Artfarm gobbles up the Groucho

Soho’s legendary Groucho Club, a magnet for hell-raisers since Oliver Reed and Ken Russell (pictured) attended the opening party in 1985, has been acquired by the Artfarm hospitality group for a reported £40 million. Owned by Swiss art dealers Manuela and Iwan Wirth, Artfarm began as a museum café at the country offshoot of their Hauser & Wirth gallery in Bruton, Somerset, and has developed into an international brand.

The Groucho was founded in 1985 as a membership club for people in the arts and creative media, and became renowned as a watering hole for artists and musicians of the YBA/Cool Britannia years – and as a venue for louche living under its legendary manager Bernie Katz, aka the ‘Prince of Soho’, who died five years ago.

It also has an extensive collection of art from the era, including work by Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn and Gavin Turk, which might make it a more natural fit for its new proprietors than the private equity groups who have owned it for the past two decades.

Artfarm is run by Ewan Venters, former boss of Fortnum & Mason, and now has a handful of hotels and restaurants from the Scottish Highlands to Los Angeles. Its latest project is the Audley Public House and Mount Street restaurant, which opens in Mayfair this autumn after a two-year refurbishment.

run by former Fortnum and Mason boss Ewen Venter and

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