London Social 101** Playboy Club London

I had the ultimate pleasure of being invited to review the  Playboy Club London, which if you haven’t heard of it, it is a thrillingly decadent adult adventure playground, combining a high-limit casino with destination night-life and unique entertainment. I have to be honest in saying that I really wasn’t sure what to expect, the only time I’d ever seen anything even remotely resembling a Playboy Club was on an episode of Sex in the City…

Situated just metres from the 1960’s Playboy Club in the prestigious Mayfair district, I was to discover that the new Playboy private members club is uninhibited and innovative, representing modern British heritage and old school glamour. (I’m told that it has become the haunt of choice for London’s elite since opening its doors in 2011!)

Salvatore interior

Salvatore interior

Quite surprisingly (rightly or wrongly so) the venue has elements of vintage and classic design mixed with modern embellishments.

I was actually quite excited to catch a glimpse of one of the iconic Playboy Bunnies in person, I wasn’t disappointed, they were truly stunning and really accommodating. I was pleased that our host came from Chester originally, I felt right at home! To understand the Bunny you simply have to meet one in person. Bunnies – whether they are croupiers or valets – have a global, magnetic, rare appeal and a subtle beauty. They are an elite, admired, exclusive group of women trained as Bunnies to withhold the finest etiquette standards. They can be found across the whole venue – in Salvatore’s Baroque, Players Bar and on the casino Floor. Playboy Club London Bunnies are staggeringly intelligent, charismatic individuals who consistently strive to be at the top of their service career…they do so with charm, wit and warmth that is alluring both to male and female members.

I was really treated to the full experience, which began, rather nicely so at cocktails then ventured onto food and then entertainment.

Although Playboy Lounge operates as a private members club, it does have an option for non-members can experience access to the ground floor – Salvatore’s and Baroque – via table bookings and guest list. This is where my journey down the rabbit hole began.

Salvatore at Playboy

Salvatore at Playboy is a world-renowned cocktail bar on the ground floor with Salvatore Calabrese – ‘the Maestro’ – at its helm, unquestionably the world’s best mixologist, a man whose patrons include Robert De Niro, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stallone and The Queen herself! I’d actually been invited to The House of Peroni the night before where Salvatore’s son, Gerry did an exclusive cocktail making master class, which was unreal! I knew I was in for a treat with Salvatore at the helm!

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Salvatore at Playboy Club London is an intimate luxuriant self contained cocktail bar showcasing the world’s finest collections of liquid history specialising in vintage cognacs dating back to the 1700’s, which really are of the variety of the ‘seen to be believed’.

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I was left spoilt for choice as I was faced with the most exceptional cocktail creations a cocktail lover could wish for including the infamous Spicy Fifty, the Breakfast Martini and a range of classic cocktails created with vintage spirits, mixed with vintage shakers and stirrers and served in vintage glassware.

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Salvatore at Playboy has won a plethora of awards including the prestigious ‘London’s Best Bar’, and Salvatore himself took home the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award’ and his fame has spread far and wide.

Judy Joo at Playboy

After a couple of the most exquisite cocktails I have ever tasted, I was escorted to Judy Joo’s restaurant, which is nestled in intimate surroundings, which truly provides a modern take on comfort food that will entice the most discerning palette.

The infamous 'Hef' Burger

The infamous ‘Hef’ Burger

I was told that Executive Chef Judy Joo is a familiar face on TV and in the US Magazines with a growing celebrity following.

The menu offering did not disappoint! Here’s a peek at the amazing food we were treated to:

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The desert selection was UNREAL!

The desert selection was UNREAL!

Baroque at Playboy

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After a stunning meal, we had ‘one for the road’ as we journeyed back to the ground floor to Baroque at Playboy, the brainchild of Gerry Calabrese…an unashamedly decadent nightspot which hosts a series of seductive cabaret nights from Thursday to Saturday that culminate with DJ’s until 3am for true revellers. Baroque harks back to the 1960’s with a riveting entertainment programme including the Baroque Cabaret Troupe, the Baroque Big Band and some of London’s finest DJ’s set against the lavish surroundings of a vintage Champagne and cocktail bar. With Champagne Towers providing a welcome spectacle for guests there are also Gourmet sharing platters and caviar to accompany.

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The champagne was the perfect end to a wonderful evening that left me certain that I will return soon! The musical Jazz tones ended the evening on the perfect note! Leave your preconceptions at the door – The Playboy Lounge is a delight to be experienced! Mark my words!

Visit www.playboyclublondon.com

Situated on 14 Old Park Lane, Playboy Club London is a leading Mayfair private members club and casino. It is completely unique on the London scene as the only members’ destination that has the added pull of a gaming floor.

The venue is open 24 hours 7 days a week. It is the only home to the official London Playboy Bunnies. Playboy Club London leaves a lasting impression representing quality, style and contemporary refinement.

Salvatore at Playboy is open Monday to Saturday from 6pm-2am. Baroque at Playboy is open Thursday to Saturday from 8pm-3am. Judy Joo’s restaurant is open 7 days a week from midday-1am. The Casino floor and Players Bar are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Playboy Club London opened in June 2011 with Hugh Hefner in attendance after great anticipation and affection towards the 1966 Playboy Club which closed in 1981 as Playboy Enterprises took a 30 year hiatus, and turned attention away from the casino world.

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Pop-up 101 – Get out of the norm and into Hutch

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THE HUTCH CLUB
-Subterranean Cocktail & Jazz Lounge launches at Quaglino’s-

This summer sees the launch of THE HUTCH CLUB at QUAGLINO’S in Mayfair (www.quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk/the-hutch-club): a glamorous cocktail and jazz pop up bar which plays homage to the venue’s hedonistic spirit, which began when flamboyant host Giovanni Quaglino opened the doors to a beautiful, decadent society crowd in 1929.

Named after ‘Hutch’ one of the most popular cabaret entertainers of the twentieth century who took London’s café society by storm. Legend has it that he created a stir by arriving at nightclubs with a white piano strapped to his chauffeur–driven car, dressed like an aristocrat and dazzled audiences with his brilliance.

The velvet voice of Hutch was one of the highlights of an evening at Quaglino’s and he was idolised by all the best people—The Prince of Wales even asked him to play at St James’s Palace.

THE HUTCH CLUB at QUAGLINO’S will be located in the depths of the iconic London venue from 1st June 2013 – 31st August 2013 and will boast an Art Deco inspired Martini Bar, a private Drinking Den and London’s first boutique alcoholic Popcorn Bar – we like this!

Strictly by reservation only, guests will descend into an underground late-night bar featuring vintage golden palm trees, dimly lit cocktail lounges and the old-fashioned glamour of a grand piano, overlooking the legendary sweeping staircase to Quaglino’s restaurant floor.

The late-night revelry and charm of evenings with Hutch will be revived with a programme of live jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings, featuring the Basin Street Brawlers who will bring to life the hottest stomps and rag tunes from the roaring 1920’s. Other acts include vintage vocal duo Verity & Violet; Benoit Viellefon and His Hot Club playing the feverish swinging music that emerged from the infamous Parisian Cafes of that era and The Dixie Ticklers, playing Dixieland jazz with a contemporary London edge.

The Hutch Club will feature London’s first boutique alcoholic Popcorn Bar curated by gourmet popcorn connoisseurs Joe & Seph, who have designed an exclusive Gin & Tonic flavour with No 3 London Dry Gin for the club, among other alcoholic varieties to be paired with artfully crafted cocktails.

Guests can take pleasure in late summer evenings at the luxurious subterranean lounge; from an Art Deco inspired Martini Bar to a decadent Drinking Den, which can be booked exclusively for your own special event.

A wonderful array of heritage cocktails will be served, featuring iconic spirit brands Courvoisier Exclusif VSOP Cognac, The Macallan Amber Malt Whisky, No3 London Dry Gin and elit by Stolichnaya Vodka.

Guests will also be able to indulge in a delicious selection of alcohol-infused small plates priced at £5.50 per person per dish. Dishes include Salmon Tartar with Vodka Jelly & Herring Roe; Oyster & Gin Soup with Lime & Coriander; Duck Breast with Cognac, Cherry & Chilli and Smoked Chocolate Ice Cream with Whisky Cream & Mandarin Popcorn.

The Hutch Club will also play host to a number of exciting master classes where guests can learn and explore the art of mixology. Blind wine tastings at The Secret
Wine Club will allow budding oenophiles a chance to guess the wine to receive a complimentary cocktail to enjoy in The Hutch Club after dinner.

Entry strictly by reservation only:
Contact 020 7930 6767 / thehutchclub@quaglinos.co.uk
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Address: The Hutch Club at Quaglino’s, 16 Bury Street, London, SW1Y 6AJ
Website: http://www.quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk/the-hutch-club
E-mail: thehutchclub@quaglinos.co.uk
Twitter: @TheHutchClub

FULL PROGRAMME OF LIVE MUSIC EVENTS & PERFORMERS

Basin Street Brawlers (www.basinstreetbrawlers.com)
29th June, 12th July, 2nd & 16th August
Bringing to life the hottest stomps, rags and Dixieland tunes from the roaring 1920’s

Benoit Viellefon and his Hot Club (www.benoitandhisorchestra.com)
7th & 28th June, 19th July, 30th August
Playing the feverish swinging music that emerged from the infamous Parisian Cafes of that era

The Dixie Ticklers (www.dixieticklers.co.uk)
31st May, 10th & 31st August
Led by clarinettist and composer Dom James, the ensemble play Dixieland jazz with a contemporary London edge

Jojo Desmond (www.jojodesmond.com)
8th & 22nd June, 13th & 27th July, 17th August
A superbly talented 1940’s jazz singer bringing glamour and sparkling luminosity to the stage

Verity & Violet (www.verityandviolet.com)
1st & 14th June, 20th July, 3rd August
An impressive vintage inspired singing duo, mixing the old with the new

Luca Rossi Trio (www.lucarossitrio.com)
15th June, 5th & 26th July, 9th & 23rd August
A group specialising in 1930’s jazz with a mélange of modern classics,

Roland Perrin Trio (www.rolandperrin.com)
21st June, 6th July, 24th August
Playing a variety of hot jazz from the 20s and 30s as well as Latin and jazz classics

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Food and Drink 101 – Retro Feasts Pop-up Diner Serves Guilty Pleasures Dishes of 60s, 70s & 80s

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Retro Feasts is a brand new pop-up diner in the West End that will indulge your guilty pleasures for the classic British food of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

All-time favourites from the golden age of British cookery – Prawn Cocktail, Sweet and Sour Chicken and even the iconic 70s dessert Black Forest Gateau – are getting a long overdue 21st century make-over at an affordable and informal eaterie in the heart of Mayfair.

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Retro Feasts will be serving up plates of comfort food nostalgia with five star presentation and the finest ingredients all put together by 19-year-old chef prodigy Luke Thomas and London hospitality guru Mark Fuller. They both were the subject of a BBC3 documentary Britain’s Youngest Head Chef recently which focussed on the launch of the teen-age culinary star’s first restaurant.

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Retro Feasts creator Luke Thomas said: “We’ve come up with a menu full of the guilty pleasures that British people grew up with and still love to eat – even though they might not want to admit it in public.

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“It’s going to be a lot of fun and very tongue in cheek but these are all great dishes that people will remember fondly.

And he added: “Most of these dishes aren’t served in restaurants any more because they fell out of fashion in more pretentious times or became derided because they had become clichéd and ubiquitous – but they have been away too long and it’s now time they were brought back.”

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The social diner will be launching on May 15th in Old Burlington Street just one street away from Savile Row and will be open for just six months. It will be a casual dining experience with no reservations which will appeal to a diverse crowd of all ages.

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Thomas will be reviving classic British dishes and plating them up with 21st century panache. The menu will include Crab on Toast – with hand-picked fresh white crab – and Cheese and Pineapple using a tender goats’ cheese. Classic fruity cocktails such as Tequila Sunrise and Pina Colada will be served up at the bar for the full 80s experience.

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The interior will have a nod towards the retro styling of the 70s and 80s with glassware and crockery to match. Waiters and waitresses will be dressed in cheeky and colourful old school vintage ensembles – service with a smile guaranteed.

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The pop-up diner will be a feast for the eyes as well as the tongue, and for the soft launch week (8th to 12th May 2013) food prices are going to be set at 1983 levels (drinks are normal price).

Retro Feasts, 29 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair London W1S 3AN
T. 020 7494 5660
http://retrofeasts.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RetroFeasts

FOR THE TABLE MENU

£5.00
Cheese and Pineapple
goats cheese and toasted coriander seed
Pâté on Toast
whipped chicken liver and chopped quince
Prawn Cocktail
avocado, iceberg and marie rose
Cream of Tomato Soup
cheese toastie

£7.50
Crab on Toast
cornish crab and soused fennel
Coronation Chicken Salad
caramelized almonds, sweet raisins
Tuna Salad
tinned and Fresh
Peas and Ham
crispy egg, garden peas

GROWN UP MEALS
£12.50
Potato dumplings
mushroom and tomato, baked
Fish in Parsley Sauce
crushed potatos
Fish Fingers
tartar sauce and skinny fries
Sweet and Sour Chicken
egg fried rice
Rump Steak
mash and Diane Sauce

SIDES
£3.00
Mash | Chips, Salt and Vinegar | Chopped Salad | Onion Rings

FOR AFTERS
£5.00
Eton mess
Rice Pudding
Peach Melba
Black Forest Gateaux