The founders of the Hauser & Wirth gallery, Manuela and Iwan Wirth, are expanding their hospitality empire in a major way with the acquisition of the private Groucho club in Soho, London.
The acquisition of the club by Artfarm—the couple’s independent hospitality and development company—cost £40m according to the Financial Times. Artfarm acquired The Groucho Club from a group of investors comprising Alcuin Capital Partners, ICG Enterprise Trust and Isfield Investments, together with a number of private investors. The club has around 5,000 members worldwide.
The Groucho, which opened in 1985, has been a magnet for London’s arts and media crowd, drawing a louche, lively crowd. Crucially, there are around 150 works in the Groucho collection, including pieces from members such as Peter Blake, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and Gordon Cheung (artists who contributed were all given membership of the club in return). A spokeswoman for Artfarm says that "the works are very much part an integral part of The Groucho Club and its heritage and will remain so."
"We will respect the history and traditions of the club, and we look forward to engaging with its membership to create a long-term future for the Groucho that builds on its eclectic appeal and maverick ethos,” says Ewan Venters, the chief executive of Artfarm in a statement.
The club joins Artfarm's growing portfolio, which includes the Fife Arms hotel in Braemer, Roth Bar and Grill in Somerset, and the soon-to-open Audley Public House and Mount St Restaurant and Rooms in London's Mayfair.