Inside debauched nightclub Tramp where A-listers swung from chandeliers & star turned up naked, draped over Rolls Royce

IT was the den of debauchery where royals rubbed shoulders with Rolling Stones and A-listers jostled to be on the guest list.

However, exclusive London nightclub Tramp shut up shop after more than 50 years, in somewhat mysterious circumstances, last year.

Luckily, the club – where it was the place to be for any self-respecting celeb after hours – is reopening in September, having undergone a major refurbishment.

Under new management, headed up by Luca Maggiora, Tramp will still stand at the same iconic location on Jermyn Street in Mayfair, London.

The club was where the late socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson partied in her ʙικιɴι and it was used by Rod Stewart as his personal dating service.

The rocker once declared: “It’s lucky they didn’t have camera phones back in those days at Tramp or we’d all be in prison . . . the things we got up to.”

The club inspired Jackie Collins’s erotic 1969 novel The Stud, and the 1978 film was sH๏τ there, including a scene of Jackie’s sister Joan cavorting on a swing

Tramp prided itself on its discretion, giving rise to a very loyal fanbase. General manager David Fleming said in 2019: “What happens in Tramp, stays in Tramp.”

He added: “It was always meant to be a place where people could let loose and party and be free.”

And they certainly did that. Kate Moss was a Tramp regular, and on one notable occasion in 2015 — celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight’s 60th birthday bash — she jumped on the decks and was so good that her hard-partying guests were literally swinging from the chandeliers.

That was also something that had got Keith Moon temporarily banned from the club in the 1970s.

The Who’s hell-raising drummer turned up at Tramp naked, strapped to the bonnet of a white Rolls-Royce. Once inside, he swung from a 17th-century chandelier, bringing it crashing down, along with some of the ceiling.

Darkened corner
His behaviour got him barred by owner Johnny Gold, who only let him back in after Keith rang him, sobbing: “You can’t bar me, where else will I go?”

 

The members-only club on Jermyn Street in London’s Mayfair first opened its doors in 1969.

Named after the Charlie Chaplin character, it was the brainchild of Johnny, the son of a Brighton bookie, who set it up with partners Bill Ofner and Oscar Lerman — husband of novelist Jackie Collins.

Johnny managed to persuade 300 friends and celebrities to become founding members for the princely sum of ten guineas each, or £10.50.

Those original members have not seen their annual membership fee increase in more than 50 years — although new members today have to pay £1,000 a year.

Johnny once confessed: “I thought we might get two or three years out of it.” But with no strict dress code and no paparazzi getting tipped off by managers, the dimly-lit basement club was an instant hit.

David Fleming says that in the early days it was “just normal” to find The Beatles seated next to the Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra. He added: “No one batted an eye.”


Among the founding members was Mick Jagger, who once arrived with his new girlfriend, model Jerry Hall, to discover that his estranged wife Bianca was in the toilets.

Luckily for the Stones frontman, quick-thinking maitre d’ Guido blocked the couple from view before leading them to a darkened corner where they wouldn’t be spotted.

The club quickly became a byword for debauchery. One night Jack Nicholson French-kissed a homeless man who asked him for change outside the entrance.

George Best was a regular — so much so that his Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby would call Tramp when the player failed to show up to training. George’s second autobiography, The Good, The Bad And The Bubbly, even featured his favourite nightspot.

The 1990 book opened with the immortal line: “I punched Michael Caine to the floor in Tramp one night.” One waiter said of the scrap: “What a show!”

Sir Michael was another regular face at the club, where he met his wife, actress and model Shakira. He said in 2007: “I used to live in Tramp. I was in there every night — givin’ it some of that!”

Manager David recalled how 20 years ago the club played host to three James Bonds — Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore — after they bumped into each other at Tramp and ended up having dinner together in the club’s Zodiac restaurant.

Members received an email to say the club was closed because it had been sold.


Trump’s new owner is reported to be Luca Maggiora, a former bank credit analyst who is now a “hospitality entrepreneur”. He said in a 2019 interview: “Nightclubs was my hobby on the side of my banking job but when my nightlife work was making more money for me than banking, I quit banking to set up my first boutique West End club.”

Whatever the future holds for Tramp, with celebs nowadays more focused on wellness and maintaining their social media image, the end of such a haven for hedonism could mean the golden age of celebrity antics is well and truly over.

 

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