Restaurants in Exeter with Live Music
Exeter is a city with a surprisingly deep musical heritage. Epic prog-rockers Muse played their first gigs on the city's thriving pub circuit, Coldplay's Chris Martin was born in nearby Whitestone and both Radiohead's Thom Yorke and pop star Will Young were students at the University of Exeter. As one of Devon's largest and most cosmopolitan cities, it's also rife with live music.
From acoustic acts and cover bands to major touring acts, on an average weekend in Exeter you'll almost certainly find something to suit your tastes. Finding a venue that scratches that itch and also offers a slap-up meal into the bargain, however, is something you might assume would pose more of a problem. Not necessarily so, as the restaurants and bars below invariably prove.
Rendezvous Wine Bar and Restaurant
| 38-40 Southernhay East, EX1 1PE
An intimate, independent wine bar and restaurant nestled in the city centre's Southernhay Quarter, Rendezvous is an ideal date night location for wine connoisseurs. It also offers an affordable two-course lunch menu, so is ideally placed for lunchtime meetings. However, what many don't realise is that it also doubles as a live music venue on special nights, with subtle acoustic nights and solo singers often nestled up in the corner, offering a complimentary relaxed atmosphere to a venue already swimming in it. A genuine hidden gem.
| 6 Northernhay Place, EX4 3QJ
Circa1924 is a genuine oddity, but that's what makes it so special. Offering “great drinks, good vibes and damn fine live music” as well as a menu specialising in truly game-changing steak and nibbles, it's slowly becoming the beating heart of the city centre. The menu is unpretentious, with seasonal, local produce very much the order of the day, whilst the drink menu is anything but. Every Friday and Saturday evening, the Circa also plays host to some of the most talented local performers. A perfect venue for live music fans who also fancy a spot of dinner and a stiff, unique drink. Ambience to spare, glorious steak and one of the best venues in the city.
| 19 Queen St, EX4 3QJ
Whilst a shopping centre might not seem like an ideal location for a hip and happening live music venue, The Terrace is all about bucking convention. The rooftop bar and club lounge is not only one of the city's most exclusive nightspots; it's also a 350 capacity live music venue, a top BBQ restaurant and a venue for some of the best up-and-coming local acts. Truly a venue for all seasons; whether you're looking to catch the latest indie act or fancy a quiet drink soundtracked by a top DJ, The Terrace has you covered.
The Old Firehouse
| 50 New North Road, EX4 4EP
As you would expect, given that classic name, the Old Firehouse is an Exeter institution widely regarded as the best ale house in the city. Other than just offering quality beers and ciders (which means it's obviously a real favourite with the student population), the Firehouse also provides its denizens with giant pizzas, delicious vegetarian platters and quality live music. The stage isn't particularly large, but that only adds to the intimate, one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Come for the beer, stay for just about everything else.
The Stable Exeter
| Unit 32 Guildhall Shopping Centre, High Street, EX4 3EB
A chain with genuine class and (perhaps most importantly) soul, The Stable in Exeter is a boutique pizza restaurant spread out over two floors at the Guildhall shopping centre. The surprisingly affordable wood-fired pizzas might be the main draw, but this is so much more than just a fancy Pizza Hut. Top DJs man the decks most weekends and the occasional band will also hop up on occasion to serenade diners. A perfect first date night for Exeter Uni students.
The Hen House
| 7-8 North Street, EX4 3QS
A chicken restaurant with so much more to offer than Nando's, The Hen House is a relatively new location, but it's quickly become one of the city's most iconic casual dining restaurants. Healthy and nutritious chicken dishes are very much the order of the day here, with the fragrant, succulent and authentic Polish and Mediterranean cuisine earning it a strong local reputation. The restaurant also plays host to live music evenings on Saturday nights and provides a relaxed atmosphere that you simply wouldn't find in a more 'traditional' music venue.
| 37 Commercial Road, EX2 4AE
Now, this is something truly special and quite classy. Known as a “smoke and ale house” due to its famous, in-house cured and smoked meats and quality range of craft ales, the restaurant sits on the river in a converted warehouse with a definitively contemporary, but welcoming atmosphere. Every Thursday night, the restaurant also transforms into one of the most unique live music venues in the city. Come here for quiet, reflective acoustic music, soulful singers and rousing covers.
A great night out often begins with a great meal and ends with an even greater gig. Hopefully, the above establishments have been able to prove conclusively that those two events don't have to be mutually exclusive. It is possible to enjoy great food and great live music in the same place. You just have to know where to look.
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