The call of the sea – Brighton’s seafront bars
Graham Greene’s novel “Brighton Rock” describes the hordes of day trippers swarming from station to seafront in a way that does not seem to have changed in 80 years. Before that The Prince of Wales, to become King George IV, built his pleasure palace here. The pull of the seafront has many causes, not least of all the joy of sitting with the sun on your face, a cooling sea breeze behind you and a thirst quenching drink in hand.
Take a trip with us as we swing east of the Palace Pier, then follow the seafront west toward Hove Lawns before our return along Kings Road; a promenade with a pint, if you will.
The exclusive views are for those in the know, since the terrace bar at Malmaison is open to the public. The view from its sun trap balcony over the Brighton Marina harbour combined with a fantastic selection of cocktails and sparkling wines gives an undeniable sense of elite living, without having to resort to elite member’s club fees.
For sea front bars Horatio’s Bar at the far end of the Palace Pier certainly wins most southerly. Newly refurbished in early 2018, the modernised bar features an outside seating area and large windows for impressive views of the Brighton coastline. The pitch is family oriented with live entertainment and big screen sports.
Situated next to the iconic ‘doughnut’ jetty, Ohso is about as on the beach as you can get without sitting on pebbles. Open for breakfast from 9am serving food through until dinner. The transition from family friendly beach bar to sunset disco and late night party is no doubt aided by the extensive cocktail and drinks menu.
The Tempest has prime promenade placement, with a bar handily seated on the seafront. Inside it becomes a sprawling cavernous maze. A fun, young and lively venue offering bottomless brunch at the weekend, quirky events and summer beach parties to max out on their 4am weekend closing.
If you ask a local to name a seafront bar, The Fortune of War will probably be it 8/10 times, opening in 1882 it is the oldest of its kind in Brighton and enjoys a healthy swell of customers all summer long. Be prepared to make new acquaintances as sharing tables is often necessary, unless you want to retreat to the cooler bar inside shaped curiously like an upside down boat.
Like other venues on the King’s Way Arches strip, Brighton Music Hall has a large terrace coming out into the beach. Unlike other venues they offer table service and table bookings of up to 12 people so you can secure and hold your place in the sun. Making this venue extra special, however, is the live music sets from local talent that perform open air sets, giving a little festival vibe to your pint.
If you want to talk views, talk i360. The West Beach Bar at the foot of the world’s tallest moving observation tower is central to the newly regenerated area that is attracting some top quality venues and sets its standards equally high. Excellent quality dining and Club Class drinks set this as a terrace venue for high flyers.
With wonderful views over both east and west piers, The New Club has a small outside seating area on King’s Road, allowing observation of the sea if not actually being on it. House infused botanical cocktails, craft beers and an edgy urban feel make The New Club the place to kick back with the cool kids.
The Metropole Bar has a signature cocktail list inspired by the imaginary adventures of Admiral Neil Halverson Hilton a distant relative of Conrad Hilton. All of these drinks are perfect for sipping on their sea-facing terrace; try a Message in a bottle, a short cocktail served in an ice sphere with a small hammer to break your way in, or a Cannons at Cocktail Hour, a deliciously smoke infused.
Certainly more commonly famed for its exceptional food, the drinks that can be enjoyed on the stylish black and white bar terrace are no less inventive and skilfully crafted. A hint of earthy botanicals and sea spice throughout the cocktail menu has the affect of bringing the seafront up to you.
Continuing the opulent splendour of Victoriana the Victoria Bar at The Grand boasts an expansive conservatory terrace, newly furnished in plush velvet furnishings and brocade wallpaper. Open for afternoon tea and light meals with signature cocktails, it is ideal for those cooler sunny days, or for those who do not wish to share their cucumber sandwich with seagulls.
The Old Ship Hotel’s sea-front bar continues the cruise liner theme of the restaurant, The Wardroom. The bar offers a good selection of wines and beers and cocktails that play to the summer audience with a focus on the long, refreshing and playfully fruity. Live music is a regular feature on the terrace during the summer months.
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