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Renowned for its vibrant nightlife, which offers everything from traditional olde-worlde pubs to flamboyant gay bars, Brighton has it all when it comes to drinking and socialising. The live-music scene also offers the full gamut from drum and bass, hard house and big-name DJs such as local Fatboy Slim, to latin beats and jazz. There’s something for everyone: read on for Square Meal’s top 10 bars to kickstart your night, plus perfect pubs in which to hole up.
The cosy bar at Hotel Seattle is an outpost of style and sophistication in the otherwise soulless enclave of Brighton Marina. The inventive approach of the hotel’s restaurant extends to the bar’s groovy cocktails: try pink mountain top – a blend of Tanqueray 10, blueberries and forest fruits.
Bar Valentino is one of the most treasured secrets of Brighton's all-embracing bar scene. Located through a nondescript door and up a flight of rickety stairs, the ‘speakeasy’ bar offers in-the-know cocktail lovers skilful blends in an art-deco-inspired space.
The weathered interior of this Brighton veteran hasn’t changed in decades – but that's exactly how the regulars like it. The pub's simple pleasures lie in well-kept ales and a range of 100-odd whiskies. Be sure to investigate the old tobacco tins on the walls: drinkers have been leaving messages, scrawled poems and pictures in them for years.
A local hero, this lovely old pub keeps the residents of Poet's Corner well fed and watered, while doing its bit to champion Sussex food and drink. Spanning a warren of rooms and snugs, the pub lists excellent beers and spirits to support the organic wine list. What’s more, live music gigs are a regular occurrence.
At first glance, it looks like your average, old-fashioned town boozer, but the Ginger Pig is actually a light-and-airy gastropub serving expertly cooked modern-European food at reasonable prices. The wine list stretches much further than your average pub offering.
Brighton’s bourbon aficionados can’t get enough of this 150-year-old boozer, which stocks more than 70 types of American whiskey. Apart from whiskey, The Great Eastern’s low ceilings, battered floorboards and book-lined walls lend it the atmosphere of a traditional British pub.
This bar-restaurant’s name certainly suggests a dyed-in-the-wool wine bar, and there’s much for fans of the grape to enjoy here – whether serious drinking or a quick and easy tipple is required. A tapas menu is also available for those who want something to nibble with their chosen glass.
This Brighton institution has undergone a sympathetic refurb of late, and the owners took the opportunity to revamp the bar. Enjoy a terrific line-up of cask ales and craft beers from the UK and beyond, plus bottles from The Kernel Brewery. The food is more than up-to-scratch, too.
This snug, Victorian wood and etched-glass bar is home to more than 60 rum brands, and the landlord is happy to talk you through his award-winning collection. A monthly rum club and lethal cocktails complete the picture.
This independent wine shop-cum-bar does a nice line in organic and natural pours complemented by eclectic platters. Take a pew at the communal farmhouse table and choose from a huge selection of wines imported directly from boutique vineyards in France, Spain and Italy – without the painful mark-ups slapped on by most other places.