Siempre Bicycle Café

The Siempre Bicycle Café logo, a stylised face with a handlebar moustache, painted in black on the white brick wall at the café .Glasgow’s Siempre Bicycle Café continues the long association between cycling and coffee, occupying a multi-facetted space right next to the Kelvinhall Metro station in Glasgow’s West End.

Out front, there’s a cycle shop and sales room, where you can, if you like, sit and take your coffee, while at the back, there’s an equally large room where more typical café seating shares the space with the counter, which itself encloses an open-plan kitchen. If you keep on going, there’s also a large, sheltered garden right at the back. Unless, of course, you’re coming from the station, in which case you reach the garden first, then the café and finally the bike shop. Siempre also has a takeaway window, so you don’t even have to go inside if you don’t want to.

Serving Dear Green Coffee’s Goosedubs blend on espresso, with single origins available as filter from both Dear Green and another local roaster, Charlie Mills, Siempre has got the coffee side of things covered. There’s also an impressive array of tasty-looking cakes, plus a very comprehensive food offering. This being a cycle shop as well as a café, there’s also plenty of secure bicycle storage both inside and out.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Siempre Bicycle Café, as seen from Dumbarton Road...
  • ... and looking from Dumbarton Road down the corridor towards the metro station.
  • Further down the corridor, you find the takeaway hatch...
  • ... but if you come from the metro, the first thing you find is the 'secret' garden!
  • The view back up the corridor seen from the metro end.
  • However, let's check out the garden. Informative signs always help.
  • A panorama of the (very large) garden.
  • Plenty of bike racks here. Plus, a door into the café...
  • However, let's not go in just yet. Heading on back up the corridor...
  • ... there's the takeaway hatch, or another door into the café on the right.
  • Carrying on, there's more bike storage...
  • ... and then we're back to the front!
  • Stepping inside, the panoramic view from the door.
  • Looking back towards the door: the window bar and the end of the communal table...
  • ... and on the other side, the sofa and comfy chairs.
  • Another view, with the window bar beyond.
  • A close up of the window bar on the other side...
  • More bikes in the windows!
  • The long, communal table dominates the front room...
  • ... while I was fascinated by the benches which seemed to be supported by blocks of wood!
  • The table really is long though.
  • The walls are lined with cycle kit for sale...
  • ... and bikes, of course.
  • A view back towards Dumbarton Road from the back of the front room.
  • Before we leave, what's that hanging from the ceiling. Light bulbs, of course...
  • ... and a Siempre Bicycle Café tote bag!
  • Sound advice for the taller amongst us (heading from the café to the front room).
  • A panoramic view of the café from just inside the door...
  • Alternatively, you could have come in from the garden, in which case you'd use this door.
  • A panorama view from by the back door.
  • The main seating in the café.
  • What's that hiding away in the corner?
  • What a cosy little nook! And I love the logo on the wall.
  • A view of the counter, enclosing the open-plan kitchen behind.
  • A bad photo of a welcome sign.
  • You can find the drinks menu on the table.
  • There's also a drinks menu chalked on the walk.
  • The all-important (and very white) espresso machine.
  • Now, who is the coffee by again?
  • There are also guests from another local roaster, Charlie Mills...
  • ... as well as a beer and wine selection.
  • I liked the table/ordering system for the staff.
  • Did I mention that there was cake? No? Well, there's cake.
  • Lots and lots of cake...
  • There's carrot cake. Or white chocolate and coconut cake.
  • There's also carrot and walnut, plus various slices...
  • ... and lots of pastries.
  • More cake!
  • Including banofee crumble.
  • I had the last slice of the apple and cinnamon cake, plus a piccolo.
  • My cake in detail...
  • ... and my piccolo in detail.
  • I also tried the guest filter from Charlie Mills.
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I made the trip to the Kelvinhall Metro station on several occasions to watch my now defunct basketball team, the Guildford Heat (now resurrected as the Surrey Scorchers), take on the Glasgow Rocks at the nearby Kelvinhall sports centre. So, I must have walked past the site of Siempre Bicycle Café on many occasions as I came along the long, rather dingy corridor from the metro station to Dumbarton Road. Of course, in those days, Siempre wasn’t there, opening the season after the Rocks moved home and the Heat folded. Which is a shame.

Of the three parts of Siempre, the garden was the one where I didn’t linger too long, it being November when I visited. However, it’s impressively large and looked lovely and sheltered, the perfect spot for the summer. If you’re into your bikes, I suggest you sit in the front, perhaps on one of the window bars that line the Dumbarton Street and corridor sides, or maybe on the three-seater sofa or in one of the accompanying armchairs that are set back from the window on the right as you come in. If you’ve come with friends, there’s a long, tall communal table that runs the length of the front room on the left-hand side, or a couple of smaller communal tables at the back. If you sit anywhere in the front, the staff will come through and take your order.

If you’d like a more traditional café setting, head for the back, either by going in through the garden or corridor, or by passing through the front room. Here the seating is all two- and four-person tables with chairs, plus a very cosy-looking sofa in the far corner.

The front room is more open and spacious, with windows across the front and along the first part of the corridor. Aided by the high ceilings, it’s quite a bright space. There are bikes and bike-kit everywhere and, at the back on the right,  is the counter for the bicycle part of the business.

In the café at the back, it’s all exposed brick and stone. About half of the space is taken up by the counter, which stands on a raised dais, enclosing an open-plan kitchen. This means that you’re enticed by the aroma of cooking… It’s much darker here, with fewer (and smaller) windows and a lower ceiling. There’s plenty of lights, but only half of them were on when I was there on a gloomy Saturday afternoon.

I had a piccolo, using Dear Green Coffee’s Goosedubs blend, which cuts through the milk, but tasted quite dark. Perhaps it was just me, but I’m more used to Dear Green’s lighter-roasted single origins (one of which was available as filter). I also tried the bulk-brew filter, a Columbian single-origin from Charlie Mills. This was one that matured and grew in complexity as it cooled, turning into a very drinkable cup.

The coffee is supplement by an extensive food menu (which I didn’t sample) and a mammoth cake selection (which I did). I had the last slice of apple and cinnamon cake, which was perhaps a little too sweet for my tastes, although there was nothing fundamentally wrong with it. My coffee and cake arrived with a “wee glass of water” and tiny square of fudge, the sort of little touch I appreciate.

162 DUMBARTON ROAD • GLASGOW • G11 6XE +44 (0) 141 334 2385
Monday 08:00 – 18:00 Roaster Dear Green Coffee (espresso) + Guests (filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Bars, Sofas
Wednesday 08:00 – 18:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches
Thursday 08:00 – 18:00 Service Table
Friday 08:00 – 18:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa (£5 minimum)
Saturday 08:30 – 18:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:30 – 18:00 Power Very limited
Chain No Visits 29th November 2014

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3 thoughts on “Siempre Bicycle Café

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