Arriving at The Bike Shed Shoreditch, I was taken back to when I was 16. Riding around the North Downs and stopping off at Rickers at the bottom of Box Hill on a Sunday morning. Queuing 20 minutes for a greasy egg and bacon bap and a cold polystyrene tea. I remember those trips to Brighton to meet friends for a smoke on the beach. All the parties. The crates of cider between our legs. We were a group of 15 enjoying life and making new friends, going where ever the road took us. Now the road has taken me to these railway arches at 384 Old Street.
Opened up in 2015, The Bike Shed was the cool reply to Soho House’s sophomoric question. A place to come and meet people who were into rock and roll, booze, bikes and food. Every Thursday (like the one we’re writing about) is members evening, but open to the public. Two fingers up to the elitism of other members clubs.
The first thing that springs out at you here is the decor. It’s not a high class joint, nor a low-lit dive. It coasts the concrete between feeling exclusive and inclusive. Booths line one side of the room for more private dining and drinks, high tables and chairs erupt from the rest, where you can perch and pick, stand and sip.
Choosing a dish can be a chore. We have all been there uhmming and ahhing over what to go with whilst the waiter asks, “another 5 minutes?” But I’ve got a flawless technique to solve this problem. If I haven’t chosen in the next 5 minutes, I’ll go with the burger. I think you can judge a place by what they do with a patty. And, quite frankly, I like burgers. It makes everyone’s life easier.
So, when the waiter did come back, it had simply to be the Bike Shed Burger. With your choice of cheese and either bacon or the 18 hour slow-cooked pork belly it’s a real no-brainer.
When it came there were two man-sized slabs of belly slapped generously on the plate. Served in a brioche bun, with Applewood smoked cheddar, celeriac & radish slaw, onion rings and chips, it oozed grease in the most delicious way. And the smell of the char on the bun, in combination with the sweat bread and smokey pork belly will delight the nose of any carnivore.
Beautifully, The Bike Shed has a whole host of beers on tap and in bottles to wash down that meaty goodness. Curious Brew, a fresh little lager from Chapel Down is just the ticket, but there was an interesting selection of ciders for those after something a bit more fruity.
Speaking of which, dessert was the family classic apple crumble. With a sizzling sharpness complemented by the sweet golden, caramelised topping split between two, it was the perfect portion to finish the meal.
Although delicious, you don’t just come to The Bike Shed for the food. You’re there for the decor, the atmosphere, the mixture of clientele. From the office hipsters working nearby, to the die-hard bikers, it’s a hotch-potch crew all there to enjoy the booze and bury their faces in burger buns. And if you fancy it the barbers in the bar will give you a fresh trim, and a shop selling just around the corner a jacket for your ride home.
The whole time we were eating, the raw holler of blues artist Pistol Pete filled the air around us, and we forgot that we were in the heart of Shoreditch. Transported instead to some dusty trail out of town. A bar hemmed in leather and oil and the growl of machines.
Quirky, delicious, good selection of beers. What more is there to say? Get yourself down there and be bad. Good bad.
Bike Shed Motorcycle Club
384 Old Street
London EC1V 9LT
+44 (0) 207 729 8114