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Brighton Beer Blog review Bottom’s Rest Hove

A descriptive, beer-by-beer account of our visit…

Date: Saturday 12 June

Beers:
Darkstar Hophead

 

Fellow pub-splorers out there will agree that it’s a great moment when you randomly happen upon a hidden gem of a pub you never knew existed, and even more serendipitous when you have time in hand to take a load off, soak it up and enjoy a pint. Probably you have a favourite one of these places: it’s usually quiet, a little off the beaten track and inviting in a way you can’t quite put your finger on. Those accidental pints, drinking-in the charm of an unexpectedly discovered spot, can be some of the most enjoyable. Bottom’s Rest in Hove fits the template perfectly for many.

Along a street off Western Road that most people don’t go down, behind the Old Market and round a corner that most people won’t turn, is a pub that quite legitimately considers itself the best-kept secret in Brighton.

Its moniker’s namesake is the half-man-half-donkey character from the mystical Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream (not that we worked this out for ourselves – we had to ask). There certainly is a magical element to the way this pub stays hidden in plain sight, as well as its transformative power to feel like a peaceful and relaxing village pub, despite being only 30 seconds from London Road. I’m not sure we saw a single car go past us whole time we were sat here.

In amongst the Regency houses, the alfresco table setup gives you a great vantage point to stare out at this little corner of the world. We took our seats out here and noticed two ladies in the pedestrianised section at the end of the road; at first we thought they were selling plants on the pavement, but later realised they were just transporting seedlings from their flat to the pavement to provide them with some vital extra rays of sun.

Inside, the square wooden bar greets you as soon as you enter with seating left and right, and while the floor-plan is small it feels big enough that it could cater for large groups. To the right a long bench seat hugs the perimeter while tables and chairs fill the floor space. It’s quiet in here today, but you can easily imagine the dusky, cosy cramped warmth and friendliness of a pub like this when the fires are crackling on a December eve.

The chap doing table service was genuinely really nice, chatty and attentive. This visit was pre-freedom day, so it was table service only, but we snuck a look at the bar and options were pretty sparse to be honest. Only one cask option available out of three pumps, and only Maltsmiths IPA (Heineken in disguise); Beavertown Neckoil as well as Pravha and Birra Moretti on the lager side of things. Guinness and Orchard Thieves round things off on the taps. We expect they are tied into narrow scope on the taps, but hopefully when things ramp up again the bar will offer punters more local and national variety on cask, because if this is an outlet for bar creativity the options need to be a draw and a source of differentiation.

We both ordered a pint of Hophead by Darkstar, and it was decent, I found mine to be a little bitter and not the smoothest version I’ve had, though my friend enjoyed his just fine.

The pub used to be called the Conqueror, and the current manager tells me they took over just before lockdown, which really must sting. Nevertheless things seem to be building again nicely post-lockdown, with almost all the outdoor tables taken this afternoon. He mentioned some references to a group of thespians who drop in to do Shakespearian takeover events at the pub; however we’ve tried to get in touch since for specifics and found out the pub might be about to get yet another new owner.

Some research on their socials shows that they are now offering food Tuesday to Sunday, with Sunday being a roast menu. That should get the ball rolling with the locals, but all this chopping and changing can’t be good for the growth of a pub’s reputation. We hope that no matter who is in charge at the time or what the pub is called, it retains the charm and welcoming nature we expereinced that makes it such a quality hidden gem in this area.

By the time we leave the sun is making its way behind the houses and the good-ol’ British summer hasn’t left much residual heat in the day. So all too soon we’re waking ourselves from our mid-summer dreamlike state and forcing ourselves to leave this tranquil little corner of Brighton, traipsing back into the noise and bustle of Western Road.

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Date: Saturday 12 June

Beers:
Darkstar Hophead

 

Fellow pub-splorers out there will agree that it’s a great moment when you randomly happen upon a hidden gem of a pub you never knew existed, and even more serendipitous when you have time in hand to take a load off, soak it up and enjoy a pint. Probably you have a favourite one of these places: it’s usually quiet, a little off the beaten track and inviting in a way you can’t quite put your finger on. Those accidental pints, drinking-in the charm of an unexpectedly discovered spot, can be some of the most enjoyable. Bottom’s Rest in Hove fits the template perfectly for many.

Along a street off Western Road that most people don’t go down, behind the Old Market and round a corner that most people won’t turn, is a pub that quite legitimately considers itself the best-kept secret in Brighton.

Its moniker’s namesake is the half-man-half-donkey character from the mystical Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream (not that we worked this out for ourselves – we had to ask). There certainly is a magical element to the way this pub stays hidden in plain sight, as well as its transformative power to feel like a peaceful and relaxing village pub, despite being only 30 seconds from London Road. I’m not sure we saw a single car go past us whole time we were sat here.

In amongst the Regency houses, the alfresco table setup gives you a great vantage point to stare out at this little corner of the world. We took our seats out here and noticed two ladies in the pedestrianised section at the end of the road; at first we thought they were selling plants on the pavement, but later realised they were just transporting seedlings from their flat to the pavement to provide them with some vital extra rays of sun.

Inside, the square wooden bar greets you as soon as you enter with seating left and right, and while the floor-plan is small it feels big enough that it could cater for large groups. To the right a long bench seat hugs the perimeter while tables and chairs fill the floor space. It’s quiet in here today, but you can easily imagine the dusky, cosy cramped warmth and friendliness of a pub like this when the fires are crackling on a December eve.

The chap doing table service was genuinely really nice, chatty and attentive. This visit was pre-freedom day, so it was table service only, but we snuck a look at the bar and options were pretty sparse to be honest. Only one cask option available out of three pumps, and only Maltsmiths IPA (Heineken in disguise); Beavertown Neckoil as well as Pravha and Birra Moretti on the lager side of things. Guinness and Orchard Thieves round things off on the taps. We expect they are tied into narrow scope on the taps, but hopefully when things ramp up again the bar will offer punters more local and national variety on cask, because if this is an outlet for bar creativity the options need to be a draw and a source of differentiation.

We both ordered a pint of Hophead by Darkstar, and it was decent, I found mine to be a little bitter and not the smoothest version I’ve had, though my friend enjoyed his just fine.

The pub used to be called the Conqueror, and the current manager tells me they took over just before lockdown, which really must sting. Nevertheless things seem to be building again nicely post-lockdown, with almost all the outdoor tables taken this afternoon. He mentioned some references to a group of thespians who drop in to do Shakespearian takeover events at the pub; however we’ve tried to get in touch since for specifics and found out the pub might be about to get yet another new owner.

Some research on their socials shows that they are now offering food Tuesday to Sunday, with Sunday being a roast menu. That should get the ball rolling with the locals, but all this chopping and changing can’t be good for the growth of a pub’s reputation. We hope that no matter who is in charge at the time or what the pub is called, it retains the charm and welcoming nature we expereinced that makes it such a quality hidden gem in this area.

By the time we leave the sun is making its way behind the houses and the good-ol’ British summer hasn’t left much residual heat in the day. So all too soon we’re waking ourselves from our mid-summer dreamlike state and forcing ourselves to leave this tranquil little corner of Brighton, traipsing back into the noise and bustle of Western Road.

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