Inspired by the best bars in the world.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel around quite a lot this summer, but it’s nice to be back in Exeter and back on home soil in the build up to Christmas.

It’s been so inspiring to visit tons of amazing bars, it’s hugely shaped how we approached the new menu, and it constantly makes me question how we approach what we do at the Bike Shed and how can do things better. My favourite places are those where I instantly feel at home and at ease, a friendliness, this is something we always strive for at the Bike Shed, if you’re out for some cocktails you’re out to have fun and feel relaxed. Your mood when you’re out is hugely important and our new menu responds to that, the light and dark menu provides two different variations of each drink, in the aim that there is something to suit your mood no matter what mood you’re in.

Pre-batching cocktails is a huge trend in the cocktail world at the moment, you’ll find it in many of the world’s best bars, and this is something we’ve taken on board. We pre-batch the alcohol in almost all the drinks on the new menu. It allows us to be more precise with the drinks, and do more interesting things, but without taking the time away from you at the bar, it gives us more chance to talk with you but without taking away from the quality of the drink. It ensures consistency, whether you order your drink on a busy weekend or a quiet early evening it’ll taste just as delicious.

The cocktail world is really exciting at the moment, people are working constantly to create more and more inventive and exciting drinks. The other week I had a drink which consisted of flint, clay, and lichen distillates, it tasted sort of how I’d imagine licking a wet rock would taste – ok that may not sound great, but it was. It was complex, and delicious and like nothing I’ve tasted before, and I’ve tasted quite a lot. The constant forward movement of the industry and push to try new things means that there are amazing new drinks being created constantly and new experiences to be had. Now obviously lichen and clay distillates isn’t simple and isn’t exactly something you can knock together at home, but it’s great to see what can be done.

My recommended drink off the menu right now would be the Scotch & Soda, the light version uses a slightly lighter softer scotch, and a lager syrup; the dark version a more robust, smoky scotch and a little Guinness syrup. We create the syrups ourselves by boiling and reducing down the beer and then mixing with sugar, it makes for a really concentrated beer flavour, obviously with extra sweetness. It results in a delicious, easy drinking scotch and soda with a touch of beer flavour as a shout to a ‘boilermaker’ (beer with a shot of whisky on the side).

This weekend I’m really excited for the San Junipero night we have in the bar on Friday, we’ll have live performance and cabaret alongside our DJs for the night, with a bit of bingo thrown in. It’s bound to be heaps of fun.

Next week in the theatre is ‘Where do all the dead pigeons go?’ I saw this at Edinburgh fringe last year and loved it, it’s really funny, silly, a bit weird and heartwarming, I’d really recommend it.

Enjoy yaself. Cheers,

Justine