POETRY AND THE FEAST – Review of the Playboy Club London

The Playboy Club London, a private members club, opened in June 2011. The gaming and entertainment venue features the Dining Room, a restaurant; Salvatore’s, a cocktail bar; the Cottontail Lounge, a nightclub; the Players Bar and a Smoking Terrace; Gentlemen’s Tonic, a barber; and a Casino offering table games and high-limit salon privé gaming rooms.

The famous Bunny hostesses and croupiers are expected to encompass the poise of a debutante, the personality of a TV presenter, the brains of a mathematician and ‘the girl next door’ type of appeal. Asked about the ideal playboy customer, founder Hugh Hefner’s answer in the sixties was ‘somebody with money and taste’.

Renowned mixologist Salvatore Calabrese, known as the ‘Maestro’, offers a luxurious cocktail menu featuring spirits dating back as far as the 18th century. Executive Chef Judy Joo, a Korean food expert known for her appearances on Iron Chef UK, has worked alongside some of the world’s top chefs at Michelin-starred restaurants including Gordon Ramsay, the Fat Duck and the French Laundry. Perhaps uniquely, Judy used to be a derivatives trader before her career as a chef.

The Playboy Club is located at 14 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, only blocks from the original site which opened in 1966.

The Playboy Club, who is it for?
To bait a date
To sate a mate
To party late
To love and … ?

A palace for grownups
For divorcés with pre-nups
Where the valets are in guise
Vanity ballet for the eyes
Courage, go, go! Enter the château
Males aglow, tails all faux

Those dresses the girls don
Iconic, tested, proved
Reward being kept on
Yet invite being removed

Begone, fantasies! Off t’the bar
Salvatore, Maestro, mixing czar
Cocktails shaken, stirred with drama
‘Gainst the sumptuous panorama

His is London’s best selection
Vintage drinks made to perfection
The years these spirits were distilled
Rococo reigned, Nelson was killed

Money and plastic
They mingle bombastic
Both made from oil
And out for a spoil
Egos grow thicker
Morals retire
What lads splurge on liquor
Gals skimp on attire

“Some rise by sin”
Up to the Roulette we hop
“And some by virtue fall”
It’s knowing when to stop

Smiling croupiers purr
Beguile you, cut you square
Seek solace at the barber
Who’s shearing only hair

Fortune tempted, lost my chips
Consoling fries may nourish my hips
Rosy-cheek petal holds me captive
‘Nough! Here’s metal more attractive

The kitchen’s ruled by Judy Joo
Food – and name – too good t’be true

A sea bass is luscious, juicy, it excels
Which, in here, it shares with much else

Korean fusion, tacos bursting with umami
Surreal surroundings, reminiscent of Murakami

Generously portioned pork with crackling
I’m hush and happy amidst the cackling

What carnival of carnivorous carnality, oh festival of femme fatality!

A wink of Boucher
Shiny and risqué
Airs of Jeff Koons
Kapoor’s balloons

It’s all tongue-in-cheek
And so was my review
It may pique, it may intrigue
May long live King Hugh.


Playboy Club London
14 Old Park Lane
020 7491 8586

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