Star performance by Groucho Club

  • @Thompj

The Groucho Club, the private members' club in London that the artist Damien Hirst and actress Sienna Miller have frequented, toasted a sharp uptick in its performance last year.

The Soho establishment which first opened in 1985 as "the antidote to the traditional club" grew its underlying profits by 79 per cent to £1.76m over the year to 30 September 2011, driven by increased trade at its bar, restaurants, bedrooms and private reception facilities.

The Groucho Club posted turnover up by 14 per cent to £5.71m last year. The private equity firm Graphite Capital led a buy-out of the club in a deal worth £20m in 2006.

The club made a reduced pre-tax loss of £1.12m in the year to September, dragged into the red, in part, by interest payments on its loans.

The Groucho was the idea of a group of publishers who wanted to create an alternative place to relax to stuffy gentlemen's clubs, and enlisted the help of Anthony Mackintosh, owner of the Zanzibar and Restaurant 192. Along with his partners, Mr Mackintosh established the venue, which named was after the American comedian Groucho Marx, based on his remark that he did not want to join a club that would accept him as a member.

The Groucho prides itself on its "high quality and loyal membership" and says it has a "significant waiting list", according to Graphite's website. Its patrons have included the British artist Tracey Emin, the Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam, who fronted Oasis, and the film director Sam Taylor-Wood.

The club was acquired by the merchant banker Rupert Hambro, the PR guru Matthew Freud, and the entrepreneur Joel Cadbury for £11.8m in 2001. They sold it to Graphite five years later.

Since 2006, Graphite has "partially redesigned and fully refurbished across all areas, including an upgrade of all bedrooms", as well as modernising the dining areas and adding a terrace.