Millions of women may have marched for equality over the weekend, but looks like Playboy thinks a market still exists for their iconic cleavage-bearing, bunny ear-wearing, male gaze-approved servers. The new Cachet Boutique New York hotel opening in Midtown later this year will be home to a location of Playboy Club — marking the first time in more than 30 years that the legendary (and controversial) club will be back in the city.
Playboy Enterprises is teaming up with Merchants Hospitality and Cachet Hospitality Group to open the club, which will feature a lounge, a game room, and a full-service restaurant. Hosts, dining room servers, and cocktail servers will all be dressed as Playboy Bunnies, according to a press release. A statement says that the decor will call upon “the sexy and sophisticated aesthetic of Playboy’s rich history,” though it’s unclear how many of the rules and exclusivity of the old era will return. (The magazine did away with full nudity in a 2015 effort at rebranding.) The hotel itself, located at 510 West 42nd St., will have more than 100 rooms, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and an outdoor events space.
Playboy Club first opened in New York in 1962 as one of Hugh Hefner’s exclusive men’s club, where sometimes the models who showed up in Playboy magazine doubled as servers for the club’s clientele. Rules for the Playboy Bunnies were notoriously strict, including forbiddance of an “unkempt tail.” The club in New York ultimately closed in 1986, along with many other locations around the world.
The clubs also represent the normalized sexualization and exploitation of women’s bodies among an upper class. Feminist legend Gloria Steinem famously wrote an undercover story about how little the bunnies were paid and how far the club went in monitoring their behavior.
Besides the return of a club to New York City, Playboy and the hotels will be opening more clubs throughout Asia.