Cafe & Coffeehouse

Bike Shed Theatre & Bar, Fore Street


mercilessly stolen from Trip Advisor

Zion has over three years of experience as a writer and a journalist. Career highlights so far include interviewing Ethics Director at Lush Hilary Jones, contributing poetry to Musings to raise funds for Leche League, and working with co-founder of One Green Planet Nil Zacharias. Zion has also worked on the Eradicating Ecocide campaign. Follow Zion on TwitterLinkedIn, or email her at

The Bike Shed Café is no ordinary café. This theatre-bar came into being only 3 years ago through the entrepreneurship of local – well, entrepreneurs – Fin Irwin and David Lockwood. The café opened last September and I have already frequented it over a dozen times. Let me tell you why.

The Bike Shed Café is based in the theatre bar and it’s decorated with all sorts of quirky art and writer-tributes courtesy of the Bike Shed team and local artists. Once you’ve found a cosy sofa or a 1940-style chair to ensconce yourself in, there is tea for only £1 a mug- possibly the cheapest in the city?- and enough board games to keep you there for a year at least. People come and go but there is always a hum about the place, possibly because of its underground location (perfect for a cold, drizzly winter’s day), or maybe because so many artists hang out here. Playwrights, actors, poets and writers seem to converge in this underground den and, like myself, emerge blinking into the daylight after acclimatising to the cosy, creative feel of the Bike Shed Café.

The food offered at the cafe is simple but nourishing, reasonably priced and offers vegan options, which of course pleases a decade-long vegan like myself. My toddling daughter particularly enjoyed the leek and potato soup with crusty rolls, and samples of several cups of non-caffeinated tea (peppermint: I live for you). There are also cakes and flapjacks if you have room for more, which I rarely do, so I can’t comment on those.. Yet.

But there’s more to this place than all of that. There’s something about the Bike Shed Café that you won’t find with many other cafes in Exeter or beyond – and I can say this honestly, speaking as someone who reviews cafes in her spare time. First, there’s the fact that this cafe doesn’t actually close, because in the evening it becomes a bar, opens the Box Office and greets theatre-goers, or on Friday and Saturday night welcomes music-lovers into its midst. This constant coming and going over the period of a day is what characterises the Bike Shed Café as a venue that has everything, and wants for nothing. I want to say that the only thing missing is a bike, but actually there is one mounted on the wall of the café. So I will end saying that here you will find a buzz like no other, a uniqueness rare in these parts, and a damn good vegan soup.

It gets 5 stars from me.

EE Recommends

The Bike Shed Theatre
162/3 Fore Street

info at phone: (01392) 434169 @BikeShedTheatre


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