Cosmopolitan? Yes. Funky? Yes. Atmospheric? Definitely.
Tucked under the Victorian Arches, on Brighton beach, the ‘Fortune of War’ bar is the place to go.
Hip at any time – but give it a whirl on the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, and you will not regret it.
Buy a good hot mulled wine or two to get into the festive spirit and then walk down to Madeira Drive to watch Brighton’s annual ‘Burning the Clocks’. Amazing and unique, paper and willow lanterns, in all shapes and sizes, are carried in a parade through the city, illuminating the spectators, and then burnt on the beach. Tradition has it that all the hopes and dreams of the lantern makers are passed into the fire.
Followed by a great firework display over the sea, the festive mood has been set, so back inside for another mulled wine or two. Happy Christmas!
157 Kings Road Arches
Brighton and Hove BN1 1NB
Google map: bit.ly/vEzlSw
Burning the Clocks
The Robin Hood is my favourite pub in Brighton. It's cosy, friendly and they've got a great wine list. The beers are always good too. They do basic food like pizzas, have a Wii, loads of boardgames and a free computer. It's always been one of my favourites, but I've just found out that they give all their proffits to charity. Sounds like a perfect excuse for another glass of wine! It is a bit out of the way, but well worth checking out.
1-3 Norfolk Place
Just off western road, near norfolk square
This cocktail bar takes some hunting out (up some narrow stairs from an inconspicuous door on the street) but when you get up there it's a real find. Delicious cocktails served by really friendly, unpretentious staff. It gets quite busy at the weekends but there's usually more space (and often a DJ) in the two bars at the back - they're for members only but you can call in advance for free entry or sign up online for free membership. Try the Marylebone mojito - it's out of this world.
135 Western Road (beside Waitrose)
Tel: 01273 720059
Nearest station: Brighton
Massive selection of Belgian beer in bottles and on tap. The food here is excellent, restaurant quality but in a pub, a 'proper' pub at that. This is NOT a bar. Oh, and it has bands/musicians!
105 Southover Street, Brighton
This is the kind of bar you find on holiday. It's friendly, plays great music, and is refreshingly un-designer-y. Hector the owner is a genuine Cuban and is always happy to have a chat. It's Hector, and the cool vibe, and the rum-based cocktails that really make it a great place to start or end an evening. The best mojito this side of Habana!
36 Preston Street, Brighton (between Western Road and the sea front)
A ridiculously tiny pub that's the home of the Kemptown Brewery. The walls are covered with old newspapers and the beer's terrific. Not only their own beers but other great stuff too; this is where I first sampled Tanglefoot, and I'll never forget it.
33 Upper St James's Street, Kemptown, Brighton Tel: (01273) 693070
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