the reins of Iron ChefJudy Joo. Along the stair-walls, a row of lenticular portraits are hung winking and smiling at guests as they walk by.
In November 2012, spokesman Sanjay Gupta announced that PB Lifestyle, the company in India with rights to the brand, would be opening its first club in India at Candolim, Goa in December 2012. It was planned as a 22,000 square feet (2,000 m2) beach location. In April 2013, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar refused the application on 'technical grounds'. Parrikar said only individuals, not corporations, were eligible to operate a beach shack style club. The law did not preclude opening a night club. After the Goa club, PB Lifestyle planned to open clubs in Hyderabad and Mumbai. India's obscenity laws ban material deemed 'lascivious or appealing to prurient interests'.Adult magazines such as Playboy are banned in India. Designer Mohini Tadikonda has altered the original Playboy Bunnies uniform to satisfy India's obscenity laws. In 2nd half of 20th century, Spain, a local Hostess Bar businessman in the Valencia community registered the name: 'Club Playboy' and the rabbit icon. Several of this kind exist under the name.
On September 12, 2018 a new Playboy Club was opened in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. On November 14, 2019, after just over one year in business, the owners of the new Playboy Club in New York announced the club had closed.
In popular culture
- In a 1982 episode of the TV show Laverne & Shirley entitled 'The Playboy Show', guest-starring Carrie Fisher, Laverne takes a job as a Playboy Bunny at The Playboy Club despite her father's wishes.
- The 1985 TV movie A Bunny's Tale, starring Kirstie Alley, was based on writer and future feminist leader Gloria Steinem's 1963 article for Huntington Hartford's Show magazine, a critical account of her time working as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club.
- The 2000 TV movie, A Tale of Two Bunnies (aka Price of Beauty) starring Marina Black and Julie Condra, tells the story of two girls working as Playboy Bunnies in 1961.
- In the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Bond replaces his wallet with that of the recently killed diamond smuggler Peter Franks to confuse his contact, Tiffany Case. When she opens the wallet she finds Bond's Playboy Club Member Card, which she uses to identify the man on the floor.
- The film, Hefner: An Unauthorized Biography, includes leotard-wearing women being trained as hostesses in a Playboy Club.
- In Mad Men Season 4, episode 10 ('Hands and Knees'), Lane Pryce (who is a member) takes his father and Don Draper to dinner at the Playboy Club in New York City and introduces them to his 'chocolate bunny' girlfriend, Toni.
- In season one, episode two of Swingtown, the characters visit the Playboy Club.
- September 2011 saw the premiere of NBC'sThe Playboy Club, a television series focusing on the employees and patrons of the first Playboy Club, located in Chicago. A competitive 10:00 PM Monday slot contributed to low ratings and led to the show's cancellation on October 4, 2011.
- In the video game Grand Theft Auto V, players can find the Playboy mansion on the outskirts of the city. It looks identical to the real life counterpart. It also includes the tennis courts and the famous grotto.
- ^'Playboy Club Las Vegas'. destination360.com. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- ^'Playboy Bunnies Land in Macau'. The Wall Street Journal. November 22, 2010.
- ^'Playboy Club Cancun Brings Exciting Nightlife and Gaming to One of the World's Most Popular Travel Destinations' (Press release). Chicago. PR Newswire. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- ^'Most Popular E-mail Newsletter'. USA Today. June 4, 2012.
- ^Wilson Ng (2 October 2013). 'Playboy Club Sands Macao has closed down'. Places and Foods. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- ^http://www.hkclubbing.com/directory/nightclubs/playboy-club-sands-macao.htmland[permanent dead link]
- ^Phil (30 April 2014). 'Mexican Ministry closes six casinos including Playboy Cancun'. G3 Newswire. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- ^'Cancun Casino - Review of Playboy Casino Cancun, Cancun, Mexico - TripAdvisor'. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- ^'Lucky Rabbit Party Pit Playboy Poker Room'. The Commerce Casino. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- ^Thompson, Kara (13 September 2018). 'Hugh Hefner's Legendary Playboy Club Has Reopened in New York'. Town and Country.
- ^Vianna, Carla (12 September 2018). 'Playboy Club Is Back And Sounds Just as Ridiculous as Ever'. New York Eater.
- ^Eichner, Sam (14 September 2018). 'NYC's Playboy Club Is Reborn in the #MeToo Era, Bunnies and All'. The Daily Beast.
- ^Gabbatt, Adam (10 September 2018). ''Tone deaf' Playboy Club opens in New York, defying the #MeToo era'. The Guardian.
- ^Weiss, Lois (14 November 2019). 'NYC Playboy Club bunnies to hang up tails and ears after just one year'. New York Post.
- ^'IMG_8534'. Playboy Online Museum. 15 December 2015.
- ^'Playboy Club 40th Anniversary Celebration'. Explayboybunnies.com. 1960-02-29. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- ^'Luxury Hotels Mayfair, 45 Park Lane, Hotels Hyde Park London'. 45parklane.com. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- ^'Hugh Hefner connection to Wisconsin: Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel'. FOX6Now.com. 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- ^[email protected], JILL TATGE-ROZELL. ''A different time:' Hundreds attend Lake Geneva Playboy Club 50th anniversary celebration'. Kenosha News. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- ^'A History of Grand Geneva Resort & Spa'. Experience Wisconsin. 2016-09-01. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- ^'Sam Distefano, Talent Exec for Hugh Hefner and Meshulam Riklis, Dies at 88'. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
- ^'Playboy Club Opens in Las Vegas'.
- ^'Playboy Club at Las Vegas' Palms Casino Closes'. USA Today. June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- ^'Playboy Club Sands Macao Bunny Auditions In Sydney'.
- ^'New Playboy club to open in London'. The Daily Telegraph. October 19, 2010.
- ^Milton Bayer. 'Exclusive Members' Club with Casino, Cocktails, Playboy Bunny Hosts and more'. Playboy Club London. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- ^'Playboy bounces back into London'. UK Construction magazine. 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2011.
- ^'Playboy Club London – The Bunny Ears return'. The Handbook. May 12, 2011.
- ^'India to get First Playboy Club in Goa'. BBC News. November 1, 2012.
- ^'Playboy's first India club rejected in Goa'. BBC News. April 16, 2013.
- ^'Playboy denied licence to open beach club in India's party state of Goa'. The Guardian. Associated Press. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- ^Vasant, Khushita (November 2, 2012). 'Bunny Hop: Playboy Comes to India'. Wall Street Journal.
- ^'India gets ready for first Playboy club, with bunnies'. NDTV. November 1, 2012.
- ^'India Gets Ready for First Playboy Club'. CNN. December 21, 2012.
- ^Thompson, Kara (13 September 2018). 'Hugh Hefner's Legendary Playboy Club Has Reopened in New York'. Town & Country.
- ^Weiss, Lois (14 November 2019). 'NYC Playboy Club bunnies to hang up tails and ears after just one year'. New York Post.
- ^'The Playboy Show' on IMDb
- ^'Hefner:Unauthorized' on IMDb
- ^'The Playboy Club'. NBC. NBC. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
|Coordinates||41°52′36.94″N87°37′28.73″W / 41.8769278°N 87.6246472°WCoordinates: 41°52′36.94″N87°37′28.73″W / 41.8769278°N 87.6246472°W|
|Architect||Alfred Hoyt Granger and John Carlisle Bollenbacher|
|NRHP reference No.||05000109|
|Added to NRHP||February 28, 2005|
The Chicago Club, founded in 1869, is a private social club located at 81 East Van Buren Street at Michigan Avenue in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Its membership has included many of Chicago's most prominent businessmen, politicians, and families.
In the mid-1860s, a social group formed in Chicago, Illinois that met on State Street. The group later met on the top floor of the old Portland Block on the southeast corner of Dearborn and Washington Streets. Known as the 'Dearborn Club', members would meet in afternoons to drink and play cards. Members included Western Union co-founder Anson Stager, former New York State SenatorHenry R. Pierson, Judge of the Cook County Court Hugh T. Dickey, and dry goods merchant Philip Wadsworth. The Dearborn Club was shut down by the Cook County Sheriff's Office in 1868.
In January 1869, former members of the Dearborn Club organized a meeting in the Sherman House. Although nothing was decided, a second meeting was scheduled, and there a resolution was passed to create a new club for 100 Chicago citizens. For $100, a gentleman could join the Chicago Club. Wadsworth was elected the first president. Stager, Charles B. Farwell, George Pullman, George & David Gage, and Wirt Dexter each lent the club $500 to cover early expenses. Other charter members included Robert Todd Lincoln, the President's son, Perry H. Smith, the railroad magnate, Potter Palmer, and (later) Marshall Field.Former state representative Edward S. Isham drafted incorporation papers and Wadsworth delivered them to the state capitol of Springfield. The club then rented the former Henry Farnam mansion on the corner of Michigan Avenue between Jackson and Adams Streets. The first meeting of the Chicago Club was held on May 1, 1869.
The first clubhouse was destroyed by fire in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, so the club moved to 279 Michigan Avenue for two years, and then to the Gregg House at 476 Wabash Avenue. In 1876 the club built its first permanent home on Monroe Street across from the Palmer House.
In 1893, the club decided it needed larger quarters, and it purchased from the Art Institute of Chicago its former building on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street. This building has been put up in 1886-1887 and was designed by Burnham and Root to be the first home of the Institute, which moved across the street to its current location in 1892. This building remained the clubhouse until the 1920s, when it collapsed during remodelling.
To replace it, Granger and Bollenbacher designed an eight-story granite building in the Romanesque Revival style, which was completed in 1929. During construction, Burnham & Root's triple-arched entrance was moved around the corner from Michigan Avenue to Van Buren Street, where it remains the main entrance to the building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, and continues as the club's headquarters today.
The Chicago Club's by-laws specifically forbid working members of the press from entering the building. The one exception to this rule seems to have been in 1982 when a Chicago Tribune editor was able to obtain limited access.
[T]he interior splendor of the Chicago Club is as private as a stately home in England, which it much resembles in décor. Indeed, few pedestrians passing by the eight-story red-granite clubhouse at Van Buren and Michigan even know what the place is. Club members – with such names as Field, Pullman, Lincoln, McCormick, and Blair – may have shaped Chicago history. But they also have developed a sense of privacy that politely but firmly excludes: 1) The entire world, except for the club's 1,200 carefully selected members; 2) Until recently, women; and 3) Reporters and photographers. 'We'll fight to the death on that one,' growls one club board member ...
How do you get in? Don't ask. How tough is it to join? In a word, very. Not only is there a long waiting list, but an applicant needs a sponsoring member, a seconder, lots of letters of support, and a good deal of patience. Most applicants test the waters first, so formal rejections are few. But not even the well-connected can breeze in ...
Historians might argue that the Chicago Club no longer has the power it wielded in the days when its 'millionaires' table' was the lunchtime gathering place of Marshall Field, George Pullman, N. K. Fairbank, John Crerar, and a half-dozen others, each worth millions in the days when that sum meant something. 'Everything to be done in Chicago was discussed by that group, and then word was passed out', as Stanley Field put it. ... But a visitor, seated on a lobby sofa, and those who sweep in for lunch, could hardly disagree with the recent pecking-order manual, 'Who Runs Chicago?' Its conclusion: 'The Chicago Club is the center of power in Chicago. It is mandatory for the city's biggest executives to join it, unless they want to be considered not-so-big executives.
University of California 'Centrality Study'
In 1975, G. William Domhoff, professor of sociology at the University of California, ran a network analysis study on the membership of think tanks, policy-planning groups, social clubs, trade associations, and opinion-shaping groups across the country for a research project he was doing on San Francisco's Bohemian Club. The Bohemian Club turned out to be the 11th 'most connected' organization in the country. Only three social clubs ranked higher: New York's Links Club (3rd), San Francisco's Pacific Union (7th), and The Chicago Club (8th).
|Name of Organization||Type of Organization||Centrality Score (0-1)|
|1. Business Council||Policy-planning group||.95|
|2. Committee for Economic Development||Policy-planning group||.91|
|3. Links Club (NY)||Social club||.80|
|4. Conference Board||Policy-planning group||.77|
|5. Advertising Council||Opinion-shaping group||.73|
|6. Council on Foreign Relations||Policy-planning group||.68|
|7. Pacific Union (SF)||Social club||.67|
|8. Chicago Club (Chicago)||Social club||.65|
|9. Brookings Institution||Think Tank||.65|
|10. American Assembly||Policy-planning group||.65|
|11. Bohemian Club (SF)||Social Club||.62|
|12. Century Association (NY)||Social club||.48|
|13. California Club (LA)||Social club||.46|
|14. Foundation for American Agriculture||Think tank||.45|
|15. Detroit Club (Detroit)||Social club||.44|
|16. National Planning Association||Policy-planning group||.36|
|17. Eagle Lake (Houston)||Social club||.33|
|18. National Municipal League||Policy-planning||.33|
|19. Somerset Club (Boston)||Social club||.32|
|20. Rancheros Vistadores (Santa Barbara)||Social club||.26|
The Casino Club Chicago Il In The 50 S
- ^'National Register Information System'. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
- ^Blair 1898, pp. 13–14.
- ^Blair 1898, pp. 14–15.
- ^Andrews, Wayne (1946). Battle for Chicago. Harcourt Brace and Company.
- ^Blair 1898, pp. 16–18.
- ^ abc'The Gem of the Avenue' on the Chicago Club website
- ^Anderson, Jon. 'Chicago's Ace of Clubs - How difficult is it to get in? Don't Ask'Chicago Tribune (April 11, 1982). p. J12
- ^G. William Domhoff, 'Social clubs, policy-planning grups, and corporations: A network study of ruling-class cohesiveness,' The Insurgent Sociologist, Vo. 5, No. 3, 1975, p. 178.
- Blair, Edward T. (1898). A History of the Chicago Club.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
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