A designated Community Asset and a dedicated queer safe space run by Laines Pub Co.
The Actors Brighton
Brighton’s proudly blatant queer safe space, now stocked and run by Laine Pub Co
Previously called The Marlborough, this location, like many in the area, has tons of history, dating back to the late 1700s when the pub was launched as The Golden Cross and, rumour has it, provided a discreet underground route for Prince George to rendezvous with ladies of the night.
In the 1970s the pub began to form it’s connections with the LGBT community when Gay and Lesbian groups made the pub their home for meetings and events. The theatre above the pub was created during this decade as well and has been heavily linked with LGBTQ+ theatre groups and HIV awareness movements.
Recently the pub has won awards for best LGBT venue, and in 2022 The Actors Brighton was successfully assigned an Asset of Community Value, meaning it has furthered the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
The seating area outside is simple enough and there isn’t much of it, but on nice days this is probably where you’d opt to sit, as it’s located on a quiet backstreet with glimpses of Brighton Pavilion across the road.
As you enter the pub you have options left and right, both kitted out with plush bench seating, small round tables and stools. Perhaps due to it’s location and lack of natural light, this pub has always felt a little bit dusky and dingy to me inside, but now the right hand bar feels classy and fresh, nicely warmed by the glow of art deco lamps. The left bar and the space at the back still offers that more tucked away in a discreet corner option.
The decoration is simple and tasteful and here and there on the walls are large masks, which nod to the pubs new name and the theatrical space upstairs that is so intertwined with this pubs recent history. The events board advertises weekly Poetry and Open Mic performances.
The bar offers a range of Laines’ craft keg beers such as Source and Mangolicious, plus an alternative craft tap, serving Brixton Lager, and then some other mass produced lagers, plus Guinness, there are also a couple of cask pumps but only one serving on my visit.
The Menu suggests various pizzas from Pizzafaced are now available.
I had a nice chat with a Supervisor, who I remembered from a music event is a queer, Black spoken-word artist and activist who identifies as they/them. It’s very good to see that under Laine, the pub is staffed by members of the community that the pub has historically served.
The Actors Brighton has refreshed itself and become more the modern product you expect from a Brighton pub. Happily it retains the special character and leaning towards the LGBTQ+ clientele that has made it an asset to Brighton.