The best wine bars in Brighton
Ever gone to a pub, asked for the wine list and felt your heart sink a little? Perhaps this sounds a little dramatic, but in our opinion, there are some venues in Brighton and Hove that just get wine, and we want to shout about it!
Hurrah for a beautiful wine glass, a red served at just the right temperature, and staff who not only know their Pinotage from their Syrah but who love to share that knowledge and recommend something that could may well knock your socks off. Here’s a round up of our favourite wine bars and venues serving great grapes in Brighton… salute!
Meet our wine expert, Xavi
For over 10 years I worked in restaurants and hotels across Europe and North America as a sommelier. My approach to wine has always been relaxed and fun. I hope to find the most amazing wine offers in Brighton and teach you something along the way. Lucky for us, Brighton enjoys a long tradition of wine bars, each one with a different taste and approach. From obscure wineries across the Balkans to the most amazing natural wines from France as well as English wine and New world jewels, you name it – Brighton stocks it.
Ask any wine aficionado in Brighton where they like to drink, and we’re 94% sure that Ten Green Bottles will get a mention. True, they are smack bang in the centre of town (Jubilee Street) making it the perfect spot for an post-work vino or aperitif before dinner, but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion it may also be because they are so bloomin’ knowledgeable about wine!
The staff run regular wine tastings, from private to big groups and all the wines sold in the shop are available to drink off the shelf with a small corkage fee. This allows you to go off piste from the wine list (which is however excellent) and try something completely out of your normal drinking comfort zone. Bar snacks range from Spanish charcuterie to British cheese boards, with a smattering of fresh bread and olives to line your stomach.
Café Malbec is an Argentinian deli based in Hove on the busy Church Road, it’s next door to it’s founders Latino America. Serving the very best wines including the finest Malbecs and South American cuisine such as the real-deal empanadas, and with their extensive knowledge of both food and wine you’re in for a treat!
As well as enjoying a glass or two of wine at Café Malbec, you can also purchase it by the bottle to take home. Peruse their exclusive South American wines, in particular the Argentinian Malbecs. The Argentinian deli items are not to be missed, with the real-deal empanadas which come in delicious flavours such as chilli beef, chicken or cheese. They’re a perfect accompaniment with a glass of wine or a bite for lunch!
Located on the busy Church Street, Fourth and Church contribute greatly to the growing number of fantastic venues in Hove. No longer do you have to trek into town to relax with a fine wine, Fourth and Church will provide this and more, all for a very reasonable price tag.
Owned by two restaurant veterans, Paul and Sam, the idea behind the wine bar is to recreate some of their favourite places, whether a memorable tapas bar in Seville, or wine deli in New York. Pop by after work for a wine to take away and enjoy at home, or sit down and indulge in carefully selected artisan cheeses and small plates of food with Paul and Sam’s wines recommendations to match. They also offer regular wine tasting evenings so keep an eye on their website.
As you can guess from the name, this hotel is all about fine wine. Not only do they have a dedicated wine tasting room, but snoop a little downstairs and you’ll stumble across a basement wine snug so atmospheric that you’ll immediately start hatching plans to recreate one in your own home. The extensive wine cellar is also on show and staff will be happy to show you around on request.
Sink into the comfy leather sofas and take your time to peruse the wine list, featuring vintages from all over the world, although the emphasis on French wine is noticeable due to their bistro style menu. We definitely recommend heading here for a celebration, or perhaps for a romantic date – as there’s nothing more attractive than a suitor who knows their way around a wine list…
Grow40 delivers a French-British affair in a relaxed and cosy atmosphere. Pop along for a glass of wine and a shared charcuterie board, or settle in for a 3 course meal. There are over 300 wines onsite at Grow40 to taste and enjoy and they also have a sommelier on hand to assist you!
Steve, one of the founders of GROW40, has started a small wine club behind the scenes and is always very happy to assist with wine tastings or wine matching. You can go along and enjoy a cosy evening or afternoon with your favourite bottle and, if you are extra dedicated to wine, they might even enrol you in the wine club. The club is for limited numbers only but it does grant access to the private members only wine snug on the top floor.
Merkaba is a cocktail and wine bar situated in the heart of Brighton’s buzzing North Laine area, at My Brighton hotel. Merkaba offers a cultured and lively environment to enjoy a drink (or two) from an extensive and ever-changing menu. The bar’s dedicated team has a wealth of knowledge, and Merkaba offer an extensive wine list offering a selection of red, white and rosé wines from around the world – not forgetting plenty of bubbles fit for any celebration.
The newest addition to King’s Road, Brighton, HarBAR is part of the stylish Jetty Hotel and boasts sweeping seafront views as well as a very well-stocked wine cellar. The bar is headed by the very talented Sasha Lewis, a fantastic mixologist that can mix up anything to suit your taste!
Pop in for a pre dinner drink before heading to dine at the adjoining seafood restaurant ‘The Jetty’ , or simply head for the wine itself – there’s plenty of space to enjoy a quiet drink or to host a gathering. If champagne is your tipple of choice then you’re in for a treat as HarBAR offers eleven different types of fizz, ranging from prosecco to Dom Perignon Rose’ Vintage 2003. Bottoms up!
Not only is Drakes an award-winning hotel and restaurant, they also have a cosy bar snuggled into the front of the building with sweeping seaside views. The perfect spot you might say to enjoy a delicious glass of wine, either before you eat downstairs or just to relax with friends.
Eddie is their resident sommelier, and your go to guy for matching your wine to your meal or simply recommending a bottle to suit your taste. Keep an eye out for their Sussex wines – we’re pleased to see the Bluebell ‘Hindleap’ Sussex Rose gets a mention on their wine list – the perfect fizz to start your evening!
We’re heading back to Hove with this entry, and with good reason as MARKET is quickly making a name for themselves with their bar dining concept and fantastic wines to match. What we enjoy about this venue is that they serve many of their wines by the carafe, perfect if you and your dining partner can’t agree on a bottle to share.
They also stock some fine fizzes and Ports from some of Sussex’s best vineyards, including Ridgeview and Blackdown. We’ve also got to give a big thumbs up to their commitment to sherry, a tipple that owner, Kate is extremely passionate about. So passionate in fact, she’s even made an introductory video all about the sweet stuff.
Plateau is a lively bar and french restaurant in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes. Owners Vincent and Thierry have created a relaxing ambience with an unusual list of naturally produced wines and modern European sharing plates.
Their background is heavily steeped in wine, both having worked in plenty of high-end establishments both in London and Brighton and they are fastidious about what goes on their wine list, favouring organic, biodynamic & above all natural wines. Sit at the bar and work your way through a selection of their (twenty) wines by the glass soaked up with a few of the small plates – perfect for a chilled night out!
Whet your whistle…