Groucho Marx famously quipped that he didn’t want to be a member of any club that would have him, but we dare say even he would have changed his mind following the recent spruce up of the Groucho Club.
Since the private members’ bolthole opened in 1985 in London’s Soho quarter, it has grown rather haphazardly across three period townhouses. Architect Michaelis Boyd’s challenge was to work with the Groucho’s creative director Alice Anthony and director of art Nicky Carter to harmonise the disparate rooms with a unified theme that provides members and guests with an intuitive flow through the building.
Executing that brief dragged on for 24 months (the foyer still remains undone) but the results are pleasing, to say the least. Where possible, original features have been restored, including an antique stained glass window and timber panelling in the main staircase and bar areas. The first floor Soho Bar now features lacquered walls and timber floors salvaged from the BBC’s old Bush House, a vivid homage to the Groucho’s arts and media members. Walls have been relined with linen to soften acoustics, while new lights, customised furniture and reupholstered antiques add a subtle eclectic charge that Mr Marx would have approved.