Originally published on Wednesday, 1st June 2011
Experience Is The Best Teacher
The new Playboy Club combines some of the games’ most celebrated old-hands.
A group of 20-somethings create their first start-up bar. The hype is huge, the venue tiny, the clientele young and, okay, hot. But this being their first bar things aren’t perfect. The the plaster is flaking, the crowd fickle, the toilets flooding, the beer warm and cheap and not in a good way.
There’s an old Chinese proverb, that “to know the road ahead, ask the man with the well-thumbed A-Z.” So sidestepping any moral issues with bunny-clad girls and gambling, we’re feeling something akin to – is that relief? – about the new Playboy Club.
It’s not the members’ fee that’s jingling our metaphorical bells (£1200 p.a. or £15k for life, if you’re interested). It’s not Judy Joo’s Korean resto, the £2k vintage Sazerac on the cocktail menu, the bunny tails or even the prospect of splurging at the tables (because, let’s face it, the only place worth really gambling is Vegas).
What we’re all over is that the cocktail bar is run by the pencil-moustachioed Salvatore Calabrese (ex-Duke’s, Lanesborough and 50 St James) who’s shaken more cocktails than we’ve had, well, shaken cocktails – which is quite a few. That it’s in a club which is the new incarnation of a legendary venue that saw its heyday back in the 1960s, is owned by the inimitable Hugh Hefner (now in his 80s), and shares its name with the latest NBC Mad Men-esque drama – which is looking similarly hot.
Shoreditch start-up this certainly ain’t. But sometimes those mature types really do know what they’re up to.