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Brighton Beer Blog review Hobgoblin Brighton

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

Date: Monday 12 July

Beer:
Madrí

 

The Hobgoblin (or is it just Hobgoblin now?) has been through quite a personality change over the years. Long-term Brightonians will remember it as a bit of a grungy out-of-town pub and music venue with a rear smoking area.

Some pub history enthusiasts on Facebook have helped us piece together a rough history: in the 90s the pub was owned by Wychwood Brewery, one of a few Hobgoblins they had across the country. In the mid 90s it began operating as a venue upstairs, something that worked well with the crusty vibe of the time. At some point, in the noughties we’re guessing, Indigo moved in and things slowly became more youth orientated.

The garden was made more habitable and food options became more exciting with things like gourmet dough balls offered from the outside oven. I never rated these much, but many people did. A few years ago the upstairs venue became an escape room run by Bewilder Box, which many people might lament; but there are lots of venues around Brighton, and as someone who successfully escaped this room with a few mates on a birthday party, I can really rate the set-up.

Over lockdown the pub has seen yet more changes. The cask beers have been completely removed from the bar, the garden seems to have had some extra work done and the pub just feels as studenty orientated as it’s ever been. These days I half expect to see a Scream bar logo behind the bar, and then I remember I’m no longer 20 and they disappeared a loooong time ago… sigh. The only thing that has stayed consistent is the pubs name, which seems to fit just as well now as it always has.

An unsuspecting visitor entering might almost be tricked into thinking that this is a normal everyday pub. In the front bar wood clads the floors and lower walls, and then bare brick takes over which is sparingly decorated with a couple of old portraits and mirrors. There’s a really wide standing-room space at the bar, a floor-to-ceiling fireplace to the left, a fantastic large raised seating area by the front window and another tucked-away section of seating to the right in front of the bar.

It’s all feeling pretty classic to this point, but then you approach and scan for drinks options and it hits you in big colourful writing: ‘SKITTLE BOMBS’ and ‘STUDENT DRAFT PINTS’ at £4.30. If you’re not a student, you sir/ma’am are not the target market.

The beers on offer are weighted towards mass-produced brands – lagers like Pravha, Staropramen (both available on a student deal) and Madrí. ‘Craft’ options include Blue Moon, Neck Oil IPA and Gamma Ray APA, and there’s a rotation tap for local craft beer. Today this was the Joosy Pale from Unbarred, which we would place a bet is cheaper 5 minutes up the road at the brewery, for Indigo do like to charge top dollar for anything that remotely resembles craft beer.
We order a couple of Madrís as I’ve had this recently at The Crescent and it’s been going down pretty well; it’s a new Spanish lager making the rounds that basically tastes like Birra Moretti would, if Birra Moretti had any depth of flavour.

The back part of the pub feels much like the front but it’s set out with various sections of booths against the walls, some with arcade games for tables that aren’t even turned on (an expensive choice for inanimate furniture) and two long banquet tables in the centre. The seating options for big groups of 6 or more throughout are just fantastic, and the atmosphere and lighting is actually really soft, subtle and comfortable, surprisingly so considering this is a student-aimed pub.

Then you enter the neon jungle that is the back garden… Out here must be 12 or 13 tables of various sizes laid out across a massive astroturfed space, and painted an assortment of bright primary colours. Many of these are in their own heated booths, and those that aren’t are mostly covered by retractable rain covers.

Today the cover is up, as despite being July it’s grey and spitting, but out here it doesn’t seemed to have dampened the spirits of the generally young-looking punters. There are lots of groups drinking and laughing in all corners of the garden, and there’s an eclectic variety of upbeat pop music being piped out here. Despite the weather, the Hobgoblin garden is where the fun is and I can’t imagine many pubs can say about their outside spaces on a drizzly Monday.

All this youthful energy has me tempted to ask someone for a rolly, order a snakebite and black and follow it with a Jägerbomb chaser before searching Google for club nights. But then I remember the wife is expecting me home in half an hour… sigh.

The current kitchen in residence is The Dog House, and serves up, c’mon you can guess… hotdogs! along with loaded curly fries. Almost everything on the menu can be switched for veggie/vegan and they offer a mid-week lunch deal.

The manager mentioned that they had lots of garden parties planned, and the vids on their socials make them look like one hell of a party. If you made it to one of these then leave a comment and tell us what they are like.

The Hobgoblin has always been a place to congregate and have fun, and that’s as true now as it’s always been. For a current student generation not looking for pool tables or live music, it’s simply a perfect place to meet with large groups for cheap drinks (considering Brighton prices). The garden is just immense, and not many, if any pubs, offer the space that Hobgoblin Brighton can inside and out.

For anyone else, unless you’re looking to fuel your night surrounded by people with a youthful capacity for booze that you lost years ago, you’ll probably end up feeling a little bit old and out of place, and like us, embarrassedly shuffling on before too long.

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Date: Monday 12 July

Beer:
Madrí

 

The Hobgoblin (or is it just Hobgoblin now?) has been through quite a personality change over the years. Long-term Brightonians will remember it as a bit of a grungy out-of-town pub and music venue with a rear smoking area.

Some pub history enthusiasts on Facebook have helped us piece together a rough history: in the 90s the pub was owned by Wychwood Brewery, one of a few Hobgoblins they had across the country. In the mid 90s it began operating as a venue upstairs, something that worked well with the crusty vibe of the time. At some point, in the noughties we’re guessing, Indigo moved in and things slowly became more youth orientated.

The garden was made more habitable and food options became more exciting with things like gourmet dough balls offered from the outside oven. I never rated these much, but many people did. A few years ago the upstairs venue became an escape room run by Bewilder Box, which many people might lament; but there are lots of venues around Brighton, and as someone who successfully escaped this room with a few mates on a birthday party, I can really rate the set-up.

Over lockdown the pub has seen yet more changes. The cask beers have been completely removed from the bar, the garden seems to have had some extra work done and the pub just feels as studenty orientated as it’s ever been. These days I half expect to see a Scream bar logo behind the bar, and then I remember I’m no longer 20 and they disappeared a loooong time ago… sigh. The only thing that has stayed consistent is the pubs name, which seems to fit just as well now as it always has.

An unsuspecting visitor entering might almost be tricked into thinking that this is a normal everyday pub. In the front bar wood clads the floors and lower walls, and then bare brick takes over which is sparingly decorated with a couple of old portraits and mirrors. There’s a really wide standing-room space at the bar, a floor-to-ceiling fireplace to the left, a fantastic large raised seating area by the front window and another tucked-away section of seating to the right in front of the bar.

It’s all feeling pretty classic to this point, but then you approach and scan for drinks options and it hits you in big colourful writing: ‘SKITTLE BOMBS’ and ‘STUDENT DRAFT PINTS’ at £4.30. If you’re not a student, you sir/ma’am are not the target market.

The beers on offer are weighted towards mass-produced brands – lagers like Pravha, Staropramen (both available on a student deal) and Madrí. ‘Craft’ options include Blue Moon, Neck Oil IPA and Gamma Ray APA, and there’s a rotation tap for local craft beer. Today this was the Joosy Pale from Unbarred, which we would place a bet is cheaper 5 minutes up the road at the brewery, for Indigo do like to charge top dollar for anything that remotely resembles craft beer.
We order a couple of Madrís as I’ve had this recently at The Crescent and it’s been going down pretty well; it’s a new Spanish lager making the rounds that basically tastes like Birra Moretti would, if Birra Moretti had any depth of flavour.

The back part of the pub feels much like the front but it’s set out with various sections of booths against the walls, some with arcade games for tables that aren’t even turned on (an expensive choice for inanimate furniture) and two long banquet tables in the centre. The seating options for big groups of 6 or more throughout are just fantastic, and the atmosphere and lighting is actually really soft, subtle and comfortable, surprisingly so considering this is a student-aimed pub.

Then you enter the neon jungle that is the back garden… Out here must be 12 or 13 tables of various sizes laid out across a massive astroturfed space, and painted an assortment of bright primary colours. Many of these are in their own heated booths, and those that aren’t are mostly covered by retractable rain covers.

Today the cover is up, as despite being July it’s grey and spitting, but out here it doesn’t seemed to have dampened the spirits of the generally young-looking punters. There are lots of groups drinking and laughing in all corners of the garden, and there’s an eclectic variety of upbeat pop music being piped out here. Despite the weather, the Hobgoblin garden is where the fun is and I can’t imagine many pubs can say about their outside spaces on a drizzly Monday.

All this youthful energy has me tempted to ask someone for a rolly, order a snakebite and black and follow it with a Jägerbomb chaser before searching Google for club nights. But then I remember the wife is expecting me home in half an hour… sigh.

The current kitchen in residence is The Dog House, and serves up, c’mon you can guess… hotdogs! along with loaded curly fries. Almost everything on the menu can be switched for veggie/vegan and they offer a mid-week lunch deal.

The manager mentioned that they had lots of garden parties planned, and the vids on their socials make them look like one hell of a party. If you made it to one of these then leave a comment and tell us what they are like.

The Hobgoblin has always been a place to congregate and have fun, and that’s as true now as it’s always been. For a current student generation not looking for pool tables or live music, it’s simply a perfect place to meet with large groups for cheap drinks (considering Brighton prices). The garden is just immense, and not many, if any pubs, offer the space that Hobgoblin Brighton can inside and out.

For anyone else, unless you’re looking to fuel your night surrounded by people with a youthful capacity for booze that you lost years ago, you’ll probably end up feeling a little bit old and out of place, and like us, embarrassedly shuffling on before too long.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.