Drinking among the gods

A rooftop terrace provides a high altar for sun worshippers to venerate the anciently celebrated elixir of summer outdoor drinks. Differing from street-side seating or pub gardens, the rooftop elevates us, providing a sense of freedom from the every day. Beware the lesson of Icarus however, it is not wise to spend too long too close to the sun!

With space in Brighton and Hove at a premium, we take a look at those innovative pubs and bars who have turned their gaze to the heavens.

The Mesmerist in the Lanes has drawn many into its captivating spell, a thrall that is compelled by its weirdly wonderful roof terrace. The colourful clientele and staff that populate this artsy music venue create an eccentric oasis amidst the astroturf and pot plants raised up high in the Lanes.

The Walrus boasts a labyrinth of nooks to settle in but the jewel must be the wonderful two-story roof garden. Being part conservatory makes it perfect for days that are sunny but cold. The terrace is packed with flowers, benches and decor that really does feel like an English country garden set among the chimney tops.

For that summer society garden party feel, head up stairs to the terrace at Bohemia. Open in the day for breakfast, afternoon tea, and lunch, through into the night for drinking and shmoozing. The Veuve Cliquot glass walls and giant sun umbrellas will shield you from the elements, and the paparazzi, should you be feeling a bit celebutante.

One of the first pubs you’ll find when exiting Brighton station in pursuit of sun, sea and somewhere to drink, The Grand Central is a large pub with a big secret. Brightly coloured with plenty of seating, plants and, oddly enough, a wall of doors, it’s a treat to find and may leave you questioning if you really want to find a few inches of beach to claim for the day.

A long-standing favourite among locals, the three stories of the Lion and Lobster ascend into a roof terrace that itself is a mezzanine. With heated awning and a wood burner, it’s a magical place to gather on cooler eves and a glorious place to bask on long summer days.

Head out to Brighton Marina and the boutique hotel Malmaison for marina views and a slice of the yacht club lifestyle without the yacht club lifestyle membership fees. The decked area of Chez Mal is a perfect spot for an afternoon tea or a bottomless brunch while playing a few rounds of “which yacht would you buy?”

Technically The Setting Sun doesn’t have a roof terrace, but its position raised high on the bank of Hanover gives it a spectacular skyline view. The west-facing vista gives it arguably the best views over the rooftops of Brighton sweeping down to the sea, perfect for poetic contemplation in the dying embers of the day.