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Picture of Old Fire House
Image posted by peter ashworth
Submitted on Saturday, 3rd February 2024
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Old Fire House, Exeter

50 New North Road
Phone: 01392277279
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Reviews of Old Fire House (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Old Fire House

This nice old fashioned pub, close to the main High Street and a short walk from Exeter Central station, was indeed a former firehouse, which operated from 1834 to 1888. The pub is located in the former engine house and part of the stable block, although the building was put to various other uses, including World War II recruitment office and Co-op store warehouse, before opening as a pub in 1986. The pub has a relatively small interior with a lovely quarry stone floor and rugged stonework walls. The bar runs down the rear wall and has a nice dark wood counter that turns 90 degrees at the far end. There’s a large shelving unit across much of the bar back, with beer on silage in the rear right corner and a cider bar to the far right. A couple of milk churns have been repurposed as bar stools, whilst elsewhere, there are lots of bench and chair seating options, mainly along the front wall and over to the left, where there's also a raised space with enough room for one extra table. The decor is a good mix of old paintings, hop lined ceiling beams, old artifacts such as a nice clock above a wide disused fireplace, and plenty of fairy lights that help to create muted lighting and a cosy feel befitting this old space. A small cobbled courtyard to the front has a few picnic benches and gives a nice perspective of this old building. There may possibly be further seating upstairs, as a few people seemed to be heading up there, but I didn’t explore. Music was playing in the background but the general chatter from a reasonable bunch of punters made it hard to hear what it was. Food came from a pizza menu and although I didn’t try any, it certainly smelt good.
There were just the two cask ales on the go when I arrived - Hanlons Citra and Fire Fly - both on silage, but an impressive six ciders in boxes were also available. The Firefly was a decent enough drop, served to me by a bubbly barmaid. Having watched the last free table get snapped up whilst I was being served, a random customer offered me to share his table, from where we were able to marvel at the profane vocabulary of one particularly inebriated young lady sat across from us.
This is a cracking little pub in a very nice old building, which is well worth taking a bit of time to explore. The beer straight from the barrel - sometimes a bit of a red flag for me - seemed very good, the service was great and there was a decent atmosphere, making for a pleasant visit and one to remember for a revisit some day.

On 23rd May 2022 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3166 recommendations about 3166 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about Old Fire House

Little change in the intervening few years with ale, cider, mulled wine and pizza all being present and correct. Five gravity ales available and we went for Hanlons Port Stout and Yellohammer which were both in good nick. The tall and efficient barmaid made getting served in the crush at the bar (it’s a very popular venue) a little bit easier. Clientele almost exclusively students. I’ve never been able to get a seat here, they must be making a fortune on Saturday nights. Get here prior to 8pm if you want to get a seat and enjoy the experience.

January 2014 The Old Firehouse is located a couple minutes out of the immediate city centre and isn’t immediately obvious unless you’re looking for it, the entrance tucked back beyond an angled courtyard behind a pair of large wrought-iron gates. The best way to describe the interior is to say that it’s like a multi-floored cider-heavy version of the Alehouse (Reading) or Rummers (Aberystwyth); exposed brick, wood fittings and a Ruritanian feel. Was the busiest pub that I visited on Sunday evening by a mile. Very dim inside, the atmosphere was buzzing but amiable and seemingly full of students. Live music on the ground floor courtesy of a noodling acoustic guitar soloist. Many ciders available on the handpumps, most of which I’d never heard of. Ale wise, there was a decent selection all on stillage (six or so?). I decided to follow the maxim of ‘when in Rome’ and treated myself to a mulled cider (from a proper cauldron, 2 quid a go) which was pleasant though not a patch on the mulled mead at the aforementioned Alehouse. Plenty of people informally eating and pizza was seemingly everywhere. Well-worth the trip based on this fleeting visit. Note: closes weekday afternoons. Rated 8

On 1st December 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 5307 recommendations about 5290 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Ale Monster left this review about The Old Fire House

This is a brilliant free house built around 1834 that is grade II listed and was actually used as a fire station until 1888, the Georgian frontage with sash windows, decorative columns and shallow pitched roof concealed by a parapet is partially obscured by tall gate posts and a wrought iron gate. The building is at a 45 degree angle to the road as the New North road was only built in the 1930’s. The interior is one smallish dark room with exposed stone walls and stone floor, the untreated wood bar counter and basic bar back is an L shape following the walls in the back right corner, there is a large empty fire place in the back wall on the left of the counter, the ceiling is bare wood boards and new thick wood beams decorated with several old oil lamps, garlands of dried hop plants and fairy lights, across the front of the room below the windows are a few rustic (misshapen) tables and pew style benches. Between the roadside gate and the front of the building is a small cobbled court yard with a couple of tables which are covered by a glass awning.

The pub does not have any regular ales but there are up to eight changing guest beers all on gravity (straight from the cask) from a stillage against the back wall of the bar counter, worth mentioning is a wall full of boxes of cider along the right wall also behind the counter and four on hand pull. Some of the beers on during this visit were Hunters Crack Shot, Exeter Avocet Organic, O’Hanlon’s Original Port Stout, Teignworthy Reel Ale and Blue Anchor Spingo Middle. I tried all of these and found them to be in excellent condition (GBG 2013 and Cask Marque). The staff were very knowledgeable about the beers and eager to offer samples.

A great pub with some character and a fantastic selection of beers that they really seem to care about. Something to be aware of is that it doesn’t look like a typical pub and although I was actually looking for it, I still managed to walk past before turning round and finding it on the way back! Staff were very friendly and helpful which seems to be a company policy, so a little forced but they appeared genuinely happy to be working there. Live music on both Friday and Saturday nights, the pub is popular with students. I have not visited many pubs in Exeter but I would definitely return here for a few drinks if in town again.

On 3rd July 2013 - rating: 10
[User has posted 199 recommendations about 199 pubs]

External web links for Old Fire House

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Ale Monster
Exeter Central, 0.39 miles, 7 min walk (show)
St James Park (Devon), 0.59 miles, 11 min walk (show)
Exeter St Davids, 0.82 miles, 15 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for Old Fire House, Exeter
3rd Feb 2024, 10:48
Picture submitted by peter ashworth approved
3rd Feb 2024, 10:47
Picture submitted by peter ashworth

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Beer Garden : Yes - cobbled terrace - last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • CAMRA Discount : Yes - 10% - last updated 03 February 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Car Park : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Child Friendly : Yes - no under-10's. - last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Darts : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Dog Friendly : Yes - Until 8pm - last updated 23 May 2022 by Pub SignMan
  • Function Room : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Jukebox : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Karaoke : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Live Music : Yes - Friday & Saturday - last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Micropub : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Pinball : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Pool Table : No last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 03 February 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 03 February 2017 by ROB Camra
  • Wheelchair Access : No - good luck getting a wheelchair anywhere near the bar or toilets - last updated 28 January 2017 by Quinno _
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 23 May 2022 by Pub SignMan
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