IN her BBC Panorama interview, Virginia Roberts claimed she was forced to dance with ‘sweaty’ Prince Andrew in Mayfair nightclub Tramp – before being taken to a London townhouse to have sex with him.
Tramp offers privacy to some of the world’s most recognisable faces – and as their off-the-record slogan says, “what happens in Tramp, stays in Tramp”.
Unless it ends up getting aired on Panorama, of course.
What did or didn’t take place there remains to be clarified after the Duke and Virginia gave two very different BBC interviews – so I decided to go down to the swanky establishment and see just what the club is like – and what I found was unedifying.
At 25, I was the oldest woman in the club – while the men – who congregated in the smoking area – averaged around 50.
Groups of pervy old men spent the night leering over young girls – some of whom who were selling their company for £500-a-night.
Though club staff seemed oblivious to the trading going on.
‘We can be friends if you tell me your price’
One of my mates was making her way back from the bathroom when a man old enough to be my dad stopped to ask her who she was here with and if he would join her for a drink.
She told him she was here with friends to which he replied: “We could be friends too, if you can tell me your price”.
Now far be it for me to judge, but the dress she was wearing – a blue silk ballooned sleeved number with delicate buttons up the middle – did not scream “high class hooker”.
I suppose though there is a certain arrogance that comes when you reach a certain age and accumulate a certain amount of grease in your hair, that leads you to presume you can buy what you want.
‘What happens in Tramp, stays in Tramp’
I can’t lie, Tramp is not my scene at all – not only because of the seedy underbelly of debauchery you sense from the moment you walk in the door – but because it costs £365 a month (plus a £1,000 joining fee).
From Frank Sinatra to Drake, Sir Roger Moore to Lindsay Lohan, Tramp has welcomed everyone over the decades.
The private members club – which has been open for 50 years – hit headlines last week after the Duke of York denied he preyed on Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slave, Virginia Roberts, there.
Roberts, who was 17 at the time, claimed that Prince Andrew was ‘profusely sweating’ as he danced with her – before later taking advantage of her at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell in March 2001.
“I’m convinced that I was never in Tramp with her,” the Prince said, adding: “there are a number of things wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramp.”
‘By 2am, most were sweating’
But I know this is an unlikely tale, given that Tramp is made up of three main rooms – and two of them have bars in them. Big bars, too. Very hard to miss.
And while the club wasn’t running hot enough that we were all rushing outside every few minutes gasping for air, the dance floor, full with bodies by 2am was humid enough that most were sweating.
Prince Andrew claimed he couldn’t have been in Tramp the night Virginia Roberts detailed because he’d been in Pizza Express with his daughters at 5pm. They must have been eating a lot of Margheritas because things at Tramp didn’t get started until midnight.
From the off, Tramp did not feel like the “home away from home” that it was advertised as. Or not any home that I’ve ever been to at any rate.
For starters, it was carpeted, a luxury not normally entrusted to those of us who like to pay a pound for our Jaeger-bombs.
I suppose though when you’re spending £16 on a G&T, you can be trusted not to waste a drop to spillage.
‘I’m £500 a night’
Nostalgia runs through the club’s very foundations. The smoking room (legal because it doesn’t have a ceiling) is plastered with quotes from celebrities about their time there.
“Tramp was the place where we all took girls, because they wanted to go there” read one, from Terry O’Neil.
And looking around it would seem that that was very much still the case. There were lots of girls there on Friday night.
Had I been a little bit more naive, and had a group of glamorous girls at the table next to us not told me how much they’d charge men to take them home (£500, by the way), I might’ve bought into the idea that Tramp was still as it once was; an exclusive and exciting place for groupies to congregate, hopeful that their favourite celebrity might buy them a drink?
I might also have believed Daniel, the “businessman” who split his time between the United Arab Emirates and the UK when he told me that what happened in Tramp was all “harmless fun.”
‘A little too sordid’
There’s no denying that Tramp is a great night out. It is the place that saw Keith Moon literally swing from the chandeliers (and get a 48hr ban for it), where Tara Palmer-Tomkinson partied the night away in a bikini for her birthday in the 90s.
It reeks of history and of charm; there’s something about the building that gives you a wink and an arse slap as you walk in.
Rather tellingly, after the Prince Andrew interview aired, a quote was found on the club’s website from Rod Stewart: “just as well it was before camera phones. We’d all be in prison by now, the things we got up to in Tramp.”
Sun Online contacted Tramp for comment but had no reply.
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