Inside 50 years of Tramp – London's most debauched nightclub

There are some seriously iconic celebrity hotspots we would love to be a nightly fly on the wall for – from Avalon in Hollywood, to the Chateau Marmont.

And in London, that club is Tramp.

The legendary Jermyn Street haunt is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and that means celebrating 50 years of debauchery from some of showbiz and music’s most famous names.

Launched on December 18, 1969 by partners Johnny Gold, Oscar Lerman and Bill Ofner, Tramp had an instantly hot guestlist due to Lerman’s relationship with Jackie Collins. And the laidback attitude made it instantly attractive to celebs – no suit and tie dress code, no paps called in by the managers, and a £7.50 fee for membership. (Membership today will set you back £1,000 a year, but those who signed up in 1969 still get in for under a tenner.)

So who frequented Tramp in its heyday? It’s probably easier to list who didn’t.

Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Moon, Jackie and Joan Collins, Michael Caine, Rod Stewart, Sidney Poitier, Mama Cass, Princess Margaret, George Best, Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Kathleen Turner, Liza Minnelli and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson have all been pictured at Tramp over the years, with many of them calling it their favourite hotspot.

Nowadays, the club is just as beloved, with Rihanna and Drake often spotted entering the famed doors.

But we’re guessing the guests are a bit more well behaved nowadays…

Tramp’s wildest moments

  • Keith Moon was so obsessed with Tramp that he sobbed when he was temporarily barred. The late Who drummer once showed up to the club naked, strapped to the bonnet of his Rolls Royce, and proceeded to swing from a 17th century chandelier once he got inside – unfortunately ripping it out of the ceiling. Johnny Gold banned him from the club for two days, with Keith begging: ‘You can’t bar me, where else will I go?’
  • One of the most famous pictures of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson was taken outside Tramp, when she showed up for her 27th birthday party wearing a bikini and a snorkel. After posing for photos leaning against her Rolls, Tara went inside to dance on tables and swig from bottles of champagne.
  • Shirley MacLaine was a big fan of the late night food at Tramp. She would order bangers and mash and fashion them into the shape of a penis.
  • George Best was such a frequenter of Tramp that when he failed to show up for Manchester United training, Matt Busby would call Tramp to check if he was there. His antics at the bar include trying to steal Bill Wyman’s date and punching Michael Caine.

  • Speaking of Michael Caine, he actually met his wife Shakira at Tramp. Lucky thing, too, as he had been planning to jet to Brazil to find the model who he’d fallen for after seeing in a coffee advert.
  • Tramp was the place to be for celeb events, even weddings. Peter Sellers, Liza Minnelli and Joan Collins all held their wedding receptions there.
  • The Collins sisters loved Tramp, so much so that Jackie’s book The Stud was based on the nightclub. The 1978 film adaptation, starring Joan, was filmed at Tramp and included a scene of Joan being, er, ravished on a swing above the dancefloor.
  • Mick Jagger once narrowly avoided a messy situation when he arrived at Tramp with Jerry Hall, only to discover his estranged wife Bianca was in the toilets. A maitre d’ had to block the couple from view and lead them to a darkened corner to avoid them being spotted.

  • Rod Stewart used Tramp as his personal dating service, and would regularly drive from his home in Windsor to Tramp to find a girl. On one wild occasion, he picked up a girl at the club, drove back to Windsor, slept with her and then drove her back to London. Rod then returned to Tramp to find another girl and bring her back to Windsor.

What the celebs have said about Tramp

– ‘Tramp has given me more research than I can handle and that’s really something. 30 years of research. And Johnny Gold knows where every body is buried’ – Jackie Collins

– ‘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’ – Rod Stewart

– ‘I used to live in Tramp. I was in there every night – givin’ it some of that!’ – Michael Caine

– ‘My best night was when I had two Swedish models, consecutively, under table 16’ – Dai Llewellyn

– ‘The ideal night out in London was that you took the girl to San Lorenzo’s to eat and then went down Tramp. That was the protocol, wasn’t it? That was the whole shebang! There was nothing that came close to Tramp, and that was it. When you went to New York or LA, everyone knew Tramp. They never talked about anything else’ – Terry O’Neill

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