A corner pub that's abundant with space, drinks, food and entertainment enough to please everyone
Fiveways Brighton looms large on the corner of the Fiveways intersection, as it has done for many decades. A post-lockdown top-to-bottom refurbishment has shaken off the last remnants of a rough reputation as a Watneys pub. A place which once housed an off-licence at one end, and by all accounts was not a place for the faint hearted, has transformed a noticeably more vibrant, welcoming and palatable destination
The building is vast and laid out in a big L shape with an upper and lower wing. Both wings are served by the bar which runs along the inner wall and so service is easy to reach when entering through either the main or side door. Starting at the top, the upper wing of the pub is loosely separated into 3 different sections: a low seating dining-orientated space in the corner, a glamorous gin bar denoted by a geometric carpeted section, then the high seating continues into the other end where there’s a large flat screen TV on the wall. All the furniture looks solid and comfortable and I’m thinking wasn’t bought on a budget.
The lower wing of the pub offers just as much space with lots more modern bar stool seating and tables. At the far end down a last set of steps there’s a games area offering not only a pool table (we all know how scarce they are in Brighton) but a darts board and a long wooden table I can only assume is for shuffle board. In this area there’s another large screen TV on the wall, and seeing as both Sky and BT sports are shown here, this an incredible place for groups to hang out and watch live sport while engaging in some competition of their own.
There an array of new benches along the perimeter of the pub, but the stylish place to sit outside is an undercover space to the rear of the pub. This area is both pretty and contemporary, styled with the use of framed artwork, dangling flowers and lit with fairy-lights. It offers high seating in the form of built in benches and colourful bar stools.
Next to this is a little fenced section where there is yet more seating and even a rare patch of grass. The seating here is typical garden chairs which gives it a more laid back and loungey feel. It is wonderful to see grass being incorporated in pub garden design for a change, rather than removed in favour of decking or paving.
On the bar, options are vast. There are 4 cask pumps, multiple taps – 3 of which are dedicated to different fruity versions of Thatcher’s cider – plus shelf upon shelf of gin, wine and other spirits. As Fiveways Brighton is a Greene King pub you will find their well known cask brands, and Abbot and Speckled Hen should usually be available. Greene King also make a lager call ed Flint Eye, and a session pale called Level Head. They also stock Beavertown’s Neck Oil, not the most original choice for Brighton but another IPA option at least.
Typical mass produced lagers abound here. Honestly I think I counted 7 different lager brands; no one needs that much choice but it is impressive. One of these is Madri, which pertains to be Spanish, but I found out recently is mass produced by Molson Coors in Yorkshire and not even sold in Spain.
Food options are more than plentiful at Fiveways Brighton as well. There’s a main menu packed with options including burgers, grills, pies and other classics alongside small plates and snack. Additionally there’s a brunch menu, a kids menu, a roast menu and a seniors menu, all of which look very reasonably priced, though I haven’t eaten any food at the pub at this point.
There are few pubs across Brighton that can offer this much floor space, or the variety of food or drink choices as Fiveways Brighton. I have to applaud the refurbishment; it might feel a bit forced and elements of it wouldn’t look out of place in a hotel lounge, but it has undoubtedly transformed the pub into somewhere that is very welcoming to a far wider cross-section of the local community. Whether the girls are out for cocktails, the boys are watching the match, friends are out for dinner, or mums with babies are meeting for afternoon coffees, this pub provides a spacious destination for them all.