Restaurant Brighton's guide to
Best Brighton Pubs
Our top picks
Take a stroll upstairs in The Walrus and you will find one of the most opulent dining rooms in the city. The pub has continued its styling into the restaurant area, adding some serious style and detail with turquoise tones, mismatch seating and grand tables. On the menu, you will find seasonal delights such as charred asparagus and sprouting broccoli and lamb cutlets with salsa verde and yellow courgette. For our favourite is the lemon curd tart, it is delicious.
If you are looking for a pub with a bit of a vintage feel and some seriously tasty food then The Better Half in Hove is right up your street. A little off the beaten track, which is a good thing for pubs, The Better Half has a very cosy and welcoming feel to it. This little oasis of quality food and drink is not far from the Hove seafront and close enough to civilisation to still feel like you are close to the action. The beautifully tiled bar is a real talking point as are the pictures that adorn the walls. The Better Half is a great pub that ticks all the boxes as far as we are concerned.
Recently renovated and with a national award for their Sunday Roasts, 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, sharing a couple of the small plates on the menu
The Roundhill fills the niche in Brighton as the first gastropub that has a menu that is vegan by default. The venue itself is refreshingly light and welcoming, two sides of the building being almost entirely windows, the decor is eclectic and inviting, additional outdoor seating tucked a little off the roadside is a good choice during summer months. Family friendly and dog-friendly, The Roundhill is a good social pub with plenty of heart and a strong food and drinks choice that will entice all, not just those already on a plant-based diet.
The Cloak Room in Brighton is a stylish relaxed taproom with an industrial interior and sharp graffiti inspired art. The Cloak Room serves as the tabroom for local small batch brewers, Cloak + Dagger. In addition to a fine selection of fun (and serious) craft ales, IPAs, sessions and stouts The Cloak Room boasts an exceptional whiskey menu, featuring many lines that you won’t find anywhere else on the south coast, they also love a cocktail and do a good range of wines and spirits. Pairing with your beverage is food from Slow + Low Smokehouse, Sussex barbecue with a focus on sustainability. These flavoursome dishes could just as easily be served up in a top-end restaurant, while still holding true to that indulgently naughty, and social, barbeque factor.
Bringing together two of the best things in the world, craft beer and shellfish, The Urchin claimed Best Food Pub in the 2018 BRAVO awards. This Hove pub traverses the line between pub and restaurant and does so with aplomb. An extensive craft beer list has been curated by the knowledgeable owners, and the superb food offering has made this one of the best food destinations in the city. Tucked off down Belfast Street it has the feel of a local boozer but delivers so much more.
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.
Situated in the Seven Dials area, The Chimney House is a quality pub that has become well known for its excellent food offering. The spacious and classic interior has a strong rustic charm that fits perfectly with the food, which has a focus on seasonality and foraged produce. The pub dominates the corner of a road in an otherwise sleepy area. If you are looking for a gastropub that gives the impression of being out in the country, then The Chimney House should be on your to-do list.
The Hartington came under new management in autumn 2018, and it was the team’s primary goal to reestablish the neighbourhood pub as the place to go locally for great food. With a new chef and new menu, The Hartington brings a great selection of home cooked pub classics with some exciting and creative additions as well as plenty of first-rates, vegan and vegetarian options.
This lively pub, venue and kitchen is one of Brighton’s best-known spots. Often packed come Friday and Saturday nights with people drinking, dancing and having a generally great time, few Brighton pubs experience such a transformation over the course of a day. Pop by in the day for a refuge from the hustle and bustle of Brighton’s Lanes and a bite to eat from the gastropub menu and return to get the party started in the evening at this popular night spot.
Take a stroll up to Queens Park and you will find a pub that you would be proud to call your local. The Independent is just that. Free of any brewery ties, the pub can hand pick its drinks offering and does so to great effect. Food is central to The Independent’s appeal, with a superb, restaurant quality, offering and Sunday roasts that have people queuing out the door. With music and other events regularly taking place, The Independent represents all that is good in a pub.
Brighton is a city with lots of history and tradition, and The Cricketers is a slice of that past. The interior of this spacious pub is in keeping with its Victorian heritage, with a striking red theme throughout. Famous writer Graham Greene was once a regular at the pub, immortalising it in his novel “Brighton Rock”, the upstairs bar and function room is named in his honour. A very popular Lanes pub, that has a superb food offering from the Kitchen of Phil Bartley, serving pub classics made with superior, locally sourced ingredients. There’s a grizzly twist to this historic boozer, it said to have also been the haunt of “Jack the Ripper” who planned his murders from the upstairs bar.
The Mesmerist Brighton in The Lanes is a long standing favourite amongst Brightonians. With two floors, three bars and a roof terrace The Mesmerist has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to keep visitors on their toes. As well as this venue’s fantastic interior, nightlife and drink selection, the food offering is also a reason to visit too. The menu is made entirely in house, with seasonal and fresh ingredients made into experimental and unique pub grub dishes which are guaranteed to satisfy every diner. The burgers here are particularly delicious and amongst our favourite in town. You can even enjoy them on their secret roof terrace…
As you arrive in Brighton by train you might just spy this pub on its perch overlooking the city. The West Hill Tavern has adjusted to life post-2020 lockdown by transforming itself into a community hub. Open from 11 am daily, The West Hill, or “Westie” welcomes daytime visitors and out of office workers with a feast of everything from coffee to cocktails, gooey toasties and artisanal pizzas from The Great British Charcuterie and Sunday feasts from the renowned kitchen of Phil Bartley.
Tucked a little further out of town, The Ladies Mile in Patcham is a community pub with a strong local spirit. The Kitchen is run by well-known chef Russel Tisbury and serves a good range of classic pub fare as well as some nice modern additions. Sunday lunch is a big hit for the whole family here and is well worth checking out (booking advised).
Taproom for Brighton Bier, the city’s award-winning craft brewery, The Bierhaus is another pub for those who love their beer. The brewery has stepped in to save the site, that has housed a pub since 1830, and a slice of Brighton history to boot. The listed building has been transformed into a new community hub serving an extensive range of beers that showcases the Brighton Bier range alongside guest beers from UK, European and American Breweries. Tap takeovers and meet the brewer events are commonplace so you can always expect to find something special pouring here.
New Road in Brighton is the centre of the party when the sun is out, and The Mash Tun is often the focal point. A popular pub for students and revellers, The Mash Tun is often packed with Brighton’s coolest crowd. In keeping with many other Brighton pubs, they have a superb selection of craft beers and real ales in addition to some great grub to keep you nourished. When the sun is out this is the place to seen, with the outside seating always full and lively.
This multi-level labyrinthine pub has got quite a cult reputation in Brighton and beyond. A regular mention in Brighton’s best roast columns, and a popular spot for all manner of social activities, The Lion and Lobster does all the things that you would expect from a pub well. It is a lively and buzzing pub where there is always something going on. With numerous screens over the different levels it is great for watching live sport, and the individual restaurant is ideal if you prefer a quieter spot for your lunch or dinner.
The Hop Poles is one of those Brighton pubs that just seems to exude a sense of effortless cool and calm. A real gem of a pub, there is a feeling of arty creativity at The Hop Poles that ranges from the quirky décor right through to the quality food offering. The pub is one that manages to traverse many different social groups, making for an interesting and diverse clientele. With regular events such as open mic and quiz nights, there is often something going on. This is a great pub for a quiet daytime drink with a good book or as an evening spot with friends.