Brighton attracts the alternative
Brighton definitely takes centre stage when it comes to all things cool. ‘Anything goes’ sums up the eccentricity of this seaside hub, oozing with life.
Once upon a time, the stag do set were the Saturday night staple here, meal deals and cheap mixers kept droves of last-chance-saloon-seekers satisfied. But that was so 2012…
Over the last few years Brighton has nurtured some of the most innovative independent restaurants and bars in the UK. Diners have embraced the city’s rapidly developing food and drink scene, drawing tourists and locals out to see and be seen.
Keeping Preston Park on the radar for seekers of all things cool is Upstairs at The Joker. Roomy and light with plush velvet seating and a hand carved rosewood bar; it is a little bit of refined elegance in an otherwise crazy part of town. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 6 pm-1 am serving up the winning combination of cocktails and jazz. Adjoining the cocktail bar and open daily is the Games Room with darts and a pool table for some peace and quiet with your recreation.
The cool: Poise is the best pose.
Gungho Bar is decked out in exposed brick with a reclaimed wood bar and neon signs; they bring seasonality and sustainability to the cocktail scene. Foraging and harvesting many of the ingredients and brewing their own botanicals each cocktail from the seasonal board is only around for as long as the harvest lasts, so you might miss out on the cocktail of a lifetime if your finger isn’t on the pulse.
The cool: the ‘you had to be there’ factor.
Another of the new kids in up and coming Preston Street is Kujira. Sharp looks and excellent taste mix in this Japanese robatayaki grill and izakaya bar, serving up marinaded meats and exclusive cocktails. Downstairs there’s an additional bar and karaoke come games room.
The cool: check out the loos, seriously.
Nothing is cooler than knowing the secret little gems in a city, tucked away on St George’s Place is a totally missable sign for a confectioners called A. Billett & Co but once inside you’ll find yourself immersed in the speakeasy style bar L’Atelier du Vin. Here you’ll find an eclectic lounge of mismatched furniture, knowledgeable friendly staff and easily the most extensive wine list in Brighton, if you’re worried about losing credibility for not knowing your wines don’t worry, there’s always a sommelier on hand.
The cool: ‘Oh, I know this great little place’
Good wine isn’t snobby and inaccessible it’s fun and social; that’s the philosophy of Amathus Drinks who seek out wine from small producers to offer a drop of something that you won’t find in the supermarkets. The experts here can match you with wine that is perfect for your pallet, and as an off-license you can walk away with an affordable bottle too.
The cool: private wine tasting.
The family team of three that run Chard began as a residential pop-up at Cafe Rust near Preston Park and quickly became a sensation all over the city. Now permanently relocated at i gigi general store on Western Road, Chard serves breakfast, lunch and dinner five days a week. Everything from their simple Sussex menu paired down wine list, aesthetic and friendly service works in a harmony that will captivate and enchant guests to the degree that is unrivalled.
The cool: fine dining with a rustic-chic edge.
The cool: Impress and be impressed by this diamond in Brighton’s dining crown.
Small Batch is nearly as iconic as the Royal Pavillion from which they have fashioned their brand. Dotted about Brighton, Hove and now Worthing Small Batch Coffee gets it right by being that balance of serious about coffee and relaxed about almost everything else. With success comes responsibility so from forming relationships with growers to what they do with used coffee grounds and recycling paper cups Small Batch make being kind cool. Pictured – Small Batch Coffee in Portslade-by-sea.
The cool: hipster fuel.
Serving a simple French bistro-inspired menu with seasonal and local produce matched with organic, low intervention wines and a playlist that keeps the atmosphere light and tow tapping. Plateau is the destination for anyone who likes their evenings laid back but quality.
The cool: laissez fair everything.
The mighty Salt Room has etched quite the reputation since opening it’s doors. Producing plates of food that excite even the most jaded diner. To top that, things just got a whole lot more interesting over at this seaside haunt with the introduction of their seafood Afternoon Tea ‘The Taste of the Pier.’ Executed with the attention to detail and flare that The Salt Room has become famous for, this is not to be missed.
The cool: Kitsch-cool with candy floss making an appearance on the afternoon tea menu
Planet India’s second venue in Hove offers a much larger space and fun atmosphere for lovers of authentic Gujarati cuisine and those frustrated at never being able to get a table at the Brighton restaurant. Owner Nilesh can often be found wandering around barefoot in the restaurant greeting diners like old friends (if you’re not one yet, you will be), telling stories and cracking jokes.
The cool: irreverent and self-mocking, the menu is a hoot!
Sink into the dark leather banquet seats with a glass of Argentina’s finest. Cafe Malbec’s extensive selection of wines are perfectly teamed with the house speciality: Empanadas. This Argentine casa is the only place you will find such a dish in Brighton. For authentic South American vibes, you can’t beat an evening at Malbec’s mercy. Have a look at their latest video feature on Argentinian wines.
The cool: Argentinian Malbec – and plenty of it! Come on, that’s what red wine dreams are made of.
Brighton Cookery School is an innovative and creative cookery school located in the very heart of Brighton. Their philosophy is for you to Learn.Cook.Eat in a professional and relaxed environment, whilst you have fun with friends, loved ones or colleagues. Brighton Cookery School offers open cookery classes offering guests a chance to learn the fundamental skills when it comes to cooking your favourite cuisines, as well as fun and interactive options for hen parties, birthdays or team building activities. Find out more here.
If shellfish and craft beers float your boat, then this will be your new favourite hang out. The Urchin offers over a staggering 100 craft beers, many of which are from the local area. Feast on lobster, prawns and crab in the cosy steely grey interior and ponder over which pint to wash it all down with. Brave it may be to focus a venue so specifically, but we all love a rebel, so much so The Urchin won BRAVO 2018 ‘Best pub grub’ award
The cool: The niche factor.
With an almost fanatical following, MOSHIMO is a Japanese restaurant seen by many in the city as a Brighton institution. It’s the city’s original conveyor-belt sushi bar serving handmade and sustainable sushi with a hot food menu that keeps its predominantly local clientele both regular and staunchly loyal.
The cool: In good weather make the most of their outside seating – it’s the closest thing to Tokyo you’ll get in Brighton!
This NY cum LA style diner is acclaimed nationally as one of the coolest places to hang out. Wall to ceiling images of iconic NY fire escapes and graffitied streets works perfectly with the panoramic views over Brighton’s decaying West Pier, giving a grungy indie feel. The food is again American diner themed but with serious good quality and locally sourced produce, craft ales and unique cocktails; this is a club you’ll want to be in on.
The cool: NY edge meets Brighton chill is a cocktail set to be a classic.