The thirsty local’s guide to drinking in Brighton

Life Brighton

If you are thinking of coming to Brighton then you will most likely want to visit some of the many great bars and clubs that this south coast town has to offer. Brighton is home to around 900 drinking establishments and has always been an epicentre of socialising and a great place to quench your thirst.

Brighton’s drinking culture

Back in 1800, Brighton had one inn for every thirty houses. These inns served as markets, auctions and staging trials. The best inns survived and turned into hotels, whilst the other turned into ‘public houses’ where the working man came after work for a pint.

Life Club in Brighton Photo: Drink in Brighton

Life Club in Brighton

There were two types of public house; beer houses which served the cheap beers and had no tables or chairs, and Gin palaces which were larger, decorated establishments with glass and brass fittings, designed for the better class of customer. By 1900 even the poor districts of Brighton had small pubs in them.

Post World War 1 pubs moved upmarket, partly to attract more women. However, due to competition from the local dance-halls and cinemas, many pubs closed and in the 1950’s even more small pubs were closed by the breweries. Now Brighton consists of a mix of ‘local pubs’, which tend to have an older clientele, as well as ‘trendy’ bars and clubs catering for a market of London visitors expecting a drinking experience more in line with what London has to offer.

Brighton has fluctuated since the 1800’s in terms of the popularity and volume of pubs, from around 480 pubs and beer shops in 1860, which meant that Brighton had more alcohol selling establishments than butchers, bakers, grocers and green grocers combined! Quite like the days of ‘beer houses’ and gin palaces, Brighton today has its parallels with a variety of pubs spreading across the spectrum, enticing a diverse clientele along the way.

Mesmerist Bar in Brighton Photo: Drink in Brighton

Mesmerist Bar in Brighton

As someone who has lived in Brighton for over 5 years, I have given advice to travelers, families on weekend breaks and couples on romantic getaways, all wanting to know where to go in Brighton. Here are three of my favourite drinking establishments to visit whilst you are in Brighton;


This relatively new club opened in 2009 to an amazing response from the younger audiences and the students of Brighton’s Universities. It soon carved out its name as the go-to club for Drum ‘n’ Bass, House and Techno as well as a hangout for Reggae enthusiast. Life Club in Brighton is a must-see for a taste of the local electronic music scene and to meet the younger crowd of Brighton clubbers.


Mesmerist in Brighton is a modern gin palace, packed out with the trendiest customers in town dressed for business in 1950’s fashion. It is well-known for its weird and wonderful character and burlesque theme, often with burlesque showgirls and 50’s style barbershop in the bar. This would be a great place to come if you are interested in a drinking experience that you won’t find just anywhere in the UK.

Hope Bar in Brighton Photo: Drink in Brighton

Hope Bar in Brighton


If you have just alighted the train and have walked down Queens Road, it would be hard to miss the Hope bar, a true music bar with a strong community and after-work crowd. The venue offers a wide variety of drinks and some delicious meals, as well as a live music venue upstairs. Some great musicians have played here from The White Stripes to The Strokes, as well as recent starts such as Adele. It can be a great bar to visit on your way to more venues or a club.

The Brighton address book

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