You’ve got to give credit where credit is due and The Bike Shed on Old Street in London has, in the parlance of the day, ‘nailed it’.
Having worked in London for about 20 years, I’m no stranger to the daily battle with traffic congestion, you’re more likely to see Lord Lucan ride by on Shergar than finding a parking place that (a) has any spaces left and (b) doesn’t require a 2nd mortgage. For that alone The Bike Shed deserves your patronage as it has it’s own private parking for motorcycles which is made all the more interesting as a guest when sat in the courtyard as bikes roar (slowly) past your table to access the parking, it adds a certain grittiness to the place, which is a common as muck in the hipster environs of EC2, but still has a novelty factor to a veteran commuter such as myself.
So much in fact that I’m struggling to write this in a way that doesn’t sound like I’ve had a back hander from Jim, the very friendly manager of the place who was surrounded by his equally attentive staff whom seemed to have all the time in the world for their customers, and may I add, they didn’t know who I was so hadn’t been tipped off that I was there to write a review for all you lovely people.
The Bike Shed is a genuine Motorcycle Club with membership etc. but I was sat amongst dinners ranging from leather clad bikers to what appeared to be families enjoying an evening meal after a day of sightseeing and appeared at home in what could be made to feel a quite unwelcoming venue for a family of tourists.
Apart from the obvious, such as food, drink and a lovely atmosphere, here’s where they’ve nailed it. As mentioned, it has it’s own parking and a very nice outside courtyard with seating. As you walk inside the warmth of the brickwork arches with the leather upholstered armchairs, sofa’s and dining area are perfect to me. Walk to the back and your greeted by a beautiful Triumph on one side and a Barbers, yes, a barber shop in case you feel the need to look less hirsute in this Hipster dominated area. In the next arch, more sofa’s etc and the shop.
Now, as a male who isn’t a great lover of today’s commercial version of Christmas, this is heaven for a man with a bike loving partner. Not only can you park, eat, drink, get a shave and haircut, but whilst you’re there you can buy the lady of your life a gift or two in the shop. Yes guys, you know what I’m driving at. After a trip to The Bike Shed, you can go home and woo your loved one with a gift making a visit here appear as a selfless act on your part. Genius and no mistake.
Another facility that can put a real downer on a dining experience is the toilets. I can’t abide dirty toilets and obviously they can’t either. In the gents you’re still left under no illusion that you’re in the world of motorcycles but having been fortunate enough to dine in some of London’s top restaurants, you couldn’t tell if you were is a motorcycle club or Claridges (a favourite of the Queen’s mum, gawd bless her). Clean, well maintained and like the rest of the venue, functional but tasteful. 10 out of 10 chaps!
I’m going to stop now as it already feels like I’m gushing over this place but believe me when I say I’m going back to The Bike Shed for dinner with my wife and spend the evening basking in the wonderful surroundings without any nagging doubt she won’t love it too. It’s cool with a capital K!
If you frequent a venue that deserves a write up, get in touch.