A sleek and charming family-friendly pub with a roast to rave about
The Dyke Alehouse Brighton
A refined and revived community local
The Dyke Alehouse Brighton was saved from the brink of extinction in a two-year campaign of committed community resistance and crowdfunding which even got the support of Caroline Lucas. The campaigners were successful in their bid and the pub itself still lives on, however the pub garden has been replaced by a residential block and the space is about 50% the size it once was.
In its new guise the mix of modern and traditional decor is well balanced with the many tastefully highlighted period features. Greens, creams and exposed brick play off the elegant glass and brass bar. It really looks fantastic in here with tasteful period panelling, a huge fireplace, the glass storage above the bar and some bespoke Brighton themed dividers combine period and contemporary really well.
There isn’t a lot of space to play with and the L-shaped floor plan limits layout options further, but the pub has done it’s very best to squeeze in as many covers as possible. In the first section by the bar there are plenty of high seats for perching at the bar or at some small high tables. There used to be a leather sofa or 2 by the fireplace but they have been replaced by a couple of normal height tables.
Around the corner it feels more dining focussed with lower tables and a lot of built in banquet seating. A lot of people can be sat at one time, but this comes with a loss of space and that can give a feeling of being squeezed in at very busy times. I also think you’d struggle to comfortably fit more than 4 people to a table.
The Alehouse part of the moniker is a bit confusing because it’s not really followed through in practice on the bar and this wouldn’t be high up the list for a bus load of CAMRA members.
The pub buys through Heineken which restricts them to the same drinks you see on 60% of pubs in Brighton, this is despite being independently owned. The landlord of the pub once championed Veterans Brewing company on the pumps here, which were essentially an armed forces charity organisation, but I didn’t see any here this time.
Thankfully I did discover some local craft beer in the form of Long Man Best and Abyss’ Session Pale ale. Long Man are a great brewery and I wish I saw more of their range in Brighton. The psychedelic branding of Abyss’ beers is always a happy sight and their Superpale is a brilliant session pale option, which at 4.4% allows you to have 2-3 without feeling too guilty.
We were here because we’d heard rave reviews about the Sunday Roast from fellow pub blogger Roasts in Brighton. We were not disappointed. Meat was plentiful and incredibly succulent and flavourful. The veggies were lovely, the gravy was great and abundant, so no need to ask for an extra jug. If there was a grumble it was that the potatoes were a little dried out, probably from being sat about staying warm under a lamp, but that’s forgivable on what was a very busy Sunday, and because everything else was perfect.
Posters on the walls advertised a weekly Tuesday quiz, a regular Wednesday night music quiz and a monthly Brazilian live music night on a Saturday. There also seem to be the occasional one off live music events scattered on the calendar, though the website and Facebook pages didn’t show anything upcoming when writing.
I think this pub has certainly played to its strengths as a food destination rather than a hang out for drinkers. The layout feels very much orientated and purpose built around fitting in as many diners as possible. And there has been some inevitable sacrifice of comfort and personal space with no sofas or cosy nooks to relax into.
But The Dyke Road Alehouse Brighton is stylish, dog friendly and offers a good variety of drinks options alongside their reputable kitchen.
Beyond Seven Dials, pubs are scarce on or near Dyke Road, and I expect that for locals the food and drink here must taste all the sweeter knowing the pub was saved from becoming just another block of flats.