Restaurant Brighton's guide to

Gastro Pubs

Our top picks

Brighton

Few pubs experience such a transformation over the course of a day than The Black Lion. During the day the pub offers a refuge from the hustle and bustle of Brighton’s Lanes and a tempting array of gastro pub style dishes. With sharing platters, small plates and a variety of mains they have got most things covered. Pop back in the evening and you will find one of the liveliest pubs in Brighton and the party in full swing.

The Bronze, have brought the full-bodied flavours of the smokehouse and American cuisine. The team behind Slow + Low are Emily and David Pearse, who previously ran the kitchen at the Cloakroom and brought to much acclaim The Shepherd and Dog pub in Fulking. Here they continue to blend local, sustainable and seasonal produce with big international flavour and the outcome is delicious, “Don’t believe us go ask the dishes”.

The Chimney House serves outstanding food and a great selection of quality drinks in an unpretentious, rustic and all round good pub. Known for their local sourcing, including the use of foraged herbs and vegetables, the food has a distinctively Sussex feel. The pub has a lovely relaxed community feel to it making for a great atmosphere. Situated just off Dyke Road it is a great spot for an afternoon off the beaten track.

Recently renovated, The Cleveland Arms is a stylish pub overlooking Blakers Park near Five Ways. This traditional community pub serves Sussex ales, good quality wines and spirits and expertly cooked gasto pub style dishes served at lunch and dinner. On a Sunday, the award winning roast is not to be missed and with children and dogs welcome, what is not to love? In the warmer months, sit outside in their suntrap overlooking the park with friends or family. Find out more here.

The Cricketers is a pub stooped in history and vibrant, traditional saloon-style pub in a popular central location. The menu comes from the kitchen of Phil Bartley and focuses on honest pub food classics made better with only the best quality ingredients and locally sourced meat, fish and vegetables. Choose from classic sandwiches served in crusty baguettes to locally landed fish and chips or hearty pies. Burgers make up a large portion of the menu with chicken burgers, dirty burgers, squeaky halloumi burgers and ‘can’t believe it’s not meat’ B12 vegan burgers, all served with triple cooked chips. The Greene Room, named after local author Graham Greene, is also available for private hire with buffet catering

The Dorset brings you everything you long for in a country pub, right in the centre of town – A rustic interior, a classic pub grub menu, alfresco dining and a welcoming, friendly front of house team. Right on the corner of North Road, the location is perfect for a pre or post-shopping bite to eat to a late afternoon, after work pint. Examples on their most recent menu include pie of the day served with mash, fillet of cod with artichokes and sausage and mash, not forgetting their famous Moules mariniere which has been a firm favourite among locals since the beginning.

The Dyke Alehouse and Kitchen offer diners a traditional pub dining experience. The menu offers a diverse range of gastro classics and some more specialist dishes too. The food is of an exceptionally high standard and they provide diners with a healthy range of both meat and vegetarian options. Ingredients are sourced from local suppliers and made fresh to order. 

The Hartington is a traditional (for Hanover) neighbourhood pub with quizzes weekday meal deals, pub games and live music. New management came in in the Summer of 2018 set to return the pub to its former glory as one of the best food pubs in the area. The menu is simple pub classics but delivered with excellence and Sunday roasts are served until late with live jazz sessions making for some relaxed social dining at the end of the weekend.

As the name suggests this independently run pub is free of any brewery ties, this makes for some interesting beer choices. Food is at the centre of everything this pub does, and luckily the offering is top draw. Gastro pub style dishes of restaurant quality are the order of the day at The Independent. A fantastic local pub that is often busy and lively, it is well worth the trip up Southover Street to sample the delights at the top.

As if the drinks and the music weren’t enough, the menu at The Mesmerist is also top-notch. The menu is split into sections, including bar snacks, small plates, mains (including their brilliant burgers!) and side dishes. The kitchen uses exclusively seasonal ingredients to create traditional dishes with a twist, that are ten times better than your average pub grub. 

There was a time when the idea of a pub serving a completely vegetarian menu would be unheard of, although perhaps not in Brighton. The Prince George has become well known for its extensive award winning vegetarian menu; but it is much more than just that. A fantastic lively pub with an impressive range of drinks on offer, The Prince George is the ideal place to rest your feet for an hour or two and soak up the atmosphere.

The Roundhill Pub is a light and friendly space, with a pleasant conservatory feel to it. The menu changes weekly, according to what’s available locally and in season and offers a mix of pub classics and modern dishes. The menu is vegan by default, although some dishes can be made vegetarian, The Roundhill Pub fills the gap in Brighton for a plant-based pub-venue serving a more elevated gastro pub menu.

Often referred to as a hidden gem, we feel that it’s high time that this gem gets its worthy recognition. The menu here is simple, thoughtful and well presented. Diners can enjoy a range of tasty bar snacks and small plates. Or for heartier portions for healthy appetites, they offer a great selection of gastropub classics. The pub puts emphasis on community value, they honour that by sourcing local ingredients and providing their local community with a charming and welcoming establishment

Located a short distance behind Brighton Station is The West Hill Tavern or “Westie” to its friends, a social and welcoming community hub-pub. Pizzas here are a cut above what you’ll find in most pubs and will rival those in quality pizzerias. The Great British Charcuterie is the force behind these artisanal creations, with hand-stretched sourdough pizzas topped with Glastonbury mozzarella and the finest British charcuterie and local produce. On Sunday’s it’s all about the Roast, with Phil Bartley Kitchens providing a trusted mark of quality.

Hove

The Better Half is a traditional pub with a modern twist. One of the oldest pubs in the city, it has recently been revamped in a way that respects its history whilst bringing it bang up to date. The food is a celebration of simplicity, focussing on classic dishes and hearty wholesome food. This is a proper local pub, with a warm friendly welcome and superb home-cooked dishes.

The Ginger Pig is a key part of Hove’s food scene and a proper food destination in every sense of the word. Awarded ‘Best Food Pub’ in the Brighton and Hove Food Awards 3 years running, they serve traditional classics with a modern touch. The menu of locally sourced and seasonal dishes never fails to disappoint, and their wine list is superb. They are currently adding accommodation so you can even stay the night.

This little hidden gem of a pub is easily missed. Situated on First Avenue, this bistro pub features a stylish interior and a wonderful garden for those summer days. When it comes to the food you can choose from the traditional pub menu or if you fancy trying a few dishes, their Small Plates menu is perfect for sharing. Sleek, stylish and very Hove this is a venue for those looking for something a little more polished.

If you’re looking for a relaxed, friendly and vibrant place to quaff some wine with friends whilst enjoying a light lunch or an evening meal then Libation could be for you. Libation offers a menu of fresh, seasonal produce that has been used to create a choice of sharing Tapas style plates or larger mains. With heated outdoor seating you can enjoy your food alfresco at any time of the day.

Uniquely positioning itself as a venue which specialises in shellfish, The Urchin celebrates the fruits of the sea from our Brighton shores. With regular supplies from Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales, The Urchin has some of the freshest seafood available in the city. With a superb range of craft beers on offer, including those from their own onsite microbrewery, The Urchin is a local pub with a nationally acclaimed reputation for its food.

Sussex

The Crabtree is located in the beautiful Sussex countryside south of Horsham. They pride themselves in serving great local, seasonal food, organic wines and fabulous real ales in warm and welcoming surroundings. The frequently changing menu uses only the freshest available products including foraged ingredients, so no two visits are ever alike. Sunday lunches are very popular in this beautiful country pub and are well worth a trip out of town for – just make sure you book ahead!

This beautiful pub dates back to the 16th Century, and so as you would expect comes with all the hallmarks of it age. With a mix of ancient flagstones, oak floorboards and inglenook fireplaces you can happily spend an afternoon snug inside this pub.  The proper hearty pub food, “cask marque” ales and interesting wine list has got the food and drink covered. With a pleasant garden, gluten free and kids menu available this pleasant country pub should keep everyone happy.

Nestled not far from the Devils Dyke, the Ginger Fox is the country cousin of Brighton’s other Ginger group restaurants. A lovely pub and restaurant to get away from it all, it cuts an impressive sight with its thatched roof and beer garden with child friendly play area and treasure trail. Bordering on fine dining, but in a relaxed setting, the modern European menu utilises the best quality ingredients available. With local ales and wines you will be spoilt for choice.

The New Inn in Hurstpierpoint is a beautiful Grade II listed pub that has been lovingly and thoughtfully modernised. A seasonal and local menu is available for lunch and dinner six days a week with Sunday’s given over to the classic roast. The New Inn has a commitment to local; sourcing much of their meat, fish and produce from within Sussex, as well as having their own kitchen garden. The Josper oven is a stand out feature for the menu, where Trenchmore wagyu is cooked with the respect it deserves. Regular “Taste of” nights pair global cuisine with wine and the wood-fired pizza oven in the garden makes for care-free summer pizza nights.

Situated in the historic coastal village of Rottingdean, The Plough is a traditional village pub that acts as the beating heart of the local community. Offering a classic pub menu alongside an innovative gastro pub Menu, this venue caters for everybody from kids to couples and walkers to your everyday regular. Close enough to Brighton as a spot to reward yourself on a Sunday stroll, The Plough is a fabulous pub to while away a Sunday afternoon with a roast and local ale.