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Muddy review: The Lounge at No.5, Exeter

No5. The number of Porn Star Martinis Muddy writer Ashley quaffed while reviewing Exeter's exciting new cocktail lounge bar? Or marks out of ten? Find out here...

THE LOCATION

Although The Clarence sadly remains boarded up after the fire in 2016, the ancient area around Cathedral Green continues its phoenix-like rise from the ashes as it moves towards being the perfect night out destination in Exeter.

The newest arrival is the brand new cocktail lounge on the upper floor of No.5, the casual dining restaurant set in one of the stunning Grade 1 listed mediaeval buildings in Cathedral Yard.

THE LOWDOWN

The new owners, Linda and Charles Horner bought No.5 just at the start of the pandemic but have used the frustrating delays to fully opening wisely, taking time to carefully and beautifully restore the building so that its original character is allowed to shine through.

Enhanced by deftly curated antiques, furniture, furnishings and knick-knacks, all chosen personally by Linda who clearly has a great eye.

THE VIBE

Reminiscent of a gentlemen’s club or a boutique hotel lounge, with seating artfully scattered to encourage a relaxed vibe and a working fireplace for cosy winter days.

Think lots of different hues and styles of velvet armchair, all deliciously comfortable. I checked out a couple of them for you – you’re welcome.

QUAFF

Well-crafted cocktails are a must-have – the night we went the Pornstar Martinis were flying out. We’re talking ‘Girls night out’. Pop in for a cocktail, wander off to get food then return later if you can’t resist the lure of the lounge for a quick snifter before heading home. 

It’s not just for the girls either – Mr Muddy was thrilled to see local Salcombe cider on the menu. (Strictly entre nous, he’s not a massive cocktail fan.)

KID FRIENDLY?

Definitely an adult-only location, although the downstairs restaurant has both a covered courtyard and a surprise secret garden at the rear where children and dogs are very much welcomed.

ANYTHING ELSE?

You can privately hire the elegant front rooms overlooking the cathedral for parties or even business meetings.

Clock that lovely peacock wallpaper Linda had made up by a local artist. Returning to the office after all that home working would be delightful here.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Now the House of Fraser building has been sold and plans are afoot to create further entertainment venues for this part of town, the lounge at No.5 is ideally located to be a total triumph. Head over pronto whilst you can still nab one of those sumptuous seats.

Good for: Date night, evenings with friends, morning coffee if you’re feeling fancy.

Not for: Nipping to the loo – it’s more of a trek which takes you up a beautiful staircase and round some winding corridors of the ancient building so not exactly a hardship. There’s also a beautifully appointed disabled and baby change access toilet on the ground floor.

The damage: Very reasonable with main meals in the restaurant averaging £16 and bottles of wine starting at £20; cocktails are £9 and the cider was £4.50 for a pint.

No.5, 5 Cathedral Close, Exeter EX1 1EZ. Tel 01392 758681

Words by Ashley Tremlett.


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