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The scene: This iconic club reopened in 2011 after a 30-year hiatus, proving there’s as much currency in gambling and girls as the first ever Playboy Club in Chicago (circa 1960) raked in all those years ago.

But while it sits in the middle of Mayfair and boasts the obligatory burly bouncers out front, there’s something surprisingly inclusive about the venue.

The glamorous bunnies who greet me and escort me between the bar, restaurant and nightclub are smiling and chummy, not cold and superior. Famous mixologist Salvatore Calabrese comes over for a chat about his signature Spicy Fifty cocktail as I sup it in his titular bar. And I spot as many female as male customers throughout the evening, all eagerly absorbing the old-school glitz.     

The grub The Dining Room is an eatery separated from The Casino by only a flimsy partition – you can watch people throwing their money away at the tables, all (wo)manned by bunnies, from your seat.

The menu is adeptly suited to people settling in for a long night of boozing and gambling, essentially comprising posh versions of American diner food with the odd Asian twist, courtesy of Korean executive chef Judy Joo (a star of America’s Food Network).

Starters of pork belly steamed buns and blinis with smoked salmon are competent, but the portions are huge and almost fill my date and I up before the mains. Happily, my prime ribeye steak is so full of juicy, fatty flavour it hardly needs any accompaniment, though I’m talked into a side of mac ‘n’ cheese with garlic crumb gratin by my waiter (say a prayer for my arteries).

I had been tempted by the Hef Burger, which though steep at £40 is made from wagyu and comes with truffle ketchup and a glass of bubbly. But I’m pleased to have saved room for dessert; a brilliant pistachio brûlée that’s rich but not sickly.      

Behind the bar Wine from £6/ £25 per glass/ bottle. Cocktails from £14.50. 

Bill please Starters from £7; mains from £10; desserts from £7. 

Verdict As classy as new money, but priceless novelty value.

14 Old Park Lane, W1K 1ND  
Tube | Hyde Park


The Dining Room at Playboy Club London - review: 'As classy as new money, but priceless novelty value'
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