Feature – Brighton’s Best Beer Gardens
British Summer Time is officially here and while this run-down of Brighton and Hove’s sun-soaked patios and hidden hideaways may seem a little premature, remember the glorious feeling of taking friends to ‘that little place I know’, hidden away from the tourist hotspots and student hangouts as the sun beats down. Of course, my list is also food-centric and I feel that the below tip-offs reflect both the garden area and the ability to chow down on some great food, too.
Hove Place (First Avenue)
On First Avenue lies the quintessential and idyllic Hove-based hideaway. The beautiful garden at Hove Place is surrounded by blossoming flowers and scattered with large tables ready to be filled with families and friends alike. Alfresco dining is very much the norm during warmer days as the garden floods with sunlight from morning through to late afternoon. Head Chef Phil Bartley provides punters with a bistro and pub menu to choose from, including prime Sussex rib-eye steak, pan-fried sea bass, traditional fish and chips, halloumi and beetroot burger, plus a wide selection of sandwiches and deli specials. Affordable wine, premium spirits and bottled plus draft lagers and ciders are served.
Hobgoblin (London Road)
The sunny beer garden at the Hobgoblin pub on London Road is one of the best pub gardens in the city centre. Sheltered, large and with a lively atmosphere, the Hobgoblin is the type of pub garden you’ll arrive in at 3pm and not leave until 3am. And what better food to fuel the steady stream of alcohol than burgers? But this is not just any old meat in a bun – these are Troll’s Pantry burgers. We’re talking patties made from 35-day aged steak mince, organic handmade brioche buns and toppings include Bourbon peppercorn sauce, honey bacon jam, maple candied bacon, smoked cheese, pickles and beetroot ketchup – to name but a few. Bottled and draft beers, premium spirits and drink deals served throughout the week.
Sidewinder (Upper St James’ Street)
Kemptown has its fair share of boozers, ranging from rock ’n roll cocktail bars to traditional village-esque pubs. It’s the Sidewinder, however, that stands out with its two pub gardens, one even being south-facing. Bang Bang Burrito host the kitchen throughout the week, serving a hungry crowd their mix of burritos and Mexican-tinged daily specials. On Sundays, the Sidewinder keep it traditional with roasted meats and vegetarian options. Great drinks selection including build-your-own Bloody Mary!
Battle of Trafalgar (Guildford Road)
A traditional pub serving real ale and proper home-cooked pub grub, The Battle of Trafalgar also hosts a wonderful, almost ‘hidden’ beer garden to the rear. This is a great place to take friends when the mood for an authentic pub strikes. Expect a local yet welcoming clientele and a friendly, chatty atmosphere. Serving real ale, including Harveys, and a decent spirit selection.
The Windmill (Upper North Street)
The Windmill is the pub garden that everyone wants a seat in when the sun is shining. South facing and an all-day sun trap, this boozer patio provides locals with an escape from the hustle and bustle of town. Serving an eclectic Mexicana menu that stretches as far as the odd burger or two, the Windmill is a delightful pub with a great atmosphere. Very busy at weekends – get here early to secure a table. Expect ales, ciders, spirits and a great array of soft drinks. The Best of the Rest: Best sea view: Fortune of War (Brighton seafront) Best grass: Hangleton Manor (Hangleton Valley Drive) Best view of Brighton: Setting Sun (Windmill Street) Originally published in the Brighton & Hove Independent 4/04/14