A New Playboy Club Is Set To Open In NYC And A Former Bunny Spills The Beans On How The Nightclubs Worked In The '70s • MetDaan

A New Playboy Club Is Set To Open In NYC And A Former Bunny Spills The Beans On How The Nightclubs Worked In The ’70s


Almost six decades after the first ever Playboy Club opened in Chicago in 1960, its legendary New York City counterpart is set to reopen this fall in an attempt to revive the spirit of the 40 original landmark Clubs which were initially among the busiest nightclubs on the planet, but had largely closed during the 1980s.

In an interview with Messy Nessy, a former Bunny, the story of what the legendary Manhattan nightclub used to look and feel like was told. During the 1970s, Barbara ‘Bobbie’ Walters used to work at the East 59th Street and Fifth Avenue location which opened in 1962 and served its last drinks in 1986.



In those days, membership stood at $25.00 a year and members of the Club, as well as their guests, were served food and drinks by a crew of Playboy bunnies. One of the greatest incentives for becoming an employee in the clubs was the possibility to progress to the pages of Playboy Magazine.

Members of the Club gained entrance to the clubs by displaying a Bunny keychain.


Source:Playboy Online Museum

Walters worked in the Playboy Clubs for five years, also spending time at the Miami locations, but she admits the Manhattan joint was her favorite


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Walters, now 68 years old, described the Playboy Club in New York City as ‘pure magic and fantasy’.

“When you walked inside that club, you left the outside world of worry and tribulations. Every minute I spent there was fun. I loved wearing that costume…everything. New York is New York,” she said.


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The New York location where Bobbie worked had six floors, with each one featuring a different theme, including a playmate bar, a disco, a VIP room, and nightclubs within the nightclub with various entertainers.


Source: Vanity Fair | Playboy

When it comes to actually landing a job in a Playboy Club, it was by no means an easy task. Walters competed against 200 candidates, with around 40 being ultimately chosen. She underlines that more was required than simply looking beautiful; “personality” and “a lot of stamina” were two other desired qualities.


Source:Messy Nessy Chic

For the interview itself, everybody had to put on the famous Bunny costume and audition in front of the “Bunny Mother” and the general manager.

“The job was tough, because everything a normal waitress did, we had to do on 5-inch heels,” Bobbie explained.


Source: Vanity Fair | Playboy

The former Bunny recalls the strict rules in place at the workplace, many of which came in the form of a “Bunny Manual” that had to be followed at all times.

Outfits had to always be worn properly for every shift, the cuffs and cufflinks were to be worn a certain way, and the crew “couldn’t wear any weird hair do’s.”

The Bunnies had to make sure they were presenting their drinks in a certain way, and know what was in each one.

“You had to look beautiful all the time, your costume had to be clean, you had to keep your weight under control,” Walters said.


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There was also a very strict rule that Bunnies weren’t allowed to date customers.

“If they saw you giving out your number, you would be fired,” the 68-year-old says.

“There had to be a certain demeanor in the club; there’s been a lot of things said about the Bunnies, but it’s not true, it was a classy place.”



Funnily enough, Bobbie actually ended up meeting her husband, Jules, at the club. 40 years older than she was and married at the time, they never exchanged numbers while she was actually working.

The first time she met him, he had come in with his wife but was alone the second time. She told him the rules about dating and not giving out numbers, but Jules was persistent.

“He kept coming into the club, trying to make a connection,” she recalls.


Source:Messy Nessy Chic

She discovered that they both lived in New Jersey, and that’s how they formed a real connection.

“The romance was just wonderful and lasted 33 years until the day he died,” Bobbie says.


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Recalling some memorable moments from her time at the club, the visit of Elton John came up.

“You never knew who would walk into your club and sit at your table,” the former employee says. “Hugh Hefner loved a jazz pianist called Monty Alexander, and his music would play throughout the club. And that was the atmosphere… it was a man’s place to relax.”


Source:Messy Nessy Chic

America was a much different country in the 1970s and the work that Bobbie’s been doing was considered highly controversial at the time. She admits she loved it, though, and still sees nothing wrong with it.

“I loved it, but this job was not for everyone, it was rough. What I loved most about it was this was my chance to be a star, just putting that costume on, this was my place to show,” she says.

“It was such a wonderful time in my life, and the one thing I learned, it never changed me at all.”


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In the early days, the Playboy Clubs were a smashing success, with the Chicago location holding more than 132,000 members in the last three months of 1961, making it the busiest nightclub in the world.


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Bobbie still keeps her uniform framed as a reminder of a wonderful time in her life.


Source:Messy Nessy Chic

The new Playboy Club in New York City is set to open at the Cachet Boutique Hotel on West 42nd Street this autumn. The owners claim it will be “one of the most chic and sophisticated venues in the world.”


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h/t Messy Nessy Chic

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