Like most other top-flight travel locations, when the sun goes down in Brighton, romance heats up by a significant notch or two. In a city this lively, there's nothing like sharing a drink with your significant other as you soak in the atmosphere.
Brighton has a wide array of bars to suit whatever mood you're in, whether you'd like to enjoy a chilled glass of wine on the seafront, watch the sun go down, or chug a few pints of ale or cocktails as you listen to some music in a swanky bar. Here are some of the finest drinking places in town.
Many locals have a regular cocktail night routine of their own, and you might want to consider going with the flow. Festivities usually begin with a pub crawl. The cocktail crowd hops from one pub to the next to develop a good buzz before spending the rest of the night in one of the city's leading clubs. The pub crawl begins in either one of the seafront haunts or among the plush pubs in the Lanes area.
On the seafront, right beneath the King's Road Arches and beside the beach, sits the Gemini Beach Bar, a favourite starting off point for many a weekend pub crawl among Brighton night-crawlers, especially among the youthful crowd, age 30 and below. This fun-loving crowd can go from dusk to dawn so pace yourself accordingly.
If you want to begin at the Lanes area, there's a wide selection of funky bars and traditional pubs that are sprinkled among the maze of small streets where you can start the ball rolling in high spirits. Look for Sumo on Middle Street, one of the most popular joints in this area and home to a stable of cool DJs and hot music. You can't miss its futuristic decor upstairs and the Internet cafe with 12 computers on the ground floor. When you come across a place with a lot of beautiful happy faces around, that's probably Sumo.
The late 20s and 30s crowd likes to rev up in The Squid, which is also located on Middle Street. The Squid is among the initial wave of bars launched by the popular C-Side chain. The interiors are classy, modern and minimalist. Their flavoured schnapps are a big hit and brands like Red and Absolut Vodka regular have special promos in the place during happy hours. Guests can even win free passes to the Zap Club and take their partying to another level.
Another C-Side bar with a great following, this time among the 20 and below set, is the Shark Bar over on West Street, about two minutes away from the main shopping centre. This place is huge, with walls filled with funny shark pictures and huge paper chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Guests lounge on silver bar stools. Check out the cocktail bar downstairs.
The young crowd also likes to converge at The Prodigal on East Street, back at The Lanes district. College students and young professionals like to rub elbows in this setting near Brighton Pier. The menu offers many food selections while the wine list is pretty good and also features a wide array of popular draught beers. The Prodigal also serves brunch during weekends.
On the other hand, if you want a taste of a popular old-fashioned pub, then the Cricketers Inn on Black Lion Street is the place to visit. Locals and tourists alike enjoy hanging out in this laid-back setting, where the carpets, walls and furniture are all coloured red. The decor is also unique, with framed pictures on the ceiling, the heads of deer on the wall and chamber pots dangling from the beams.
The Black Horse is another lively traditional pub where the drinks are superb: a first-rate wine cellar featuring exquisite red and white wines as well as lots of real ales on tap. Located on the North Laine district, the Black Horse always features lively entertainment, including jam sessions and rising bands.
The Bamboo Bar on Kensington Gardens is a stylish bar and restaurant that lovers will appreciate. They have a lovely balcony that presents a bird's eye view of North Laine and lets guests enjoy a whiff of the fresh night air. They also have a number of trendy DJs on hand that specialize in reggae, funk and hip hop, depending on which night of the week you happen to drop by.
Curve on Gardner Street is another fine place to start the night. Tourists like to troop in during afternoons to enjoy a cafe latte or a glass of wine to go with their early dinner. During summer, the management opens up the front of the bar, allowing guests to enjoy their drinks as they watch the world go by.
For a setting with loud music and hip hop tunes, the orange, purple and silver Riki Tik bar on Bond Street is like no other. It is a local favourite of the young, pre-clubbing set, but also serves many wines and beers. Their main attraction, though, are their fine cocktails, so make sure you get to sample a few.