After Bringing Back Nudity, Playboy Plans on Reintroducing the Clubs
CHICAGO — Cooper Hefner isn’t just bringing nudity back to Playboy magazine. The clubs are next.
“We are planning on reintroducing the Playboy Club in the near future,” Hefner told an audience today at the Chicago International Television Festival.
Hefner, Playboy's chief creative officer, revealed the news while speaking about a new 10-part docudrama that chronicles the life of dad Hugh, “American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story.”
Hefner was instrumental in bringing back nude shots in Playboy magazine starting with its March/April 2017 issue. It had excised them out for two years.
Hefner did not elaborate any timetable or mention where the first U.S. club would be located. But he said the time is right for the Playboy Club to sprout up across the country because there’s “an obsession” with the 1950s-1970s among those aged 18 to 34.
“It excites me to imagine a time in the next few years of having Playboy clubs back and having young and old react to the brand in ways that we haven't seen since the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s," Hefner said.
Hefner noted that hid dad Hugh’s original vision of the clubs could be compared to Walt Disney’s view for his own brand.
“I think that the brand strategy that was implemented is certainly similar to Disney,” Hefner said. “You are a kid you want to go to Disneyland; when you grow up you want to go to the Playboy Mansion.
“The reality was that there was an understanding that the magazine communicated a particular lifestyle and told a specific story, and that the clubs would be introduced in order that readers and subscribers could go out and in real life and in real time to interact with what they could only find in the pages of [Playboy].”
The Playboy Club, a chain of nightclubs and resorts owned and operated by Playboy Enterprises, started up in 1960 and cost magazine subscribers $25 a year to join.
The first club opened in Chicago, followed by those in Miami; New Orleans, New York; Atlanta; Los Angeles; Detroit; San Francisco; Boston; Des Moines; Kansas City, Mo.; Phoenix; Baltimore; Cincinnati; Denver; Dallas; Buffalo; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Lansing, Mich.; San Diego; Columbus, Ohio, Lake Geneva, Wisc.; and St. Louis.
Each club 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.
In 1991, the Playboy Club chain folded. However, new clubs came in to play in 2006 in Las Vegas, Macao and Cancun, but they became defunct in 2010.
In the past five years, the Playboy Club has opened up in London and several locations in India as part of licensing agreements.