The sleek & sexy Merkaba bar
If there is one thing Brighton is not short on it’s places to have an adult beverage. In fact I’m sure you could frequent a new boozer every day for at least a year without doubling back on yourself.
With all this choice, and perhaps being new to the shiny city of Brighton, how are you meant to narrow it down?! Fear not weary traveller, the team at RB and I are here to help!
If you are looking for a sleek, sophisticated, sexy, central, sanctuary in the beating heart of this brilliant town, then I can recommend Merkaba at MyBrighton.
Any time for a cocktail
Whether you’re a couple looking for an intimate drink before your theatre show, or a mid week cocktail with your girls, or looking for the perfect place to get suited and booted for a swanky Saturday night, Merkaba is absolutely ideal and I speak from experience.
I have recently come back from maternity leave and like most new Mums was absolutely dying for an excuse to dress up and have a strong drink! So when Merkaba asked if I would like to come cocktail tasting I jumped at the chance. It had literally been years since I had been able to don heels and enter this glorious cocktail sanctum, and it was the perfect welcome back treat.
Getting glammed up
When you first walk into the lobby it feels like entering another world, far far away from the earthy crunchy-ness of central Brighton. Now don’t get me wrong I am a California hippie at heart. I love to drink a canned cider barefoot on the beach while spinning my poi, but sometimes a girl just wants to put on some sexy stilettos and a shock of red lipstick, and act like she bathes in Champagne!
Fun Fact: Merkaba actually has a bath of Champagne on their menu for the bargain price of £6500, definitely one for the bucket list!
Sex and the City vibe
The futuristic design is sleek and contemporary and has a very New York style Sex and the City vibe. Clean lines, no clutter, saltwater aquariums with colourful fish, and an incredible 10 metre long golden bar fully stocked with all the tantalising treats and tonics you could desire. To keep the sophisticated feel they do enforce a dress code, which I think is so smart. When I am out with my ladies and we are dressed to the nines, I love that we can come to Merkaba and have sanctuary from feather boas and phallic tiaras. (Again don’t get me wrong there is definitely a time and place for a willy wand, but thankfully Merkaba is not it).
Table service second to none
I actually had my thirty something birthday here and it was such a great laugh. I booked a table for twenty people and Merkaba didn’t even bat an eyelash. When we arrived they had water and nibbles on the table and no sooner had we sat down than a waiter was over to take our order, clearly he could sense that we were parched.
Their table service is second to none and the staff know how to have a laugh. Our glasses were never empty and they gave our group loads of tokens for their in house photobooth, which we LOVED! Such a smart way to make a night memorable
Ready for our arrival
As I mentioned before I have been on a bit of a baby hiatus, so this time it was just hubby and I for a quiet couple of drinks on a Wednesday night. Again the table was laid out ready for our arrival, and we were treated to some extra meat and cheeses. Merkaba does have a canape menu so if you are keen to have some extra bits for your visit just give them a call the day before.
Trying new drinks
Once we sat down our waiter walked us through the menu, and gave us some much needed guidance and a few recommendations. Usually I am an Espresso Martini and bubbles only type of girl, so this tasting was going to take me a bit out of my comfort zone, which I was really excited about. I already know that their Espresso Martini is delish so I decided to try their Sparkling Hibiscus for my first drink, and Rich couldn’t pass up their oak barrel aged Old Fashioned.
The Sparkling Hibiscus was scrumptious! Just the right amount of elderflower to make it sweet without being cloying, and the apple and lemon gave it a tart and zesty finish which allowed the champagne to still be the star. It was a gorgeous pink colour topped with rose petals for a feminine and romantic feel, a perfect start to my night of baby freedom!
Rich & oaky Old Fashioned
Rich’s Old Fashioned was as masculine as mine was feminine. I think he may have sprouted more chest hair while drinking it, he definitely got a bit of swagger. With a very healthy pour of Jim Bean whiskey in a cut crystal glass with a garnish of orange rind, this drink is simple yet elegant. They weren’t kidding about the oak aging either, it was so smooth and had a beautiful rich oakiness that was delicious.
For my next drink our waiter recommended the, which at first didn’t seem like my kind of cocktail, and then he said the magic words ‘toasted marshmallow garnish’. Hello! It tasted like a tart champagne strawberry shortcake, which I know sounds super sweet but to my surprise it really wasn’t sickly at all. Personally I found it really well balanced with the marshmallow adding a creamy toasted finish, I would recommend this drink to anyone.
Homage to Brighton & Hove Albion
Rich again went for one he couldn’t pass up; My Seagull. This cocktail is a homage to our Brighton Hove Albion Seagulls, which you may have heard, have just been promoted to the Premiere League! Which apparently is the best thing to ever happen to my husband, second only to our son’s birth…our wedding day ranks slightly lower. This gin based cocktail is Brighton Blue, lemony and fresh, topped with an origami seagull for flare.
We both really enjoyed it, though I would probably skip out the Irish cream next time as that is not my personal favourite, but luckily Merkaba is happy to make any change you want. They can even go totally off piste and create your perfect drink to your specification, so just ask.
A historic cocktail
Next we decided to share the classic Penicillin, which can cure what ails ya! (Sorry, couldn’t help it!) This whiskey based drink is a bit on the bitter side and I really really liked it. It’s a classic cocktail made with two types of whiskey that are quite peatey, a squeeze of lemon, some honey water to help the medicine go down, and a dash of Kings Ginger Liqueur, which was in fact created to revive King Edward VII during his morning rides. What is a cocktail tasting without a history lesson?
For our grand finale we decided to go for the full on spectacle of Merkaba’s signature My Tiki which comes with a fire show if you buy two or more! I mean come on, how cool is that?! Once the drinks are ready to pour your friendly neighborhood mixologist invites you over to the bar for your very own personal fire extravaganza!
Which for us included a pouring waterfall of fire, fire breathing, and setting the golden topped bar alight! I mean it was a pretty casual Wednesday night. Not only is it a fantastic spectacle for everyone in the bar, but it is as tasty as it is sensational. Served in a kitschy Tiki bar cup, this passionfruit and 60 proof rum based cocktail is a taste of the islands that is an absolute must for your night at Merkaba.
Decadent afternoon tea
For those of you that aren’t big on the cocktail scene, Merkaba also does Afternoon Tea, which from the sounds of it is just as decadent and elegant as their cocktails. The tea includes fresh seafood, charcuterie, mini fish and chips, and a selection of bruschetta. I might have to come back for a tasting, wink wink nudge nudge.
I have to say that we had the most amazing night, the staff were friendly and fun, the drinks were exceptional, and the atmosphere is everything you could want for a relaxed but elegant night out. Regardless if it’s a quiet drink in the corner or a grand reunion of forty friends, I can absolutely recommend Merkaba to anyone looking to find sophisticated sanctuary in the beating heart of beautiful Brighton.