Feature – PIEB Top 5… Cocktail Bars
Cocktails have become cool again. More and more pubs, bars and restaurants across the city are expanding their drinks menu to incorporate these much sought-after alcoholic concoctions.
Want to know where’s good to sip on a Sex on the Beach, mull over a Mojito and get lashed on copious amounts of Long Island Iced Teas? We visited some of the best bars in Brighton to bring you our PIEB Top 5… Cocktail Bars.
The Black Dove
Perched on the corner of St James’ Street and Upper Rock Gardens is The Black Dove. An independently run and owned bar, this Kemptown boozer is full of great quirks: an old piano, taxidermy in birdcages and vintage wine bottles dripping with candle wax. The gorgeous dark green leather sofas and wood tables and chairs gave this bar-cum-pub an almost speakeasy atmosphere.
The cocktail menu at this retro boozer is fifteen drinks long and includes a great list of both classic cocktails and variations on old favourites. Cosmo, Long Island Iced Tea and Honey Bear all make the list. If gin if your thing, why not try the Chelsea Sidecar? Served with triple sec and fresh lemon, this drink is refreshing, sharp and citrusy – perfect for balmy summer evenings.
The Black Dove also serve over 70 craft beers and ciders, plus a strictly organic wine list. Catering for a mixed crowd, this Kemptown pub really stands out with its retro decor and professionally mixed cocktails.
The Black Dove, 74 St James’ Street, Brighton, BN2 1PA
On a side road off St James’ Street is Brighton Rocks. One of Brighton and Hove’s oldest drinking haunts, this cocktail bar is etched in history. A former French sailors hang out, Brighton Rocks is now home to some of the best drinks in the city.
The menu spans over 30 choices with the Brighton Rocks team adding many personal touches to their cocktail menu. And quite rightly so; this bar won second place in the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Mixology Competition 2013.
From usual suspects such as Mojito, Cosmo, Long Island Iced Tea, Margarita and Daiquiri, it’s the more inventive cocktails that really stand out at Brighton Rocks. Ones to try this summer are the Sussex Martini made using both local Blackdown gin and vermouth and the Orcadian Rhythm made with cucumber vodka, apple, mint and elderflower – subtle, cool and extremely refreshing, this is another to slowly sip on hot summer nights.
If it’s a diverse mix of cocktails, a food menu and outside seating with sea views you’re after, Brighton Rocks is the place to be.
Brighton Rocks, 6 Rock Place, Brighton, BN2 1PF.
Situated at the prestigious address of 34 Regency Square, Cocktail Shack is captivatingly dreamy. With sea views of the ailing West Pier, this rum-based bar is also stylish, crisp and distinctly cool.
Cocktail Shack is a one-man bar curated and run by Ali Bell, a well-travelled mixologist and spirits aficionado with years of experience not only in Brighton but across the globe. Ali’s vision is to bring a little bit of Caribbean sunshine to the Brighton cocktail bar scene.
The menu is exceptionally enticing with a great mix of classic cocktails and modern twists, all self-selected by Ali himself. Sipping on a Truth Be Told – one of Ali’s personal creations containing gin, pineapple juice, absinthe, lemon, jalapeño water, coriander and egg white – my tongue was alive with a plethora of flavours from sharp pineapple to citrusy lemon, a sharp kick from the jalapeño and whisked, airy egg white.
A relative newcomer to the Brighton cocktail scene, this supremely chic shack is the new stand-out amongst cocktail bars in the city.
The Cocktail Shack, 34 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2FJ
The New Club
A firm Places I Eat Brighton favourite, The New Club is a must-visit for any Brighton local and visitor. Situated on the easily accessible Kings Road, the views of the West Pier and surrounding beach are beautiful around sunset and The New Club’s external south-facing seating area is always a crowd pleaser.
From brunch hangover cures to pre-dinner drinks and classic cocktails, the drinks menu at The New Club certainly has something for every occasion. The refreshing Cucumber and Elderflower Fizz is fantastic on those long, hot summer days.
Whether it’s a boozy weekend, a quiet drink with friends or a date, The New Club is a brilliant establishment to spend a few hours in. Make sure you get there early and bag an outside table for an evening of premium cocktails and delicious LA-inspired food.
The New Club, 133-144 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2HH