Bunny-tails to be shaking once again

 
Tim Badham
Finishing touches are being applied to Mayfair's prettiest new face, where Hugh Hefner plans to evoke the golden age of his empire - the Playboy Club London on Old Park Lane soft launches tonight. Would-be Don Drapers will absolutely adore this extravagant and exclusive establishment, where gentlemanly desires such as dining, drinking and gambling will be catered to with 1950s style and class. Hef has imported former Fat Duck (and Iron Chef) Judy Joo to helm the kitchen and famed ex Fifty St James's mixologist Salvatore Calabrese to dream up courageous concoctions in his eponymous cocktail bar. Set over two floors, members will be able to ascend from the dark and mysterious ground floor level to the light and bright fantasy world of Playboy above.

As well as the high-limit salon privé gaming rooms there are various internal destinations including The Cottontail Lounge, The Players Bar, a smoking terrace even a Gentleman's Tonic barbershop. The bunnies will permeate the staff from waitresses to croupiers and must survive a rigorous vetting process in order to win their bushy-tailed positions - with membership from £1,200 a year Playboy may just become the talk of the town all over again.

Another new notable this week is Pontoon which popped up like a porpoise at St Katherine's docks. It's a five-berth yacht complete with a natural wooden terrace and a marquee to protect you from elemental inconsistencies while you sip your bubbly. It's just for private hire at the moment.

If you want the Lower East Side experience without the Big Apple's summer stickiness, head over to Covent Garden where Russell Norman's Polpo group will be opening its fourth London installation Da Polpo (its tin ceiling was imported all the way from NYC). Descend to the lower ground floor for the Aperol Bar where they're serving their signature Venetian Spritz and new-to-the-world Octopus label prosecco. Finally, Docklands-based alfresco-loving whisky aficionados rejoice, the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Terrace has just opened at Canary Wharf's Plateau. Blue will be offered either in Old Fashioned cocktail form or straight up neat.