A new bar, restaurant, and entertainment center named after the world’s most famous playboy, Hugh Hefner, opened in Vernon with a ribbon cutting on Jan. 21.
Well-wishers including Vernon Mayor Burrell; the presidents of the Warwick and Vernon Chambers of Commerce, Elizabeth Cassidy and Jennifer Hopper; Jennifer Lubliner, chair of Vernon’s Economic Development Advisory Committee; and other dignitaries and many friends of the Great Gorge Golf Club turned out to celebrate the new 19th hole, Hef’s Hut. Its new general manager is David Killin.
Hefner, who died in 2017, bears a complex legacy as the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine. He extended the Playboy brand into a world network of Playboy Clubs. Hefner brought the Playboy Club and the 27-hole Great Gorge Championship Golf Course, designed by renowned course architect George Fazio, to McAfee, N.J., in 1970. He is currently the subject of a 10-episode docuseries titled “Secrets of Playboy.”
The Great Gorge Golf Club has had its good times and bad. But through the leadership of Killin and owner Jeff Koffman, the course has returned to its glory days, when celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Avalon, and Tony Bennett played the course.
While the golf course is now in outstanding condition, thanks to longtime course superintendent David Brubaker, the bar and restaurant needed a significant upgrade. Hef’s Hut is now a social venue that welcomes locals and out-of-area visitors alike for reasonably priced food and drinks and indoor entertainment.
Guests at the ribbon cutting tasted some of Hef’s Hut’s delicious finger foods, produced by Great Gorge Food and operations manager Jack Longa and Chef Brodie Mcdonald, and their new Great Gorge Brewery IPA beer. They played in darts and pool, a long drive and closest-to-the-pin competition using a new, state-of-the-art golf simulator.