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1 Holland Road
A communal, independent pub and venue with a cracking beer list
Entering the dark wooden interior of The Brunswick Hove is a very comforting feeling. Rain or shine it’s a communcal pub that’s a sanctuary for settling in and relaxing with friends.
The wide bar lies in front of you beyond some high seating and left and right the booths and bench seats are usually filled with lots of lively locals and chatty groups.
You might not realise if you were just passing through but below you is a fantastic cellar space for parties and music events, and above you is another storey with 3 colour coded rooms, all available for private hire. Anyone who lives here long enough has been to a birthday party or event here.
If that wasn’t enough then to the right beyond a retractable wall is a fantastic and understated music venue, often decked out with tables and candles, which hosts an incredible variety of live music, comedy and other regular events. The event calendar is curated by part of Brighton’s own musical furniture, Jacko Hooper so quality can be relied upon.
Top that off with a huge decked sun-trap garden space and you have a winning formula for this part of town.
The beer range on the bar is exceptional with 9 craft taps and 4 pumps hosting anything from standard pales and bests, to niche stouts and sours, with local brewers usually always represented. They can come at wallet stinging tap-bar prices, but it’s a price worth paying for an exciting beer range in an independent pub.
A selection of pub snack and burgers are available with roasts served on Sunday.
8 Goldstone Street
A modern option in Hove’s residential backstreets
The decor of The Exchange in Hove is a combination of exposed brick and wacky touches, and there’s ample space with tables and seating set out open plan. Smokers have a small beer garden and a row of neon picnic tables out front.
A log fire is situated to the right of the bar, while to the left is a stage area for live music. There are two big screens round a corner where live sport is regularly shown.
There are quite a few lagers on offer, and being a Laine Brew Co establishment there’s a varied selection of Laine Brew Co pales, and cask ales, as well as some niche guest options such as seasonal ales and sours.
The kitchen is outsourced to Dirty Shack, which offer a classic selection of burgers and wings, advertised as ‘Cajun cuisine’, and a few vegetarian dishes.
Dog friendly and wheelchair accessible, The Exchange is a great example of a local pub well modernised.
1 Howard Road
A loungey pub specialising in a unique collection of bar games
The Freehaus, just off Elm Grove in Brighton, is a two-floor bar: upstairs a cosily lit comfortable pub space, downstairs a dedicated games area and good-sized pub garden.
There’s an impressive variety of options for both keg and cask; and this being part of the Brighton Bier empire, their own excellent brews feature heavily on taps and pumps but guest brewers are also rotated.
There’s a bit of an American theme running throughout, from the signage on the walls and the regular Whiskey Preachin DJ night, to the kitchen offering burgers, fries and associated sides.
The pub itself would be a great place to go as a pub in it’s own right, but Freehaus Brighton then throw in a unique downstairs games areainto the mix. We’re in danger of gender stereotyping, but it is the ultimate man-cave down there with foosball, toad, an arcade game and a couple of dart boards on offer in a spacious and stylish environment.
This pub is a great hangout for all ages but seems to have captured the local student clientele for good reason.
82 Dyke Rd
An unfussy and comfy local that has a taste for French cheeses
There’s a warm and relaxed atmosphere in The French Horn Brighton, the bar along the back wall and seating is predominantly small tables and chairs arranged open-plan plus a single comfy sofa.
The sapce feels primarily set up for small groups and couples and late afternoon/evening a few locals at the bar and some relaxing contemporary background music help give the place some atmosphere.
There’s a tiny little garden out back, and some clever-clogs has installed little fold-away tables on the front facade, which makes a good outside table for two.
The beer options are somewhat limited: mainly lagers, with very few keg options, and a couple of cask pumps hosting some local brewers on our last visit.
Burgers feature prominently on the menu, with some interesting options, but it’s the offer of weekend raclette at The French Horn Brighton that makes this place stand out with a unique culinary quirk.
81-82 St James’s Street
A laid-back space that’s cool, contemporary and crazy about keg
Enter the main bar space of Cloak Room Brighton and all those slim shiny chrome taps stand to attention and stare you down. The options are almost intimidating. Almost…
There’s loads of communal standing room here, a couple of spacious booths to the right and a deceptively large seating area to the left of the bar. The place has a NYC, loft-lounge, warehouse conversion vibe – featuring exposed brick, chipboard, reclaimed scaffold tables and C&D’s distinctive can and brand artwork on the walls.
If you haven’t met a Cloak + Dagger beer then you are in for a treat. There is clear focus on new age brewing here; pales, sours, adjunct infused keg stouts and more adventurous niche brews from their favourite UK brewers are in abundance. Those who like to taste and discover will be in their element.
The vibe is generally very chilled at Cloak Room Brighton, and live DJ events often crop up on the calendar.