Bike Shed Motorcycle Club
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A biker café with bells on at the eastern end of Old Street
Just off the North Circular in Brent, the Ace Café is in its seventh decade serving up coffee, rolls and rock ’n’ roll to the leather-clad faithful. It’s the oldest biker bar in London. And the newest? Welcome to The Bike Shed: originally a blog and forum for custom bike nerds, now IRL and occupying two big railway arches right next to Shoreditch Town Hall.
Alongside a shop selling biker bits and bobs (and a rockabilly barbershop) this Shed contains an upmarket cafe/bar/restaurant for bougie bikers and dedicated pedestrians alike.
In fact, it’s only the faint smell of engine oil and the choppers parked up outside that give the game away. With a wooden bar up one side and red leather booths down the other, The Bike Shed looks like any other trendy arch-based London eatery. Burgers, bangers and other biker caff staples share a menu with superfood salads and detox juices. There’s an extensive breakfast/brunch selection, a long list of cocktails, and beers that range from Peroni to Beavertown, including non-alcoholic options for anyone actually on wheels. To drink after 8pm you need to either order food or become a member, which should keep the bikers safe from rowdy City boys.
Both our burgers – one meat, one veggie – were accomplished and generous, piled high with onion rings and served in brioche buns with homemade gherkins and coleslaw. Crispy mushroom and polenta fritters made a great starter. Prices are decent for Shoreditch, and the portions are hefty enough to refuel even the biggest and beardiest of bikers. There’s good coffee, free wifi and Chuck Berry on the stereo. Flat-white cool welded to petrolhead geekery: it’s an odd combo, but it turns out it can really motor.
With more than 10,000-square feet of restaurant, lounge, shop and event space, the Bike Shed is hidden in plain sight under the railway bridge at the end of Old Street, where it joins Shoreditch High Street. There's a walk-in entrance at one end and a private road at the other, for summertime al-fresco dining, coffee and motorcycle and bicycle parking. There's also a proper barbers.
The menu focuses on all-day brunch with barista coffee and home-baked cakes. Lunchtime adds a range of honest British food to the brunch offer. From 6pm new dishes are added to ensure it’s a space where you could eat every day. The bar menu is also delicious, complementing a superb range of beers, wines and cocktails. Everything from the kitchen is prepared and cooked in-house using fresh ingredients with genuine provenance. You can also enjoy live music on Thursday nights.
After 10pm the Bike Shed will only serve alcohol to seated diners, club members and signed-in guests. Not only is this a bit nicer than crowding at the bar, it makes the Bike Shed an oasis away from the chaos of Shoreditch on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, so you can enjoy your meal or drinks without sharing the space with large groups of heavy drinkers on a bar crawl through east London.
Kids, families and dogs are welcome.