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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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: Project Management Support Assistant

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Railway Museum, the largest of its ...

    Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

    £250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

    £40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project