NY developer Ian Reisner to transform shuttered NYC Playboy Club venue into gay-friendly hotel

Playboy Club, Ian Reisner and Out NYC hotel
Playboy Club, Ian Reisner and Out NYC hotel

Real estate developer and hotelier Ian Reisner has signed a lease to take over the former Playboy Club space and the Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC on West 42nd Street — and the plan is to transform it into a gay-friendly hotel, restaurant and nightclub, Side Dish has learned.

The renovated property — featuring a 103-room hotel at 510 W. 42nd St. between 10th and 11th Avenues — shuttered last October after operating for six years.

The Playboy Club flamed out in 2019 after being open for barely a year.

Reisner says he is in talks with a European boutique hotel operator to open this September. Until then, the as-yet-to-be-named hotel will operate as an Airbnb as early as this month, he said.

“It’s a gay hotel where straight friends and family are welcome too. It’s a reorientation, and a kind of play on words,” Reisner told Side Dish in a phone interview this week.

The West 42nd St. space includes a 7,500-square-foot restaurant and common area that would be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining, Reisner said.

There’s also a 14,000-square-foot entertainment complex that would include an “experiential supper club” where the the former Playboy Club used to be, a dance space and a subterranean cellar mixology bar.

The Playboy Club opened in 2018 at 510 W. 42nd St. David McGlynn
The Playboy Club opened in 2018 at 510 W. 42nd St. David McGlynn

The rest of the property, including a 3,000-square-foot restaurant — which is waiting to obtain a liquor license — will open by the fall. A source added that Reisner is also “in talks” to bring in a well-known brand for the mixology bar — a 750-square-foot cellar space for around 100 people with “banquettes, high-top tables, a bar and thick marble.”

It’s a return for Reisner, who previously co-founded the gay-friendly Out NYC hotel in the same space in 2012, when it was dubbed the city’s “new all-singing, all-dancing gay hotel.”

Ahead of its time, the hotel — and Reisner — were ultimately boycotted by the gay community in 2015, after Reisner hosted then-presidential Republican candidate Ted Cruz, who opposed gay marriage, for a dinner at his home.

“We were chased out of the business,” Reisner said.

The Playboy Club closed one year later and was replaced by the Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC. David McGlynn
The Playboy Club closed one year later and was replaced by the Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC. David McGlynn

Sources told Side Dish Reisner also received death threats at the time.

Cachet Boutique New York Hotel and the Playboy Club, which came next, also did not fare well — even following a $3 million renovation.

“Basically they mistimed it by two decades,” Reisner said. “The Playboy Club name was offensive. They opened in 2018, during the #MeToo movement. You can’t put women in a second-class position.”

Reisner adds: “The hotel failed for a different reason — they chose a terrible name. The Cachet Boutique Hotel. If you have cachet or panache, you don’t say you have it, you just do.”

It’s a return for Ian Reisner (left with Out NYC co-owner Mati Weiderpass) who previously co-founded the gay-friendly Out NYC hotel in the same space in 2012. AP
It’s a return for Ian Reisner (left with Out NYC co-owner Mati Weiderpass) who previously co-founded the gay-friendly Out NYC hotel in the same space in 2012. AP
Out NYC Hotel preceded the Playboy Club. Christopher Sadowski
Out NYC Hotel preceded the Playboy Club. Christopher Sadowski

When Reisner previously owned the Out hotel, the restaurant was known as KTCHN, and it was open from 2012 to 2017.

During that era, the nightclub operated as XL but in 2017 it swapped owners and was converted to the Playboy club, which morphed into Nightclub 42 d’Or before closing in December 2022.

Twelve years later, the neighborhood has transformed dramatically — from a barren wasteland to a bustling part of the city benefitting from new developments and an entire new Hudson Yards project filled with people who live, work, dine and shop there.

“The area is far more vibrant now,” said Ariel Palitz, a global government and hospitality consultant, and the founding former head of the New York City mayor’s office of nightlife.

Ahead of its time, the hotel — and Reisner — were ultimately boycotted by the gay community in 2015, after Reisner hosted then-presidential Republican candidate Ted Cruz. Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Ahead of its time, the hotel — and Reisner — were ultimately boycotted by the gay community in 2015, after Reisner hosted then-presidential Republican candidate Ted Cruz. Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

“In theory [launching a gay-friendly hotel in the ‘hood is] a good and important idea and would be nothing but positive if done right and done well. In a city filled with hotels, there is room for one more dedicated to a gay clientele and culture that would create a safe and fun place for them — especially at a time when we are seeing some backtracking on gay rights, and all rights,” Palitz said.

Reisner agreed. “It’s way better now,” Reisner said. “Developers continue to build there. Before we were struggling. There was nothing.  Now it’s all Hudson Yards — vibrant area and neighborhood.”