An inconspicuous yet brightly colored yellow door serves as a gateway to one of London’s most scandalous member’s clubs. Groucho’s notorious (and perpetually dark) bar serves all hours of the day, with every drink from a dirty martini to a pisco sour. Its narrow corridors discourage, if not eliminate entirely, the ability to navigate the building in groups.
However, with only has twenty rooms, exclusively for members and their guests, Groucho’s intensely private atmosphere is very intentional. If you manage to stay a night, the first thing you’ll notice upon arriving to your room are the variety of refreshments awaiting your entrance. A basket filled with snacks rests on the table: high end chips and nuts, basic m&ms and candies. Nearby, sits a mini bar loaded with masses of overpriced alcohols and correlating hangover cures.
Fitting, as the Groucho club caters to unique demographic of partiers. The lounge is filled with both aging legends – former bad boys trying to relive their glory days – and the next generation of British scenesters rediscovering the iconic setting. The club’s dark corners are always occupied by once great Artists & Musicians, telling posies of young admirers stories party stories and decade old gossip. Groucho was founded as a hip alternative to “stuffy” gentleman’s clubs, although it has since then become the world’s oldest media arts club, it still holds a rebellious vibe.London’s gentlemen’s clubs are known for their staple grand entrances, decked out with receptionists and grand staircases leading to tea and conference rooms. The Groucho prefers to be more low key. Its original entrance was a disguised, soho doorway that when entered would lead through a set of shrouded glass doors and directly into into the bar. This year, in order to accommodate more seating space and discreet room access, this iconic pathway was sadly modernized.
If you continue down the entrance corridor, you’ll find a winding staircase leading up all three flight of the townhouse. There’s also a elevator, equipped with golden doors and mirror projected artwork, for those of us who don’t enjoy hiking up steps.
Every wall in the club is covered in art, usually produced by its creative industry employed members. Coincidentally, these works often buy their Artists lifelong memberships to the club, in my opinion a rather good investments. Even past the guests and vibe, nothing you find at the Groucho club could be defined as ordinary. In the Main Bar Area, a grand piano rests completely covered in a Peter Blake paint job. Every night, in preparation for the happenings ahead, it’s used to play soft background tunes. The tattoo sporting Baristas dress casually and are always willing to exchange a quick quip or flirtatious wink with their quests. Perfect representatives of an establishment which prides itself in being the host of many a wild party.