Beyond the elegant curved glass windows lies a little craft beer gem

59 Queens Road

01273 770760

Idle Hands Brighton

An independent tap bar with an easy-going charm

There’s an unassuming bohemian, almost Parisian vibe at the Idle Hands Brighton. It’s a good use of limited space with a variety of seasoned Chesterfield sofas, low sitting tables, some booth seating in the windows plus a few stools surrounding large barrels inside and out to perch your pint on. The all-important bar sits at the back, tucked into the corner, surveying proceedings.

If you’re looking for keg craft concoctions, you’ll be very happy here: there are ten taps with a rotating array of local brews and out-of-towners. These are poured by friendly and knowledgeable bar staff who seem happy to chat about their favourites and offer tastings. There are bottles and cans available as well, but no cask ale on pump.

There are no food options on our visit; we will update if we hear that a new kitchen has moved in.

If you’re picking a night to visit Idle Hands Brighton then we can strongly recommend the off-kilter, gypsy rock live music Thursdays, hosted by The Jones Street Boys.

On Trafalgar Street – Neither halfway up nor halfway down – is Brighton’s own Harvey’s heaven

36 Trafalgar St

01273 695872

The Lord Nelson Inn, Brighton

Nooks, crannies and cask Harvey’s beer aplenty

The Lord Nelson Inn Brighton has never been anything but a pub, and has always had the same name since it was built and opened for ales in the 1850s.

It’s a deceptively large and fresh feeling inside given its age. If you progress beyond the traditional front bar and descend to the open plan ‘lower deck’ there’s a second serving space and large conservatory with plenty of room for multiple groups plus a small but well-decorated little smoking patch.

There is a clear sports angle to The Lord Nelson Inn, with HD screens both front and back and it’s very popular for big football and rugby games.

The most recent addition is the large restaurant space, on the port side (left) of the main bar. The food menu is extensive and ranges from starters, sandwiches and jacket potatoes through to salads, snacks and desserts, all reasonably priced and dare we say ‘cheap-and-cheerful’, so not aimed at the ‘gastro’ market.

There are no less than five cask pumps, and two kegs serving Harvey’s creations at a pretty fair price for central Brighton. There are the typical lager and Guinness options alongside a left-field German lager tap, and plenty of wines, gins and spirits too.

The maritime reference is subtle, and the atmosphere here is comforting – like a good local should be.

Brewery Page

Harvey’s Brewery

Harvey’s Brewery

Sussex's oldest brewer is steeped in centuries of brewing experience Brewery Page

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A stone's throw from the station is this tucked-away Shepherd Neame pub with an arty, communal patio garden

36 North Gardens

01273 387346

Caxton Arms Brighton

Shepherd Neame beers by Brighton Station

The Caxton Arms Brighton is cheerful and traditional with two main rooms that share a central serving bar.

A bookcase festooned with travel books from all over the world, board games, lego and bar billiards offer some differentiating character and entertainment.
The bar is focused on Shepherd Neame, including Whitstable Bay, Sam Adams and their Bear Island brand of keg options. If you’re peckish choose from tasty-sounding morsels, including burgers and a ‘Roasts in Brighton’ award-winning Sunday dinner.

The garden at the Caxton Arms is set below street level in a kind-of bunkered in courtyard patio and the enclosed space can make for a vibrant and banterous atmosphere when busy with post-work drinkers. It’s awash with colour and humour with Brighton pop-culture graffiti artists The Postman providing much of the decoration  The section below the balcony and staircase makes for a cosy drinking cave that’s sheltered from bad weather when needed.
It’s deceptively spacious out here, with long bench and table layouts that can accommodate a number of groups, though we didn’t see any provision for wheelchair access.
There even seems to be space for a private function room down here, for parties needing something more VIP.

A classic Brighton boozer with a charm that feels like it's evolved over decades

34 Guildford Road

01273 327997

The Battle of Trafalgar Brighton

A homely cask loving pub just metres from Brighton Station

There are many pub options by Brighton Station each offering something a little different, The Battle of Trafalgar Brighton is the bedded in classic local offering great cask options less than 30 seconds from the platform.

The Battle O Trafalgar 1805 (to call it by it’s full and proper name) is decorated with a homely menagerie of pictures, portraits and posters covering all sorts of themes and the ast majority of the walls throughout the pub.

The corner bar greets you as you enter and there are two rooms, a main room to the right of the door and another narrow one that extends ahead to the left of the bar. Tables laid out nearby to each other in a communal but not on top of each other way

The atmosphere in The Battle of Trafalgar is simple and comfortable, some might consider it dated or old fashioned, but it’s that bedded in feel that makes it unique in the area.

There are an impressive five different cask pumps offering a collection of local favourites but purposefully always a guest option or 2 from further afield. However this is not a hunting ground for modern keg and craft beer.

Food is available at The Battle of Trafalgar Brighton and focusses on burgers and light bites, that is unless it’s a Wednesday curry and a pint night for a respecatble tenner.

A Brighton classic, the original home for Dark Star Brewery and still dedicated to exciting beer

55-56 Surrey Street

01273 328931

The Evening Star Brighton

Steeped in beery history and offers keg, cask, canned and bottled adventure

The warm, woody interior of The Evening Star Brighton is warm, wood-clad and inviting, not unlike a sauna.

There’s a limited number of booths, stools and tables available but plenty of standing room for busy nights, and outside the benches are a mecca for drinkers clinging to the sun’s afternoon rays.

The pub has a fine pedigree, being the birthplace of Dark Star Brewing, who started life in the basement in 1994. That legacy lives on in the excellent and adventurous miscellany of beers available that will suit even the most niche of tastes.

If the many cask pumps and taps aren’t enough, the fridges behind the bar are stocked with a great range of bottles and cans making the total beer list extensive. Staff and punters alike come across as passionate beer aficionados at The Evening Star Brighton.

Troll Burger vend their tasty meaty morsels from the shack outside on weekends.