David Adamson is sold on this secluded city centre spot

What: Buyers Club

Where: 24 Hardman Street

Food/ Drink type: Pasta Kitchen with pizzas, plus neighbourhood bar

When: Mon - Sat: 12 - 12am // Sun: 12-10pm 

Independent or chain: Independent

2024 05 10 Buyers Club Review Exterior
Outside Buyers Club Image: Confidentials

The old, often misattributed line comes to mind: "I never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member."

Woody Allen? Groucho Marx? No, it's your old pal from A-Level Psychology; cigar-puffing patricidal kink-whisperer, Sigmund Freud.

But going off just how many food and drink spots suffix their names with "club" or "social", you're probably going to be a member of at least one of them whether you like it or not. 

They make for fantastic drinking holes, but the food can sometimes feel like an afterthought. Fortunately, not at Buyers Club.

2024 05 10 Buyers Club Review Interior
Inside Buyers Club Image: Confidentials


Tucked away just off Hope Street, so close to the Philharmonic you could probably hear them tuning up, Buyers Club is slipped into the middle of Hardman Street in an industrial yard now alive with blossoming plants and open sky. Come summertime proper you'll be scrapping for space, and with good reason. 

Inside, it's laid out much like similar "neighbourhood bars" - legions of bottles on an open woody bar, artwork on the walls, hanging plants, and Pyramid Song by Radiohead oozing out across the room. All this but, you know, not up it's own arse. 

Ample space makes for a bar you could nearly fit a neighbourhood in, and a small kitchen off the main room produces a slim, manageable menu. Speaking of which.

2024 05 10 Buyers Club Review Yard 2
The spacious yard Image: Confidentials

The Main Event

I kicked things off with some focaccia - the classic breed complete with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Partly to start, partly because I knew there'd be sauce left over from what I'd come for, a bowl of pasta.

It's fair to say focaccia has done the rounds in recent years under the banner of 'bread, but better'. But they don't always deliver - too soft, too soggy, too salty. It's not as easy as it seems. This (£4.50 for three decent slices) was beautifully done. Soaked in rich, sufficiently sweet olive oil and dried out to that spongey extent, it was fantastic just by itself. Plunge it into the oil and balsamic and you get the best of both worlds. I left a slice to one side.

2024 05 10 Buyers Club Review Focaccia
Focaccia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar Image: Confidentials

Plenty of places have made a song and dance of pasta, all being swept out of a kitchen and served simply - where the lack of frills are the frills. It's all very modest, but what about the cost?

I went for a dish that can be found on most pasta menus but rarely delivers what it promises - wild boar ragu with pancetta, red wine and pangrattato served with pappardelle (£18). Yes, the cost. Nearly twenty pounds for a bowl of pasta. But I've paid the same for a cheap imitation and this was the real deal. 

The beauty of wild boar is that it strides two camps; the flavourful, fatty carrier of complex herbs and spices that pork does so well, and the sweet, slightly alien and unusual notes of well-reared and happy game. Whatever the little beast has gobbled up on its wanders around the land sings through if it's treated with the respect it deserves.

The Philharmonic would appreciate this simple quartet of boar, pork, soffrito and red wine. With a liberal dashing of pangrattato - breadcrumbs known as poor man's parmesan - you've got a minuetto that you could throw on a ball gown for. Fantastic.

2024 05 10 Buyers Club Review Boar Ragu
Wild boar ragu with pancetta, red wine and pangrattato served with pappardelle Image: Confidentials

You'd be forgiven for rolling your eyes into next week when somewhere describes itself as a "club". So far, so socialist, but normally with bourgeois pricing. Buyer's Club is wonderfully straightforward. The menu doesn't tie itself up in knots, and what it does it does very well.

Sign me up.

Buyers Club, 24 Hardman St, L1 9AX

2024 05 10 Buyers Club Review Interior 2
Buyers Club Image: Confidentials

Buyers Club is on Confidential Guides

Recommended by Confidential Guides

  • Food 8.5/10

    Focaccia 8.5, boar ragu pappadelle 8.5

  • Service 4/5

  • Ambience 4/5