Bars in Brighton
Looking for the best bars in Brighton? So you’re planning a night out in Brighton but there are so many places to choose from! With bars and drinking holes aplenty, how do you even begin to make a selection?
Easy! Let us do the legwork for you with our rundown of the best bars in Brighton. That way – you can stay focused on enjoying your favourite tipple and the quality company in these great venues – and then lastly your route home!
The Metropole Bar at the Hilton Metropole Hotel boasts a beautiful seafront terrace and a spacious comfortable bar with deep leather booths and grand wingbacks. The cocktail menu has been crafted by one of Brighton’s most celebrated local cocktail wizards, Matt Ottley, and is themed around the fictitious nautical adventures of the equally fictitious Neil Halverson Hilton. Each of the signature drinks has a story behind it and many feature an element of theatre; such as Message in a Bottle, an old fashioned served in a solid ice ball with a small hammer on the side, or Cannons at Cocktail Hour, a gin gimlet that is infused with gunpowder tea smoke.
For wine-lovers, this place has it all! Not only is it right in the centre of town in Jubilee Street but the selection is top drawer, as it doubles up as a wine shop as well as a very chic bar. Pick from the fantastic wine list or try a bottle from the shelf. Cheese, charcuterie, breads, nuts and small dishes are also available to help cleanse your palate between sips. In one of their latest videos, here is Arancha talking about summer red wines.
First opening its doors in 2018 on Gardner street, L’Atelier du Vin set itself up as a Speakeasy style bar boasting the largest selection of wines, and cocktails mixed to vintage recipes with prohibition strength spirits. News and popularity of the bar quickly spread and the full team relocated to a new secret location opposite St Peter’s church hidden behind an original 1920s Confectioners shop facade. Here are 7 things you need to know about L’Atelier Du Vin.
Modelling itself on up-state New York eateries, Hixon Green is a stylish all-day dining and drinking venue. Drinks wise the focus is on signature cocktails and a substantial wine list. Spread over two floors the relaxed atmosphere encourages taking time out to catch up and to very easily get caught up in a leisurely lifestyle. You may very easily find yourself popping in for a quick coffee and a catch-up and find yourself staying for cocktails and putting the world to rights.
In 2018 GungHo arrived on Preston Street and has since climbed straight to the top of our must-visit cocktail bars in Brighton. Opened and run by Julien Barnett, the bar’s ethos combines Julien’s passion for mixology with working to a zero waste policy. The outcome is a truly inspiring and mouthwateringly magnificent drinking journey. Influenced by seasonality the cocktails are often made with foraged and local ingredients championing all types of fruit and veg; from green strawberries and elderflower to chicory root and mushrooms. Expect vibrant, fresh and complex cocktails at GungHo.
Cocktail bar, games room and generally all round stunning venue, there really isn’t any reason why Upstairs at The Joker isn’t top of everyone’s date night list. The bar is only accessible by walking through the downstairs pub, pushing open a heavy oak door and ascending upstairs. It’s almost as though you are part of an exclusive members club! Described as traditional with a twist, the cocktail list has something for everyone. Expertly curated and mixed by the professionals, choose from six house cocktails or from a list of the classics. A local jazz artist also performs here, adding to the laid back and luxurious atmosphere that oozes from this bar.
Bohemia is a large, popular venue tucked away in the winding Lanes. The Veuve Clicquot roof terrace is a popular spot for socialites in the summer, while the main bar packs out to perennial partygoers all year round. The Late Lounge, open every Friday and Saturday, offers an exclusive experience for those looking to party like celebs. Bohemia hosts live music on Thursday nights with local talent turning out smooth jazz. The bar is well stocked in every department with impressively flamboyant cocktails being something of a show stealer.
This iconic, landmark hotel offers the finest of Brighton’s food, drinking and ambience, so it goes without saying that it’s a prime destination for a night of class and quality. Set right on the seafront, the views are stunning and the drinks and cocktail list afford you a perfect choice of your classic favourites alongside new, innovative creations. Some of the cocktails are even named after people and places in history, which makes a great talking point.
Quality and style both reign supreme at Plateau, where the relaxed, chic French vibe creates a perfect, intimate backdrop for the fantastic selection of natural, organic and biodynamic wines and modern European food where sustainability is key. There’s less focus on red meat, more on fish and plants with some game too, sourced from local biodynamic farms. Learn more about their approach with Natural Wines just here.
Kujira Brighton opened in August 2018 adding to the set of bright young things rejuvenating the Preston Street area of the city. As well as serving delicious Japanese food in the Robatayaki grill restaurant, Kujira also describes itself as an ‘izakaya bar’, a type of informal place to go after work for drinks and a little food. Kujira offers Japanese inspired cocktails invented by their mixologist and perfected through homemade botanicals, juices and syrups, adding to the area’s growing reputation as the cocktail capital of Brighton.
As Brighton bar locations go, they don’t get much better than that of Ohso Social on the seafront. Literally overlooking promenade and the English channel, Ohso is a very popular spot on a sunny day and it isn’t hard to understand why. Enjoy a cold beer, an Aperol Spritz or a speciality cocktail while enjoying a stacked burger and fries during the day and by night, experience Ohso as a buzzing late night bar.
Sitting within the Jetty Restaurant in this stylish seafront hotel, Harby’s is a great destination bar run by a team of skilled mixologists that boasts ample space if you want somewhere stylish but with more room to move and chat than the bustle found in many Brighton bars. There’s a lovely wine list, microbrewery beers and well-crafted cocktails – and all come with a fantastic sea view.
Away from busy central Brighton, this waterfront hotel wonder has had a fab makeover and reinvention, with funky bedrooms, superb food and a great drinks list. The view of the Marina is spectacular and the bar is relaxed and spacious, with a decking area for enjoying a sundowner in the warmer weather. The cocktail list, called the Malchemy, pays heed to the classics while drawing inspiration from 15 cities around the country, which brings a nice twist to those traditional tastes.
The name is a giveaway – they take their wine very seriously at this well-established Brighton venue! But that doesn’t mean they don’t serve other drinks too. Hotel du Vin has a quality drinks list catering to all tastes, so it’s well worth a good run-through. There’s an adjacent pub and a bar too, both with wines sourced from around the world, an in-house sommelier on hand to help you make the right choice, spirits of all varieties and sensational cocktails too – of course!
Award-winning Drakes is renowned for its exceptional restaurant and top-notch comfort and service, but not everyone knows it also has a very fine bar open to drop-ins, not just those already dining or staying in the hotel. The black granite bar is a gorgeous backdrop to their exquisite champagne, spirits and cocktails and bartender Tom is a dab-hand at making whatever you want – he was one of the finalists in an international competition so knows what he’s doing!
Brighton people love a good party, and the Black Lion has long been a popular choice for those who want to get on down and stay out late in the busy south lanes. Although it looks like more of a very old, traditional boozer from the outside – don’t be deceived, DJs and late-opening hours keep the crowds lively.
Nestled in the stylish MyHotel, Merkaba has wow factor, with a stunning decor best described as futuristic, sleekly chick and hippy boho all at the same time, with huge crystals, aquariums in the walls and curvy tables in a modern urban industrial design. The drinks are equally well-executed, so dress to impress and enjoy every second. Winner of Brighton’s best bar in the Brighton Restaurant Awards.
Tucked away from the main drag at the top of St James Street, The Black Dove can’t be missed off any list of bars in Brighton, thanks to its character, quirk and quality of drinks, atmosphere and loyal clientele. It’s quite small and compact in size, which means the always-busy tables outside are a handy addition, but don’t let the size put you off: there’s always something going on, whether that’s a DJ playing, a blues or folk band, or comedy downstairs in the snug.