The First Playboy Club

Palmolive Building from ralph braseth on Vimeo.

The Palmolive is one of the most distinctive and beautiful in the city. It sits in the heart of Streeterville within spitting distance of the Drake and Knickerbocker hotels just off Lake Michigan. At one point it was the tallest structure in the neighborhood and the searchlight atop the building used to attract lots of attention to the Playboy Club, the very first Playboy Club which opened up in this building in 1962. Can you imagine the parties? More on this at another time, but it wasn’t merely a sexy club with sexy bunnies, it was a status symbol for the established and the up and comers. Another story for another time as well, Chicago’s well heeled black community joined their wealthy brethren at the Playboy Club. Hugh Hefner wasn’t anywhere nearly as interested in black and white as he was green. Don’t for a second think the Playboy Club was first and foremost a capitalist venture. Hefner printed money.

Big Brother is Watching

Big Brother is Watching

The Palmolive Building, formerly the Playboy Club back in the sixties cuts a handsome art-deco figure with the John Hancock in the back. Initially property owners on the North Side of Michigan Avenue were furious with the developers of the John Hancock. There are still some negative feelings about it. However, most people are happy to have one of the two iconic buildings of the city in neighborhood. Most of the skyscrapers, including the Sears Tower are located in the far more populated business section of the city called the “Loop.”

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