Pouring lager, lager, lager, lager. In a refined setting
This location at the top of Preston Road has had a few different pub and tap projects in recent years. But since the Chequers vacated, none have managed to stick around longer than a couple of years. Enter Mark Hazell.
Mark and co-owner Pete have already proven they can run an exciting beery pub based on the enormous success of The Evening Star. Now they turn their attentions to a tap bar. But not just any tap bar, Brighton’s first lager focussed tap bar.
The front facade has maintained the all black brick look and some seating and plants have made pleasant what is otherwise a basic curb-side smoking area.
Inside the space feels cosy and contemporary without feeling too high-end. There is seating left and right, a combination of high stools and low tables with soft furnished banquette seating built in along one wall. Hanging lighting brings the ceiling height down and adds warmth.
The back of the room is a contrast as the space becomes bright and exciting with a long, ice-white marble bar, while the light shimmers off of glasses hanging among foliage and a long long row of shiny taps. An intimate booth and a small high seating area opposite the bar completes the upstairs space.
I like the yin and yang feel of the fresh and bright bar beyond the earthy and relaxing space, and think they compliment each other nicely.
Downstairs, where the loos are located, there is more seating and a table big enough to get a big group around. This space lacks the elegance and comfort of upstairs but it does mean that you can hire a more private space for functions.
As promised there is lager galore on offer at Brick Brighton. Light ones and dark ones, near ones and far ones. The focus is on German and Czech styles when not on UK breweries, and for good reason. The regions of Bavaria and Bohemia are responsible for the evolution of beer making that came from lagering, and then the worldwide fame of the pale, crisp and clear pilsner, which launched lager onto the international stage.
On our visit I counted 12 different lager styles on the board before things starting heading in a pale ale and cider direction, I don’t know how many are regular and how often they rotate, but who honestly cares when there’s this many options to try.
In total there are a mind-blowing 20 taps hooked up and it was a touch to see the 4 traditional Czech style side-pull faucets at centre stage. With all that going on it’s easy to forget there’s a couple of cask pumps as well.
Also prices are incredibly reasonable. Considering that at plenty of central Brighton pubs you can pay close to £7 a pint of ‘craft’ beer, to get fantastic versions of imported lagers and other respected brewers at £5-6 is fantastic and makes these great versions accessible rather than exclusive.
On my visit I managed to fit in a Köstritzer black lager, Budvar’s normal pilsner, Budvar’s dark lager, Beak’s Dest pilsner and I think a Baltic Porter by Burning Sky. I know of nowhere else in Brighton I could try all this in one place. Phenomenal!
Through the week food is available courtesy of The Lankan. The vibe is Sri Lankan cuisine made to pair with craft beer. It’s all sounding a little bloody perfect now I’m typing it up and I’m gutted I didn’t try some when I was last there.
Hands down, there is nowhere better in town to try a variety of exciting lagers on one bar. That is what makes this pub unique. What makes it fantastic though is the simple but elegant decor, interesting food options and all the other drinks on offer beyond lager.
Live jazz and DJs turn up here as well on Friday’s and the instagram account seems to give advance warning.
I also feel like the bar is being run with a quietly confident and relaxed vibe. There’s no website or facebook page, just an instagram page which isn’t overused by excitable bar staff with a camera phone. Instead word is slowly spreading that this amazing place exists and those in the know, know. And that now includes yourself.