Originally published in the August 1960 issue of Playboy.
The Playboy Club—introduced as a concept in January—is now an exciting, elegant reality. The initial club—in Chicago—has become, almost overnight, one of the most singularly successful, most talked abut night spots in the U.S. The Playboy Key—with the familiar rabbit emblem stamped upon it—has become a new and meaningful status symbol amongst men of means. No one who is really IN wants to be without it, for if you are not a member of the club, and do not hold a key, you cannot enter; and The Playboy Club is a meeting place for the most important, most aware, most affluent men of the community.
Suitable locations have already been chosen for clubs on both coasts, and their doors will be “closed for business” (we cannot say “open” for business, because the club doors will always be closed except to members) this fall. There will soon be Playboy Clubs in major cities throughout the country, and eventually throughout the world. But the lock on each door will be exactly the same and a member’s key will admit him to his club whether he is in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Dallas, London or Paris. Membership is limited to the men of substance and influence in each urban area; the initial fee is fifty dollars, which assures membership for life, provided members break none of the club rules: further information about membership may be had by writing to the magazine.
The establishment of The International Playboy Club is our way of recognizing the need, on the part of urban men of taste and sophistication, for a private club that is as unique and entertaining as Payboy itself. The Playboy Club is dedicated to projecting the richly romantic mood, the fun and the joie de vivre, that are so much a part of the publication; as Payboy has gained a reputation for being the smartest and most sophisticated of journals, so The Playboy Club will be similarly known as a gathering place for those who appreciate this side of life.
The first Playboy Club is a prototype of those to follow. There is no name of any kind outside announcing what lies within to the uninitiated—only the rabbit emblem in black and silver on either side of the door and stamped upon the taut white canvas of the canopy.
A Bunny takes an order from a member and his guests at a table in the Playmate Bar.
Once inside, the member finds a warmth and intimacy, combined with cocktail party gaiety, that one would expect only in a private apartment. There is fine food and drink and entertainment and, of course, numberless beautiful women—many of them models and some of them Playmates from past issues of the magazine. The girls are called Bunnies and they’re invitingly attired in brightly colored rabbit costumes, complete to the ears and white cotton tails. A Bunny greets you as you enter and asks for your key number; then your name is posted on the member’s board for the time that your are in the club, so that friends will know that you are there. The Chicago club has three floors to choose from and there’ll soon be a fourth (a replica of the Playboy’s Penthouse TV set is now being constructed).
A jazz combo cooks and club members swing with it in the cozy Living Room.
The Playmate Bar, on the first level, is warmly illuminated by back-lit reproductions of our most popular gatefold girls. A stereo high fidelity system to top all hi-fi systems—custom-crafted for the club by Allied Radio of Chicago—fills the entire premises with disc and tape sounds from a library of music especially selected by Playboy’s editors. The system’s proportions are as remarkable as those of the Bunny Girls who man the controls, one of whom is July 1958 Playmate Linné Ahlstrand, whose provocative personage graces the pin-up wall nearby. The hi-fi installations is valued at something over $27,000 and is the most elaborate custom-built rig in the city; it includes, among other interesting innovations, a closed-circuit TV with controls that permit you to catch other members with the camera, or come in tor entertaining close-ups of the Bunnies.
On the third level, in the Playboy Library, you’ll find a miniature show of the most sophisticated sort: the romantic ballads of Mabel Mercer, the belting blues of Mae Barnes and the pixie humor of Professor Irwin Corey entertained in the Playboy Library the first few weeks after the club’s official “closing.” Members begin filling the club’s premises as soon as the business day ends, and The Playboy Club swings until 4 a.m.—5 a.m. on Saturdays. Members have found it the perfect place for entertaining both personal and business guests, but most of all, it is a place where they themselves feel at home and are able to have a fine and thoroughly relaxing time—an escape from the cares of the workaday world into the easy-does-it scene that is Playboy. Within the next few months, there will be Playboy Clubs and club franchises established in key cities throughout the U.S., and we’ll bring you reports from time to time on further developments and doings.
Editor-Publisher Hugh M. Hefner surrounded by a dozen of the Playboy Club’s Bunny Girls—ample explanation for the club’s popularity. Bunnies are chosen from all over the U.S.