The Groucho Club is a well-known private arts and media club in Dean Street, Soho, London, opened in 1985 as "the antidote to the traditional club". In this spirit it was named after Groucho Marx because of his famous remark about not joining any club that would have him as a member.
It has, however, the exclusivity for a new era that was always part of the traditional London Club, and performs a function akin to that of The Arts Club in the Nineteenth Century, as a power meeting house.
Membership is hard to obtain and its members are mostly drawn from the media, entertainment, arts and fashion industries, including a good number of celebrities such as model Kate Moss. It is a haunt of Young British Artists including Damien Hirst, whose exhibitionist behaviour has caused him to be banned for periods from the club. The alleged blatant use of drugs on occasion has also made stories in the media.
The Groucho has various rooms, including two bars, two restaurants (dining room and brasserie), nineteen bedrooms, a billiards room and four function rooms available for hire.
In late 2001 the club was purchased by a trio of business men Rupert Hambro, Matthew Freud and Joel Cadbury, operating as New Kapital or Kapital Ventures, for a reputed £11.8 million. Within the club, this purchase was looked on unfavourably as a threat to Groucho's reputation as a slightly sleazy, informal hangout. Many of these 'old guard' including Damian Hirst have since removed themselves from the regulars list, and the club has taken a more professional and commercial direction.