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November 23, 2014

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Playboy Club’s Rico Romano talks life among Bunnies

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Leila Navidi

Playboy Club general manager Rico Romano

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The Bunny Tail, created by N9NE Group mixologist Dave Herlong, was an instant hit when he made it for Hugh Hefner's 83rd birthday in April. The drink starts with limoncello and fresh lemon in a large snifter, then comes the ice, then the piece de resistance: a tuft of cotton candy. From there, it gets interactive, with the guest pouring a mini bottle of Le Tourment Vert absinthe on top, melting the cotton candy, and filling the rest of the glass with San Pellegrino Limonata sparkling soda.

Before it closed in 1986, the Chicago Playboy Club was a focal point for kids like Rico Romano, who gazed up at the famous logo on the side of 1960 North Lincoln Park West knowing that, even if he were of age, he probably would never see the inside of the exclusive bunny den.

"Here it's a little different," said Romano, now the general manager of the only Playboy Club in the world, on the 51st floor of the Palms' Fantasy Tower. "People can come in and they can get that same experience they could've gotten 20 years ago, but (now) it's open to everybody."

Romano, who joined the Playboy Club team after stints at Rain, Ghostbar and the Palms Pool, plays an active part in upholding the Playboy tradition of being both sexy and classy — not always an easy task when one of your venue's biggest assets is women with, well, big assets.

"When people see a woman in the Playboy uniform, it's like adults in Disney World," he said. "Kids want to take a picture with Goofy; adults want to take a picture with the Playboy bunny."

They've already crowned Miss Playboy Club of the Year 2010, and Romano says there's a lot more in store for the coming year.

"2010 is going to have a lot of surprises for the Playboy Club. Some of them I can't divulge just yet, but I ask that you stay tuned. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised."

— Originally published in Las Vegas Magazine

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