Nightlife in Brighton: the best clubs and gigs

By Emma Gregg, a Travel Professional

Read more on Brighton.

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Brighton's club and music scene is varied, energetic and eccentric. You won't find many glossy superclubs here – but there are plenty of quirky little venues with jam-packed dancefloors.

The first thing to remember is that there’s no one-size-fits-all dress code in this party town. Retro-modern or classic grunge? Sharp suits, or shorts and flipflops? Disco dresses, or boas and tassels? Ethnic headwraps, or fluffy bunny ears? Brighton’s motley crew of live music fans and clubbers do it all. Recently, one venue even threw a Wardrobe Disasters night, with prizes for the worst-dressed "Charity Shop Mingers". Now. that’s a nice way to support the needy.

If new music is your thing, you’re in for a treat. Brighton is a particularly good place to track down the fresh, frothy and funky. Every other teenager you meet here claims to be in a band and the city even has its own rock academy, BIMM (Brighton Institute of Modern Music; www.bimm.co.uk). Each May, Brighton hosts The Great Escape (www.escapegreat.com), which bills itself as Europe’s leading new music festival.

Brighton venues tend to be both intimate and flexible. The beach bars along the Kings Road Arches west of Brighton Pier morph into clubs after dark, and several pubs which are mellow by day become live music or DJ venues by night. Early-evening entrance is sometimes free, especially midweek; standard rates are generally under £5 and even the biggest bashes rarely cost more than £15. Just one word of warning: tempers can sometimes flare up on West Street at weekends.

Here’s my pick of the best places to go out:

For chart and indie bands

Big names work the crowds at the Brighton Centre and at the three performance spaces which come under the umbrella of the Brighton Dome: the Dome Concert Hall, Corn Exchange and Pavilion Theatre. The top venues for indie bands are Komedia in the North Laine and Concorde 2, a classic, grungey hangout in a once-splendid Victorian pavilion on the Kemptown seafront. Bloc Party, The White Stripes and Kaiser Chiefs have all played here. Smaller gigs pop up in pubs throughout the week and are advertised locally.

For cabaret, burlesque and jazz

Great spots for a quirky night out include the Brighton Ballroom in Kemptown, a glamorous venue with an imaginative programme of costume parties and cabaret nights, attracting a grown-up, dressed-up crowd. The cellar bar at the Latest Music Bar hosts jazz, cabaret and acoustic sessions and has bags of atmosphere.

For house, garage, techno, hiphop and pop

The best of the more mainstream DJ hotspots are dotted along the seafront near the foot of Brighton Pier. Audio is currently the front runner for crowd-pleasing tunes and student-friendly party nights. The coolest clubs in the arches down on the beach are Life, Digital and The Honey Club. Revenge is the biggest and brashest of the cluster of gay clubs and bars just northeast of the pier.

For soul, funk, Latin and Motown

The tunnel-like Funky Buddha Lounge spins mellow tunes on Saturday nights; the Funky Fish Club has a great no-frills feel; and Casablanca is a relaxed little hideout where you can sample soul, funk and Motown.

Brighton’s best clubs and music venues

More nightlife

Visit my overview on Brighton nightlife or read my other guides: Nightlife in Brighton: stage, street and screen culture and Nightlife in Brighton: perfect pints and creative cocktails.

Where to stay

For a full list of my recommendations on where to stay in Brighton, see Brighton hotels.

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More information on Nightlife in Brighton: the best clubs and gigs:

Author:
Emma Gregg
Traveller type:
Travel Professional
Guide rating:
0
Total views:
190
First uploaded:
7 January 2011
Last updated:
3 years 28 weeks 5 days 5 hours 29 min 25 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Cultural, Nightlife, Short Break
Budget level:
Free, Budget, Mid-range, Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
nightlife, festivals, clubbing, music, gay, concerts, gigs

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