Running a successful club is harder than it looks, say the veterans of London's clubland

Johnny Gold, Tramp (founded 26 years ago)

"If there was a magic success factor, I'd have a string of clubs by now. It's like a musical - sometimes people invest a lot, rehearse, prepare and it goes belly up. It's the right combination of good food, ambiance, staff, music and people. You have to put in many, many hours and hope the sweat and toil pays off. Jackie Collins described Tramp as being like an old hooker - warm, welcoming, makes you feel at home. I hope that's true - that for most of our members it's like walking into their own front room."

Tramp people: George Best, Michael Caine, Andrew Neil.

Peter Stringfellow, Stringfellow's (founded 15 years ago)

"I'm the most nightclub-lifestyle nightclub owner in the world. I love my club, I live above it, I'm there every night. Successful businessmen think 'Oh, I spend a lot of time in clubs, why don't I buy one' - that's like me saying 'I spend a lot of time at football matches, I'll go and play for England.' In six months they realise it's hard work. The first thing I'd say to anyone starting up is get divorced, do it now, you may as well, it'll come sooner or later. The other thing is the team of people round me - they've all been with me 10 years or more."

Stringfellow's people: Rod Stewart, Chris Quinten, and, lately, Blur and Oasis.

Tony Mackintosh, MD and founder member, The Groucho Club (founded 10 years ago)

"First of all, the members - people join a club to see their friends and peers and talk, so you need a core group with common requirements. Secondly, the management must be sympathetic -I always try to teach the managers that we are club servants, that this person is coming back tomorrow so we'd better look after him. And thirdly, as Mr Hilton said, location, location, location - it has to be convenient. You might go out of your way once in a while, but not regularly."

Groucho people: Melvyn Bragg, Stephen Fry, Nigella Lawson, Mariella Frostrup.

Anton Mosimann, Mosimann's (founded 7 years ago)

"I'm lucky because I have a wonderful, unique building that used to be a church. The food is vital - lots of foodies joined straightaway. But one of the most important things is knowing people. We know as many members as possible personally - their likes and dislikes, so we can spoil them. All members get birthday cards and if we know they have had a success, we keep in touch then also. To know people individually we have to limit numbers - people enjoy exclusivity. That's why this is a club, not a restaurant - people come two or three times a week and we can take care of them."

Mosimann's people: Britt Ekland, Mona Bauwens, ladies who lunch.

Liz Brewer, socialite and PR of many launches

"It's down to atmosphere - and, most important, the person behind the club, the person you identify with the establishment. Going to a club is more personal than going to a restaurant, you expect to be treated as a friend and made welcome - at Annabel's, for example, everyone knows you and greets you and you feel they really are pleased to see you. It's people, people, people - it doesn't matter if you're in a barn with sawdust on the floor if the person running the place has charisma. Also, comfort - if a new club's music is too loud or the chairs aren't comfortable or the lighting isn't flattering, you won't bother to try it again."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

    £19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

    Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor