After a hard day’s shopping and sightseeing or before a cosy, romantic date-night dinner, one of Brighton’s pleasures is to enjoy a cocktail, preferably in a darkened, candlelit corner. To get your night off to a snug start, here are five cosy cocktail bars in Brighton and Hove I recommend.
1. Cocktails before dinner and dancing or after dark at The Plotting Parlour
A stone’s throw from the pier and centre of town
Hidden up a seafront side street on the fringes of Kemptown is this dangerously beautiful cocktail bar, a breath of fresh air in a – dare I say it – area of far less stylish drinking establishments. Inside there are no shortage of nooks either – there’s even a private drinking parlour – where you could easily lose all the hours chatting over cocktail after a cocktail. Reservations only. Make mine a Trash Talk.
Find The Plotting Parlour at 6 Steine Street
2. Cocktails between lovers at L’atelier du Vin
On the fringes of the eclectic North Laine
On the same row as this flamboyant Mexican restaurant, is a mysterious shopfront with a black facade that stands out for its incredible old preserved signage. Inside is a Prohibition era-style cocktail bar with a peaceful candlelit ambience, making it the perfect pre-dinner refreshment stop on your way into town. There’s also another branch in the Seven Dials neighbourhood which has a shady courtyard terrace for summer rose drinking. Make mine a French 75.
Find L’atelier du Vin at 10 St George’s Place and 87 Dyke Road
3. Cocktails and people watching at The Black Dove
Near Concorde Two, the legendary seafront club in a beautiful old Victorian shelter hall
The most eccentric choice in this post. I’d describe this Kemptown cocktail bar with a twist as a mix between a traditional pub, antiques shop and speakeasy. It’s also not a place for the fainthearted date-night lovers, tending to attracts clientele who tend to live by its motto: ‘Any man who goes to bed before 12 is a scoundrel’. If you want privacy, disappear downstairs into a booths inside the hidden drinking den. Make mine a Paloma.
Find The Black Dove at 74 St James’s Street
4. Cocktails with retro-chic friends at The Flipside
If you’re with a girlfriend or a group of friends, and are totally bored of the whole Prohibition-era/Bootlegger cocktail bar thing then head to The Flipside above the Mesmerist were you can drinking like its the Swinging 60s. You’ll either feel inspired to tap into your inner Hendrix or nauseated and wanting somewhere more serene. Make mine a Purple Haze.
Find The Flipside above the Mesmerist, 1-3 Prince Albert Street
5. Cocktails before the theatre at Bar Valentino
Find the doorway next to Tinto Taperia, head up the stairs and you’ll emerge into this small, contemporary cocktail bar with an upbeat atmosphere. I must admit, the decor is a little dated, but the cocktails are delicious and best enjoyed from the balcony alongside a healthy dose of people watching and a distant view of the Royal Pavilion which you sometimes see peeking through the trees.
Find Bar Valentino at 7A New Road
BONUS COCKTAIL BAR
Underground drinking in the Cellar Bar
In the basement of a historic seafront hotel
This place is mostly used as the setting for private events and occasionally open to the public for cocktail nights is this intriguing and stylish bar and dining room set within a series of old smugglers’ tunnels underneath Brighton’s oldest hotel steeped in history. Read more here.