Soundtracks and Sandwiches

My grandparents won’t set foot inside a restaurant or café if it plays music, saying they can’t hear themselves speak  – or think – above it. But I’m young, I work listening to music and sing and play guitar at various venues around the city.  For me, music is part of the atmosphere of a café or restaurant and I like a good soundtrack along with soup and sandwiches! 

Venues to go and actually hear music performed live:

The Marwood cafe, on Ship Street with its flea market style décor (front door tables and mannequin hand handles) plays great music by day and by night hosts gigs for up and coming local musicians. I’ve sung there, perched on a stool from which I’m normally sipping soup and there’s drinks, cakes and sausage rolls for the audience.  

Likewise, the informal Alcampo Lounge, on London Road dishes up  all day breakfasts, lunches, tapas, salads and sandwiches and dinner which regularly come with  a side serving of live music  or a chance to take part in open mic sessions.

Al Campo lounge, London Road, Brighton, bar, food pub

The Verdict café and jazz club on Edward Street, Brighton’s only purpose built jazz venue showcases some of the best jazz musicians from around the world every Friday and some Saturdays. Tickets are £15 (or £12.50 for students woo!), which covers the music and food! Proud Country House (formally Stanmer House) also regularly offers a 3 Course meal and live music from their resident jazz band Alligator Swing.

Stanmer Park, Stanmer House, Brighton, manor house, restaurant, cafe

If Jazz is not your thing check out OhSo social beach bar and restaurant. By day it’s a family friendly restaurant, serving a selection of tasty breakfasts, Burgers, sarnies, salads and, of course, fish and chips. By night local and big name Djs are on the menu and the dining area turns into a dance space.

Venues where you are likely to be introduced to something new:

My mum’s not known for her discerning musical taste so I was surprised when she started raving about the fact Beiruit were playing at Latitude festival. Since when has she been into American indie bands? Since she heard them while indulging in a cinnamon bun in the Nordic Coffee Collective [now closed]! Apparently it’s not only the salmon toasts, chocolate rum balls and apple cake that are worth going for, but the play too.

The waiters put them together in Kensingtons Balcony café, North Laine (and I often spot them at gigs in town too). I now always associate my favorite band Bombay bicycle club with bacon, brie and cranberry toasties and the lyrical singer Lucy Rose with salted caramel brownies from Silo  on upper Gardner Street, where I first heard her.

And expect an electic mix at Kooks bar and restaurant which is owned by  Dj/producer Tim Healey who personally curates playlists  – carefully selected tunes for toast, beats for burgers, songs for salads and dance tracks for drinks, leave you with your head as full and your stomach.

Venues where you can go and read or work with music:

I am apparently an auditory learner:  I work best listening to music during exam period spent a lot of time revising in cafes. Presuming Eds on the London road is one of my favorites. The décor is quirky: a bench made from stacked, second hand books and a table made from an old arcade game and the music they play is a mixture of old and new acoustic songs, from artists like Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake.


For my GCSE’s, their selection of cakes provided a good reward for each mind map I produced, with halloumi and rocket or chorizo and cheddar toasties to congratulate myself when forced to face my math book. Small Batch Coffee (next to the jubilee library) and cup of Joes (located in the vintage antique market Kemptown Trading Post) are also popular with students and roving workers who can often be spotted humming along to the music while they tap at their laptops.

Venues where the music adds to the setting:

Not all music is background music, often it’s an integral part of the setting.

JB’s diner is a great example; an American diner with upbeat tunes from Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, alongside burgers, shakes, hot dogs and high stacked pancakes.

JBs american diner, brighton, american food, brighton seafront, review

In 88 London Road, formerly known as The Empourium, it’s easy to imagine Coco Channel on one of the chaise longs, sipping a drink along to the 1920s Jazz music that is often played in the café. The music, along with the choice of seating, creates a sophisticated scene in which you can enjoy a slice quiche, a selection of salads or (a slightly less sophisticated) fish finger sarnie. In the evenings 88 London Road also open up their bar, serving a selection of craft beers, wines and even some cocktails.

hare and hounds, la choza, brighton, london road, review

A few doors away, La Choza’s Mexican Marachi music  is on the menu with prawn quesadillias, spicy chorizo taquitos and pulled pork burritos and it’s easy to imagine you’re a million miles fron the London Road.

I would not recommend any of the above to my grandparents but for anyone who likes a side serving of soundtracks, I recommend them all.

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