Brighton has one of the highest number of pubs per head of population for anywhere in the UK. It's a tourist city on the south coast of the UK, less than an hour's train ride from London. There's a great social scene in the city, and most of it revolves around pubs and drinking, from the cram-them-in tourist bars, to the family friendly traditional pub.
It's difficult to narrow down the huge selection to the best three, so I've cheated and given an extra venue in each category:
It's a foodie town and many Brighton pubs offer excellent food, but the best has to be the Sussex Yeoman, on Guildford Road. A regularly updating menu of fine, locally sourced, fresh ingredients cooked by a chef who really loves food and understands how to make meals that will blow your socks off.
Locally the Yeoman's Sunday roasts are legendary and if you want one it's best to book at least a week in advance to ensure you get a seat, and that's with two or three servings each Sunday. If you're not that organised, you're welcome to turn up and enjoy a beer while you hope for a slot to open up. The bar staff are very friendly so at least you can enjoy a nice chat while your hunger grows looking at the gorgeous food being eaten around you.
Vegetarians are well served in Brighton, and the best veggie and vegan pub food is served in The George on Trafalgar Road. It regularly wins prizes for it's vegetarian fare, which is so good it's even made this inveterate meat-eater think switching to an all-veg diet wouldn't be so bad.
Brighton has it's fair share of chain pubs serving the same three lagers, a poor cider and a mediocre ale, but look around a little and you can find a number of wonderful independent pubs serving local beers from Harveys and Dark Star, two Sussex breweries. You'll receive a fantastic pint in any of these pubs, but in my opinion the best beer to be had is in The Greys pub, on Southover Street.
As well as having a regularly changing selection of properly cared for local beers, and beer tasting festivals, the tiny Greys pub also has a range of carefully selected Belgian beers to choose from. Their food is pretty cracking too. In fact, the only thing stopping The Greys being the perfect pub is it's size. Unless you get there early, there's never anywhere to sit in what's one of Brighton's smallest pubs. Still, if it is busy it's well worth squeezing in for a quick pint, the quality is well worth the lack of elbow room.
Honourable mentions go to The Battle and The Evening Star, both close to Brighton's central rail station. The Battle has a range of well kept Harveys beers, brewed just eleven miles away in Lewes, and the Evening Star has some marvellous Dark Star beers, also locally brewed. Both will give you a friendly welcome as well as a fine beer.
There's nothing like a good pub quiz to give you something to argue over with your friends when you're having a pint. There's not a huge number in Brighton, given the number of pubs, but you could probably find one on every day of the week if you're quiz obsessed.
For a fun free quiz, The George Quiz at, unsurprisingly, The George on Trafalgar Street, is the best to go to. Indeed, get there early and have some nice vegetarian food as this is the second mention I'm giving them.
The quiz is a mixture of general knowledge and specialist rounds, with a wide enough range that you'll be able to answer something over the evening. It's free to enter and there's generally meal vouchers and some beer as the prizes for the top teams. If you have sensitive hearing, take ear plugs as Mike, the very affable host, has a voice that doesn't drop below eleven, even when he's using a PA system. For regular visitors, have a check for the quiz on Facebook as Mike sometimes gives hints about what rounds are coming up, and you get to request rounds on particular topics.
As an honourable mention, The Caroline of Brunswick pub as The Geekest Link once a month. It's a SF/Fantasy/geekery themed quiz and a lot of fun if you're at all geeky.
The wide range of pubs in Brighton means there's something for everyone. If you're visiting the city, it's well worth having a wander around areas like the North Laine, Hanover and The Lanes to find the gems of independently run pubs. If you're a local, you'll know how spoilt for choice you are.
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