Cool places to eat & drink in Brighton
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.
Brighton attracts the alternative
The thing about Brighton is that it has always attracted the alternative- the exception to the rule if you will. The rise of the Hipster is by no means reserved just for Stockwell. Beards are growing just as fast as the open kitchen trends; The Lanes and North Laine are providing a perfect backdrop to the rise of ‘The Cool.’
Nothing is cooler than knowing the secret little gems in a city, tucked away on Kensington Gardens is a totally missable door that will lead you to the speakeasy style bar L’Atelier du Vin. Here you’ll find an eclectic lounge of mismatched furniture, knowledgable 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 a always a sommelier on hand. Up the cool factor by having your favourite bottle of vintage spirit locked behind the bar for your personal consumption, or dazzle your companions with a trip to the even more secret roof terrace, with its views over the iconic North Laine.
The cool: ‘Oh, I know this great little place’
Tucked away in an unassuming side street in Hove sits this Seafood gem. Esteemed chef, Duncan Ray of Fat Duck fame prides his 20 cover restaurant on food so fresh the menu is solely dependant on what the fishmonger catches that day. If you are lucky enough to nab a table here you’ll no doubt be salivating over 5 courses of seafood perfection with Brighton’s only venue to boast 3 AA Rosettes.
The cool: Impress and be impressed by this diamond in Brighton’s dining crown.
Those in the know are turning their attention to the much maligned Preston Street where a new wave of young creative bars and cool restaurants in Brighton are springing up. Gungho Bar is one such place, decked out in exposed brick a reclaimed wooden 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 creation is only around for as long as the harvest lasts, so you might just miss out on the cocktail of a life time if you’re finger isn’t on the pulse.
The cool: the ‘you had to be there’ factor.
Perch on a bar stool and watch the chefs cook up a storm at Market. This inventive tapas and small plate British/Spanish diner has many surprises in store not excluding a clear passion for real sherry – nothing like the stuff your Gran used to like! The staff are well versed in matching your chosen tipple to each dish so sit back, relax and try something new at this popular Hove joint.
The cool: It’s got to be the fun/food/drink/theatre mix that Market has got spot on.
Dining out doesn’t get much better than this. Long hailed as the pinnacle of cool restaurants in Brighton, 64 Degrees contrasts the simplicity of it’s interior with the truly superb intricate execution of each dish. Tipped to be the first Brighton restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star, this place is an absolute must. Recent winner of best restaurant at the BRAVO awards.
The cool: Watch your dish come to life during a serious bit of food theatre if you dine at the pass.
As the sunshine beckons, so does the decked terrace at the Marina’s all new Malmaison Hotel. Sip on an endless list of cocktails whilst you watch the world sail by. Floor to ceiling windows line the restaurant letting the marina views shine. Puerto Banus is so overrated – this brand spanking new hotel is all the hip you need and more.
The cool: Get that holiday vibe without the flight delays. Winning.
Preston Circus has for a long time been a part of Brighton renegaded to just being a way to get to better parts of Brighton, but that’s been slowly changing. The hub at the hub is The Joker, serving a great selection of drinks, with late night DJ’s at the weekends, its a strong favourite with the media and creative lot that populate the area. Food comes in the form of NY style wings from The Lost Boys Chicken, this is food to share and get your hands and face in on the action with lip smackingly good sauces.
The cool: For friends who aren’t afraid for the night to get messy.
Combining two of life’s great indulgences, cheese and wine. Ten Green Bottles is the brain child of Simon and Sam. For years they have imported rare and delicious wines, supplying Michelin star restaurants. Brighton is now home to this intimate, one of a kind wine bar. Bring friends, bring a date, actually this place is so friendly and welcoming you could bring just about anyone. As long as they like wine. And preferably cheese and charcuterie…
The Cool: Take the wine challenge or sign up for wine tastings from just 2 people!
If cocktails are your thing, then award winning Merkaba needs to be on your radar. Look on whilst skilled mixologists flare the unthinkable. An ever evolving offering of cocktails grace the menu, with the impressive flame throwing showstopper remaining a firm favourite. Merkaba at My Brighton Hotel brings a little piece of Manhattan cool to Central Brighton.
The cool: Be sure to capture the moment with their retro photobooth – selfies are redundant here!
You would be forgiven for momentarily thinking you had been transported to the back streets of Venice upon entering the renowned Polpo on New Road. Here is a winning formula of rustic shabby chic where the Italian inspired tapas tastes as authentic as the restaurant looks.
The cool: Polpo pays just as much attention to it’s cracking liquor list as it does to the food – make sure you do the same!
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. 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
Behold, Brighton’s oldest pub. Stuffy it is not; twerk until the early hours to a whole host of bands and DJ’s. Their mission is simple: make ’em wiggle. Sip on a cocktail in the sun-trap garden and tuck into the delicious, generous sharing platters with your favourites.
The cool: Hurrah! Here is a place where a leisurely lunch in the sun can end with you dancing through to 3am!
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.
The cool: Argentinian Malbec – and plenty of it! Come on, that’s what red wine dreams are made of.
Retro. One of a kind. All day breakfast goodness. This place ticks all of the boxes when it comes to earning the prominent ‘Lanes’ stripes. Individuality is paramount here. Each Breakfast Club restaurant is individually themed and Brighton got the 80’s makeover – with fabulous results! Indulge in pancakes or eggs ‘Benny’ all day if you wish, and why not slosh it down with a expertly shaken cocktail while you’re at it.
The cool: Students get 15% off food and drink ALL DAY! Dust off that NUS card pronto…
With an enviable position along Brighton’s famous seafront, HarBAR is an altogether sophisticated choice for cocktail indulgence. This award-winning new bar not only hosts an array of indulgent cocktails, but invites their guests to design their own. The skilled mixologists guide you and your tastebuds in ‘The Dealer’s Choice’. What a concept! The elegant, plush surroundings are echoed in the bar menu: seaweed salted fries make the perfect aperitif accompaniment.
The cool: Inventing brand new cocktails for your tastebuds only…
The undersell is a sure way to earn cool points. Take Social Board Brighton on St James’ Street for example, sure it looks like a sandwich shop, smells like a sandwich shop because truth is it is a sandwich shop, but what sandwiches! There’s five signature meals to try and each one is pure artistry. Ingredients are marinated for days in advance, cooked perfectly and matched with an inspired combination of pickles, salads and sauces. The secret here is that the team come from a background of working in some top Brighton and international restaurants and that expertise is poured into every freshly made sandwich.
The cool: invite someone out for a sandwich, play it low, and watch their world change.
With a music-loving owner, it should be of no surprise that good tunes are at the heart of this buzzing boho bistro. A position on Gardner street screams of cool, add to the mix great local food and a diverse range of expertly selected drinks, topped off with local artists lining the walls and you have yourself one hell of a cool vibe.
The cool: Sit outside and soak up Brighton-at-it’s-best wandering by, or get greedy and hire the entire place for your own shindig.
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 place 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.
“Marwood is open late for great cocktails, hot beverages and sh*t banter” – Alternative-cool is defined herein. Bucking tradition, Marwood features controversial reviews on it’s website, which makes for hilarious reading. Here is an award winning venue which plays host to a whole range of events from musicians to pop up restaurants. This place isn’t just cool, it’s positively FREEZING. Winner of BRAVO’s ‘Most Brighton venue‘ 2017-18
The cool: The interior is ‘museum meets eccentric Great Aunt’. It’s a must see…