A student guide to the best independent cafes and bars in Exeter
Sofia Gallucci-Giles gives us the lowdown on Exeter’s indie food and drink locations to check out this term.
With plenty of quaint back streets tinged with seaside character, Exeter is home to some of Devon’s most charming coffeeshops, up-and-coming bars and fashionable restaurants. Lucky for us students, it means that choosing a somewhat secluded South-West university certainly has its perks. The best part of all, is that Exeter has so many brilliant independent cafes, bars and restaurants, meaning you can support local businesses and have your Instagram-able foodie fix. Here’s your cheeky student guide to the best foodie study spots and boozy ‘Tinder date’ bars in Exeter.
1. EXPLODING BAKERY
First up is one Exeter’s indie-est bakeries and coffeeshops, Exploding Bakery. With a rustic chic interior, this bakery makes for a brilliant group study spot with its big tables, or even better, a perfect coffee date setting. Their coffee is dreamy, their cakes are always brilliant, and they also operate as a deli so they sell fresh salads, quinoas and bread to buy too. Definitely not one to miss.
2. PINK MOON
The first on our list of banging bars in Exeter is Pink Moon, probably the most Instagrammable place in the city. With its stylish interior, Pink Moon is the perfect place for a boozy brunch by day, but head downstairs and this bar by night turns into buzzing venue for some glitzy cocktails. It can be a little more on the pricey side but is definitely worth it if you’re (planning on) having a civilised evening out.
New to Exeter’s coffee shop scene, Puravida, translating as Pure Life, is the latest lifestyle café on Well Street. Serving the freshest superfoods and inspired by the typical Bali surfer’s paradise, this café was one of my favourite post-lockdown finds. I think the great thing about this new café is that the staff seem so passionate, you can tell the food is made so well and from fresh ingredients. Supporting a local business that has just opened since lockdown makes it even better!
4. THE TERRACE
Probably one of the most classic date locations in Exeter, you haven’t done single student life without a first date here for cocktail hour. With good views, a swanky vibe and a reasonably priced cocktail menu, you really can have a ‘proper’ adult date in this Exeter rooftop bar. If you’re not ‘vibing’ it as a romantic location, then The Terrace is also a great place for a nice meal with friends, or to grab cocktails before a society ball. Not only do the views make The Terrace a bar with something a little bit more special, but it has a sophisticated atmosphere that’ll make for a lovely night out.
5. ON THE WATERFRONT
Tasty pizza. Good beer. Fab Views. On The Waterfront has all of that. Located right on Exeter Quay, this is one of my favourite restaurants to take friends who come to visit. If not for the huge size of their pizzas, then the fact that this restaurant has a really friendly feel to it makes it a must-visit restaurant. Why not try coming here for a meal with new flatmates at the end of your crazy Freshers’ Week?
Next on the must-have dates whilst at Exeter is a cocktail on Jazz Night at Artigianos. A staple study location during the day and date venue by night, this bar/café has a perfect jazzy and rustic feel to it. With live music and fairy lights, it is a cosy and stylish must-see venue. They also do fab paninis in case you get peckish during a revision session there.
7. THE OLD FIREHOUSE
The Old Firehouse is an Exeter staple. Rumoured to have inspired The Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter (although this is in dispute), this pub has the cosiest and warmest vibes around. Their huge pizzas are a must (would recommend sharing though), and their flavoured cider is even better. With the backdrop of a warm fire, fairy lights and bunting, The Old Firehouse also does the best Sunday roast, perfect for the end of first term.