Nightlife in Brighton: perfect pints and creative cocktails

By Emma Gregg, a Travel Professional

Read more on Brighton.

Overall rating:3.0 out of 5 (based on 1 vote)
Recommended for:
Food and Drink, Nightlife, Short Break, Free, Budget, Mid-range, Expensive

Chirpy seafront bars, homely real ale pubs, swish cocktail joints staffed by supercool mixologists – whatever floats your boat, you’ll probably find it in this most convivial of cities.

You’re never more than a street or two from a pub or a bar in Brighton. There are fantastic neighbourhood locals all over the city, and an impressive concentration in the city centre. Some pubs and bars double as galleries and restaurants, others tempt families with gardens, plates of hearty nosh and jars of sweets behind the bar. Standing firm among the more modish hangouts are a healthy number of splendid Victorian hostelries. There are even some creaky old boozers which date back to the 1700s, when the town was a busy stagecoach stop.

As soon as the first rays of summer hit the beach, you’ll have to be quick to grab any of the outdoor tables at the bars on the Lower Esplanade. But if you’re after something a little more flavoursome than a pint of lager in a plastic beaker, you’re better off looking elsewhere anyway. Try the Lanes and the North Laine: they’re stuffed with great little watering holes.

The locals’ favourite for a quiet pint of Harvey’s bitter in central Brighton is The Basketmakers Arms, a cosy, traditional spot where the beer is expertly kept and the walls are decorated with old tobacco tins and other oddments. I know people who have been dropping in here just about every weekend for the last 20 years.

Another fine choice for fans of British bitter is The Evening Star, which always has several real ales on tap, made in its own off-site brewery. If you like a chaser with your pint, you’ll love The Great Eastern. It’s famous for offering a huge range of whiskies, including around 40 different bourbons.

One of the coolest places for a cocktail is currently Merkaba, a swish designer hangout with a beautifully lit, curvy interior. You’re guaranteed a glass full of something special in the front room at Drakes of Brighton, the city’s smoothest boutique hotel. For a taste of the South Pacific, sashay down to Lola Lo, which whips up Polynesian-inspired rum concoctions.

Brighton’s best pubs and cocktail bars

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: the best clubs and gigs.

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: perfect pints and creative cocktails:

Emma Gregg
Traveller type:
Travel Professional
Guide rating:
Average: 3 (1 vote)
Total views:
First uploaded:
7 January 2011
Last updated:
4 years 6 weeks 3 days 6 hours 26 min 4 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Food and Drink, Nightlife, Short Break
Budget level:
Free, Budget, Mid-range, Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
pubs, bars, cocktails, nightlife, real ale

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Community comments (2)

0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Perhaps I shouldn't comment on a guide to a place I barely know, but I have always wanted a (clean) weekend in Brighton.

For me the guide whets my appetite for real ale, which is fine, as that is what I like.

But the intro promises us pubs with galleries, gardens and restaurants, jars of sweets etc...but we don't really find out where they are. Perhaps there is another guide to come that will tell us about these.

Good as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough - more, please!

Was this comment useful?

Spot on - this is just a taster to get things started. Hopefully I'll have the chance to post a few more features on pubs and bars in Brighton before too long.