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
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

    £18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

    £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future