It’s no secret that Brighton’s nightlife is brilliant. Whether you want pints for sipping, shots for slamming, or carefully crafted cocktails, you can bet there’s a pub or bar with your name on it. And when the mood strikes, you can hit the dancefloor at some well and truly legendary clubs. There are a lot of places we want to tell you about, so strap yourself in as we take you on a hefty crawl through our favourite Brighton nightlife hotspots.
Nightlife in Brighton
We’ll start things off with a speakeasy-style cocktail bar on Steine Street. The Plotting Parlour is a hidden gem, just tucked away between the hustle and bustle of St. James’s Street and Marine Parade. It’s table service only, so sit back and peruse their cocktail menu of original creations that’ll tantalise your taste buds. The decor’s delightful, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and you can reserve a table to ensure you’re not turned away.
Next up, make the short stroll across the Steine Gardens to Be At One, the popular chain cocktail bar where you can rely on there being good music, stylish surroundings and a lively atmosphere. Plus, if you download the Be At One app, you can choose your own happy hour and make the most of £5 cocktails. Another stylish bar that’s popular with the people of Brighton is the award-winning Merkaba, which you can find nearby the famous North Laine area and its collection of more than 400 independent shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. If you’re looking for a glam night out, Merkaba’s up there with the very best Brighton has to offer.
Moving swiftly on, it’s time to lose yourself in The Lanes. BYOC is right at the heart of the action. The name is an acronym for Bring Your Own Cocktail. The premise is born from the prohibition era. All you need to do is bring your own spirits to the premises, and BYOC’s team of talented bartenders will turn it into something extraordinary with the help of their homemade syrups, juices and bitters. What’s more, it also has a private snooker room, a silent cinema, and a fully functioning pipe organ, so don’t be surprised if there’s a spontaneous sing-a-long.
Next up is Medusa Bar on Preston Street. It’s one of the oldest bars in Brighton, having been serving thirsty locals for over 30 years. It’s the kind of cool little bar you’d find in Soho, or the streets of Amsterdam and Berlin. It plays great music, and there’s a wide selection of beers, wines and cocktails that will cater for everyone. Plus, on Thursdays, it hosts The Stage, a popular open mic night for live music, comedy, spoken word and more.
From a bar that’s been around the block to one of the fresher faces of Brighton’s nightlife scene, you’ll find Maggie Mae’s a few doors up from Medusa Bar. It offers a similar recipe of good drinks, music and atmosphere. It’s open seven days a week until 2am, and during happy hour, you can get selected cocktails for just £6.
The Plotting Parlour
Arguably Brighton’s most iconic pub is the Prince Albert. It’s on Trafalgar Street, right next to Brighton Railway Station. It’s famous for the huge mural that covers an entire side of the pub and features a genuine Banksy. You can take your pick from its excellent selection of ales, plus it serves a sublime Sunday roast – we didn’t think you could get Yorkshire puddings this good so far south. It’s also a popular place to catch live music, with gigs regularly taking place throughout the week.
Another excellent option is The Evening Star on Surrey Street, which is just nearby so easily combined with a visit to the Prince Albert. It’s the original home of the excellent Dark Star Brewing Company. So, as you might expect, the beer and ale selection is hard to beat, and we’re not just talking about in Brighton.
If you want to go for a drink in The Lanes, The Victory is a top-class old-time pub with a stunningly tiled facade. Apparently, it’s the oldest pub in Brighton, having been established in 1766. It gets its name from the fact it was rebuilt in 1824 to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It’s a proper pub offering the winning combo of traditional ales and creative craft beers from the best new-wave breweries in Britain. On top of that, you’ll find a menu of well-portioned hearty food, which also features some fine veggie options. The Victory is well worth a visit, especially as it can’t be much more than a minute’s walk from our Brighton City Centre hotel.
Or, if you’re looking for a drinking den in Kemptown, we have a couple of top options for you. The Black Dove on the corner of St. James’s Street and Lower Rock Gardens is one of our absolute favourite places to go for a drink in Brighton. It’s edgier than a dodecahedron in denim dungarees. It’s littered with shabby chic furniture, the walls are brimming with bric-a-brac, and the bar is stocked with some of the most sought-after beers from around the world.
Alternatively, a little further down St. James’s Street, you can head on down to Hand In Hand. It’s the colourful red and yellow corner pub that may or may not be brimming with Brighton locals. They’ve been handing out beers for over 150 years, and brewing their own since 1989. It’s a laid back pub that’s great for ales, where you can expect a warm welcome from the friendly faces behind the bar. Plus, on Sundays, they host a popular live jazz night that pretty much always packs the place out.
A handful of others deserve an honourable mention, including the BrewDog Brighton that boasts a brilliant location on the Grand Parade overlooking the Victoria Gardens. You know what to expect from the pioneers of the craft beer revolution; take your pick from the Scottish brewery’s seemingly endless selection of beers, and sample some of their next-level pub grub.
The Geese is a sublime pub on Southover Street, particularly for those with a proclivity for bangers and mash. They stock ten flavours of sausages, nine types of mash, and five gravies. On Sundays, it serves six types of roasts, including two veggie and vegan options. It’s a good job it isn’t closer to the city centre – it’d be so popular, we’re not sure you’d be able to reach the bar.
Speaking of top-tier pub grub, The Hartington is a family-friendly free house with some of the best value-for-money food in Brighton. On top of that, it has a lovely beer garden, plenty of seating, it’s dog-friendly and the bar staff couldn’t be more lovely.
Last of all, if you’re out west of the city centre and looking for a real hidden gem that ticks all the boxes of good food, drink, decor, service and staff, then hunt down the Bottom’s Rest. We won’t tell you any more, just that you won’t be disappointed.
It hardly needs much of an introduction, but we’ll get our list of clubs in Brighton going with Club Revenge, an institution of the LGBT+ community for more than a quarter of a century. It’s probably the biggest and best-known gay club in the country outside of London. It’s famous for its themed nights and costume parties. There are two state-of-the-art dance floors, a stunning roof terrace, VIP booths, and you can always rely on Club Revenge being full of friendly faces and seductive drinks deals.
On Marine Parade, Patterns is a beautifully converted Art Deco hotel and one of the best club venues in Brighton. Downstairs, the low-ceiling basement club has a world-class sound system and has fast become a popular venue for famous artists like George FitzGerald, Floating Points, Joy Orbison, Julio Bashmore, Koreless and Mount Kimbie. There’s also a DJ booth on the ground floor, which is the home of the main bar, and where they also host live music. But, when the sun’s out, you won’t want to be anywhere but the Patterns terrace.
If you want to be even closer to Brighton Beach, Shooshh is practically on the sand. It describes itself as Brighton’s one and only ‘VIP super nightclub’. We’re not entirely sure what that means; maybe it’s something to do with the fact that it has VIP booths and celebrity appearances. Or, that it’s absolutely massive, and most guests have a super night. Who knows? One thing’s for certain – its license is ridiculously late and they offer plenty of naughty drinks deals, just like Coalition, another raucous club which you’ll find a little further down the beach.
Just down the road, you’ll also find The Haunt. It’s a converted cinema housed inside Brighton’s coach station, opposite Brighton Pier. It hosts top-class club nights, as well as live music events. It’s hosted the likes of The XX, Foster The People, Wild Beasts, and much more. Weekly DJ nights are very popular, particularly ‘It Is Still 1985’, which goes off every Saturday.
Next door to the Brighton Centre, you’ll find Brighton’s branch of Pryzm, the nationwide chain of superclubs. It boasts three different club rooms, three bars on top of that, plus CO2 cannons, state-of-the-art sound systems, and even lasers. Its student nights are among the most popular in the city, and it’s open until 4am every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.