Artfarm, the international hospitality group led by ex-Fortnum & Mason CEO Ewan Venters and owned by Manuela and Iwan Wirth, has acquired private members’ club famed for its bohemian clientele, the Groucho Club for £40m.
Artfarm purchased the iconic Soho institution, from a group of investors including Alcuin Capital Partners, a buyout firm that the Caffè Nero chain.
Groucho chairman Nick Hurrell stated, ‘I believe that this new ownership will be a great thing for our lovely club.
Under the current ownership, much has been achieved over these last years. Above all, we came through the pandemic unscathed thanks to the hard work of Jeff, the managers and the whole team, and with the loyal support of our community of members and our shareholders.
‘We believe that Artfarm will be the perfect partner and the future of The Groucho Club is assured.’
Nick said the club had been approached by a small number of parties ‘interested in taking it forward’, but Artfarm was ‘the most attractive approach, given their sympathetic vision for the future’.
Ewan is a long-standing Groucho member, and has built a strong career on taking established names forward while respecting their traditions.
Ewan shared, ‘As a member for some time myself, I understand the special place the Groucho occupies in London’s cultural landscape. I think Artfarm and the Groucho are, in many ways, kindred spirits, and I am excited at the prospect of welcoming members old and new to this legendary London club.’
The is the third time the Groucho has changed ownership since it opened its doors in 1985. The new owners hope to increase its 5,000-strong membership by pursuing younger clients, and are also considering international expansion.
The club joins Artfarm venues such as the Fife Arms in Braemar, the soon-to-open Audley Public House and Mount St. Restaurant in Mayfair, Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset, and Manuela in Los Angeles.