Putting the Bukowski in Bukowski Charcoal Grill

The first rule of burger club is you do not talk about burger club. The second rule is…you get the picture. An Antipodean of my acquaintance has a burger club with some friends – once a month on a particular day they try out a different burger place in London.

This time they’re trying out a place in Shoreditch, East London. The place is called Bukowski Charcoal Grill.

Here is a link to their website.

My first thought is ‘why is it called Bukowski Charcoal Grill?’ After all, to my certain knowledge Bukowski never wrote a book called ‘I Fucking Love Burgers’ by Charles Bukowski. And I’m reasonably certain that he preferred to drink his meals. Anyway, this place doesn’t even offer ham on rye.

Thank you, I’m here all night.

Just one of those mysteries. Maybe BCG doesn’t have anything to do with THE Bukowski, maybe no Bukowski manuscript has ever been inside either BCG location.

Or maybe, and I’m spitballing here but it’s definitely true, maybe Bukowski didn’t pass away in 1994. Maybe he simply left LA and the USA altogether to settle in another acronymtastic place. Maybe he spent some time in UAE while waiting for a visa to DRC, maybe he was put off by the instability of that region, discovered too late that the USSR no longer exists and instead tossed a coin – heads: DPRK, tails: UK.

Maybe it landed tails.

Maybe Charles Bukowski grills burgers hiding in plain sight at the Shoreditch site of Bukowski Charcoal Grill.

Like I said, it’s just a theory, but it’s definitely true.


If you’re in some way involved with BCG, if you’ve ever been there, IF YOU KNOW THE ANSWER please tell me – it’s doing my head in as I understand people from Manchester circa 1987 are wont to say.

Also, is the place actually any good?

As usual, fevered speculation is not just welcome but actively encouraged.

7 thoughts on “Putting the Bukowski in Bukowski Charcoal Grill

  1. I’d have serious concerns if Bukowski was cooking my food, so let’s assume he’s not (although he did like steak). Beyond that, being the outsider that he was, I doubt he’d start something as trendy as a burger place that serves sustainably sourced meat raised in a stress free environment. If he did work in food, it would be in the most despised of all food trends: gourmet cupcakes.

    How do I know this? Easy, deductive reasoning – I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me. Admittedly, I did laugh at the ham on rye bit and you earn extra points for including the overachieving unicorn of wordplay (triple entendre).

      1. To reach my conclusion, three things must be understood: he’s alive, he’s interested in the food industry, and he doesn’t want to be found. Assuming he actually believed that a writer’s life improved with the consumption of red meat (and he was quoted praising steak and, specifically, porterhouse), then opening a restaurant that serves red meat it too obvious and recognizable (and he might grow to love it, which he believed was dangerous). I believe he would choose something slightly out of fashion and irritating to the intellectual sort, but still moderately successful (there are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little). He might even put his own twist on it. Given his admitted laziness, he would choose an ingredient he knows and loves: alcohol. There would be creations like red wine red velvet, lemon vodka, and chocolate whiskey. And if he drank the ingredients from time to time, no one would know…

        While I can prove absolutely none of this, I think the he first betrayed his interest when he wrote an entire book of poetry about Cupcakes.

  2. There’s one problem though – any type of baking generally requires precise measurements and following recipes exactly, paying attention to times and temperatures and all that.

    I think the conclusion is obvious – he makes gumbo.

    Think about it – you have to be awake (but not sober) to make the roux, you can’t mess around with the holy trinity ingredients but other than that you can more or less go crazy and chuck in whatever you want and as with any stew the longer you leave it to cook the better (within reason). So if you pass out drunk it’s really not a problem.

    I think he’s hiding out in a shack somewhere on the bayou running a bar (Elvis is in the back flipping burgers). There are a few regulars – freaks, weirdos and exiles from the mainstream (Hunter S Thompson likes to hold court with Lester Bangs)

    1. Plausible. Harry Crews could be the bartender, Flannery O’Connor could say grace before serving, and Fred Exley could provide various sports updates. Norman Mailer is not allowed.

      I’d be willing to visit and I’d only be slightly afraid. I’ve never tried gumbo before, but I would if Bukowski cooked it – probably not the wisest choice, but still…

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