Beyond the suntrap there's style, sandos and great drink options in this backstreet destination

69 Upper North Street
Brighton
BN1 3FL

01273 202475

The Windmill sits on the corner of Upper North Street and Clifton Place and has long provided punters with a cosy spot to nestle in. The pub dates back to 1828 and takes its name from a mill that used to be located at the top of the hill.

PUB DESCRIPTION

You can’t enter the pub without walking through the front yard seating area. In all seasons this is a renowned sun trap and you may need to wade through some punters occupying the benches and basking in the rays. A recent refresh of the outside paintwork, the installation of a rain cover and the offering of some comfortable leather chairs has reasserted how much of an asset this spot is.

Inside, The Windmill hasn’t changed too drastically over recent years and the low ceilings, nooks and crannies have always created a really cosy and intimate cocoon. It’s somewhere that doesn’t need too many people in it to feel vibey.

A 2024 management change has brought with it a contemporary style and approach and the interior has been both simplified and given a touch of class. The bar along the left wall takes up around a quarter of the footprint of the pub but tables and chairs are spaced out well. and the layout has options for groups of about 6, while also offering some slightly more intimate spaces for couples.

Beyond the bar is a tucked-away section of seating which has a slightly different feel to it almost like a basement cabaret club, but certainly an improvement on the fake grass walls that were there before.

FOOD MENU

The Windmill Brighton’s current popularity can be somewhat connected to the very hyped kitchen run by Albertas Food. The cuisine is billed as ‘Hot Sandos’ and combines Japanese and Italian-American cuisine in the format of sub rolls filled with a tempting combination of fillings.

On my last visit the ham egg and chips sub had me intrigued. It combined succulent ham, zingy chunky egg mayo and little chipstick fries for texture and crunch. A sugary glaze on the bottom of the sub gave every bite great umami. The price is on a par with what you’d pay for a burger and it was completely satisfying and filling.

Albertas also offer a very popular roast dinner on Sundays. The unique offering here is the Southern Fried quarter chicken which has me salivating just at the thought of combining that with a good gravy .

 

DRINK OPTIONS

It was really great to see a row of craft taps on the back wall as well as the typical mainstream options. A really enthusiastic and chatty barman did a great job at drawing my attention to these.

On my visit they were stocking the Keller Pils by Lost and Grounded, well renowned as the UK’s best version of the German keller style. Alongside that was Cloak and Dagger’s Komodo Bozo. A very reliable session pale from one of Sussex’s bedded in breweries.
Ascension Cider completed the options which meant there were another 3 taps just sitting unused.
Hopefully the craft demand will see these filled up at some point or maybe we’ll see some tap takeovers in the future.

Great to also see 3 cask pumps on the bar, 2 of which were pouring a couple of options from the well respected Sussex brewer Downlands when I visited.

The Windmill Brighton amke the audacious claim to serving the best Guinness in Brighton. The Guinness I’ve drunk here had great mouthfeel but was served very cold and that killed the flavour. Guinness aficionados would disagree that a good Guinness is an ice cold Guinness and for that reason they missed out of a mention in Brighton Beer Blog’s Best Guinness of Brighton review 2023.

Cocktail lovers also rejoice as The Windmill Brighton will make a  great selection for you. They have a diverse and reasonably priced Negroni menu and serve Margaritas on tap.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

I visited on a quiet Friday afternoon the music playing went from The Libertines tinged indie to some very catchy 80s tunes. The social media accounts suggest music is a big part of the pub’s character, and they are the only place I know who book live Daytime DJs to entertain on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It’s a clever and classy way to pump in some good energy and keep punters boozing through the afternoon and into the evenings.

If you’re planning a private party then they also now offer a first floor bookable space for 25-35 people.

 

CONCLUSION

The Windmill Brighton combines simple style, a unique food menu and drink options to suit all palettes, and they do it in a way that is quietly hip and trendy. But all Brightonians think we all think we fit that demographic don’t we? So no wonder so many people are rediscovering this pub.

While they might still bill themselves as a backstreet pub, the current team are putting The windmill on the map and making sure we all take a very necessary diversion here.