A hole in the wall hybrid of bottle shop and bar, conveniently between London Road and The Level
The Drop slotted into London Road’s Open Market in early 2023, and if you don’t know this part of town you won’t know what an absolute trove of a place it is. The Open Market feels somewhere between a traditional market (minus the yelling and hollering), and the boutiquey North Laine. It has the perfect combination of affordable staples, local produce, niche outlets, and arguably Brighton’s best collection of world-food eateries in one place.
When The Drop joined them all, it made the Open Market an even more tantalising destination.
The unit is just inside the roofed section of the market and so you are under shelter, although being an open market, you certainly couldn’t call the location warm and cosy and you’ll probably want to keep your coat on in the winter.
The Drop Brighton offer a couple of benches on the outside suitable for big groups or communal sharing, and inside 3 tall seated tables on the inside which can just about fit 4 on them. The bar is at the back offering 2 Brighton Bier draft keg options, and three large fridges (more on these later) sit along the left wall. The space is small but with a big open shutter door on one side it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
I wouldn’t call the Drop a cosy place to sit and given the no-frills hard wood seating, the place isn’t designed for a lengthy session. To be fair though, the Drop is probably more bottle shop than bar. They are limited to day-time opening times – 11-6 on weekdays and 11-5 on Saturdays – and the drink in licence is really just a great bonus.
When I’ve been to the Drop, there’s usually a regular stream of people milling in and out, checking out the fridges and grabbing some take-aways. So if you like to have a little bustle about you, or do a bit of people watching as you while away time with your beer, it’s a great place to sit.
On tap there are usually 2 options and, as the space is operated by local brewers Brighton Bier, they are generally filled with a couple of Brighton Bier keg options, usually a Pilsner and a Pale ale.
The 3 large fridges contain a really fantastic selection: Belgian Trappist styles, German lagers from the best traditional brewers, and then a myriad of both pales, dark beers, sours, Low-No and everything in between. The fridges are neatly sectioned up and prices are clearly marked, the drink in and take out price is the same which keeps things simple.
Canned options tend to favour UK brewers rather than US or other imports, and you probably wont find anything too specialist or rare here. But all the major UK brewers are represented, most styles are present with 2 or more good options, and there are a good number of options present from local breweries as well.
As you’ll know if you’ve been to their pubs, Brighton Bier like their German lagers. And their presence at the market has also taken the form of pop-up Oktoberfest events which have gone down pretty well.
I get that the majority of punters are here for take-away, but more comfortable furniture would certainly make me want to sit for longer. The Drop, as the moniker implies, therefore feels more of a place to ‘drop’ by for a passing beer, than a destination in itself. And given the Open Market is a popular thoroughfare, it has been a fantastic addition to this great community asset.