L’Atelier du Vin

This 1920s-style speakeasy began life in North Laine, but has since opened a second (and superior) branch in the hip locale of Seven Dials. Head to its bootlegger bar where jazz plays on loop and order from a drinks menu populated by vintage wines, rare spirits and prohibition-era cocktails. You’ll find us perched in the patio garden sipping the Journalist (naturally), a heady medley of gin, vermouth, Cointreau, lemon and bitters.

Black Dove

Dotted with old-world bric-a-brac, this brooding cocoon of a Kemptown bar describes itself as a “purveyor of alcohol, atmosphere and audio”. Its packed events calendar includes the long-running spoken-word evening Horseplay, Jazzology and the hip-hop knees-up Vinyl Veterans. Like this? Try North Laine Brewhouse, where craft beers are brewed on-site. 

 

Hope & Ruin

Within stumbling distance of Brighton Station (should you need to return from whence you came), this all-vegan watering hole is a joyfully chaotic mishmash of reclaimed junk. It keeps a bustling crowd of locals (and their dogs) entertained with live, grassroots gigs, artsy happenings, quizzes, craft beers and plant-based fast food from Beelzebab, a kitchen that occupies a shelled-out touring caravan in a corner of the pub. 

 

Small Batch Coffee

Caffeine aficionados get their fix at Small Batch, which roasts its beans near Brighton’s train station. It has a handful of cafes across the city: we like knocking back an espresso on Norfolk Street before hitting The Lanes or setting up camp with a good book and the houmous eggs from its all-day brunch menu in Seven Dials – perfect for people-watching.

 

Pelicano

Pelicano has been roasting single-origin, direct-trade coffee on its Sydney Street premises since 2014. Today, if you’ve caught a train into the city, make a beeline for the Queens Road branch (and then on to the sea), or drop by the Miami-style bar on the southern cusp of The Level. It’s Smokey Bird blend is best enjoyed with a Pelicano brown-butter banana cake. If you’re nearer Hove way, try micro-roaster Pharmacie on Cambridge Grove. 

 

The Mesmerist

The Mesmerist’s speakeasy, quirky atmosphere makes visitors feel like they’ve entered one of Brighton’s fairground attractions. Buzzing with a sometimes cheesy, often racy atmosphere, expect a fun-filled, funfair evening with great cocktails and occasional live music too.

Prince Albert

Banksy’s Kissing Coppers was spray-painted on the side of the Prince Albert in 2004, though it was controversially removed and sold four years later, and has since been replaced with a replica. Today, the boho boozer is instantly recognisable thanks to its three-storey mural of musical stars. Inside, it’s grungy but endearing and serves up good beers and great gigs. Note: there’s no kitchen here, but you’re welcome to bring your own food. 

 

The Marlborough Pub & Theatre

The Marly, as it’s known among locals, has been a mecca for Brighton’s queer crowd since the 70s. The building dates back to 1794 and has since had dalliances through many incarnations as a ballroom, gambling suite and all-round den of iniquity. Upstairs, its small theatre run by Marlborough Productions hosts cabaret, music and performances – line-ups are especially good during Pride, Brighton Fringe and LGBT History Month. 

 

Marwood Bar and Coffee House

Hidden down an alley in the heart of the Lanes, this place is only occupied with the locals. The space is filled with bizarre vintage paraphernalia (think space invaders tables being used as actual tables, graffiti sprayed everywhere, mannequins) which make for excellent conversation pieces. As well as the decor, the coffee and food does not disappoint, and in the evening, the fun continues as coffees get switched for cocktails.

No 32

Simple and elegant, the calming, dark tones of No 32 ensure a relaxed yet refined atmosphere through and through. It is the perfect venue for evening drinks but it is open over the day for brunch, lunch and dinner too. On Fridays and Saturdays, it turns into a club where many of the locals flock to dance the night away under the exquisite chandelier which occupies the main hall.

The Plotting Parlour

Awarded ‘Best Cocktail Bar’ in Brighton, its clear that The Plotting Parlour knows its stuff. All the drinks have been carefully concocted creating complex combinations of flavours that will excite and tantalise the tastebuds. Whilst they also offer wines and classic cocktails, it would seem a waste not to try one of the specialities that are each lovingly mixed using seasonal produce and house made ingredients!

Bond St. Coffee

Not far from Brighton’s famous (and always slightly bizarre) Dome, you’ll find this cobalt-blue coffee shop selling perfectly crafted brews. Their single origin coffee comes from Horsham Roaster, just up the coast. Their menu changes constantly, always offering up fresh flavours, while the stylishly scuffed interior – all chipped-wooden floors, squeaky leather armchairs and record players – is the kind of place you can settle down in for the long haul.

Blend and Brew

Grab a pick-me-up at this postage stamp-sized corner café, where you’ll find a few tables and chairs scattered out the front and a marvellous selection of freshly baked goods to go with your barista-brewed coffee.

  • 45 Trafalgar Street
    BN1 4FT

Red Roaster

Specialist coffee is king at this botanical café in Kemptown. As well as being one of Brighton’s coffee standard-bearers, the food is overseen by chef Matt Gillan, winner of the Great British Menu who held a Michelin star for five years. Unsurprisingly, their brunches are a thing of beauty, offering up roasted butternut squash, avocado mousse and poached egg on rye bread, or herb waffles with bacon jam, black pudding, fried eggs and apple. Come lunchtime, locals go to town on sharing plates of crab and green-chilli brioche buns, burrata, ceviche with grapefruit rub of beef with caramel onions.

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