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Bar Valentino Interior
Photograph: Ellen Richardson

The 13 best bars in Brighton

From trendy taprooms to sophisticated speakeasies, these are our top picks for a drink by the seaside

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

It's no secret that Brighton is a ridiculously fun city. From the massive student population who love to boogie all night long to the locals who really know their craft ale, this city is jam-packed full of great spots to head to for a drink, no matter the ambience you're after.  

Fancy a little hideaway to enjoy an intimate cocktail or two? Brighton's got an abundance. What about a taproom to enjoy some fantastic, innovative local beers? We've got you covered there, too. Is a classy evening spent sampling some incredible cheese and wine on the cards? There's plenty to choose from, so take your pick. And you can rest assured you're headed to best of the best, as this list was lovingly selected by a local. Here are the top bars in Brighton right now. 

🦐The best restaurants in Brighton
🥐The best brunch spots in Brighton
☕The best coffee shops in Brighton
🐟The best fish and chips in Brighton
🏘️The best Airbnbs in Brighton

This article was written by Liv Kelly, a writer from Brighton. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Best bars in Brighton

The Well
Photograph: The Well

1. The Well

Kemptown is one of Brighton’s less-discovered treasures, and a particular area highlight is this charming neighbourhood bottle shop and bar. The Well’s cosy vintage decor makes it feel like home – no, really, having a drink in here is literally like sitting in someone’s living room – and the fridges are always stocked with trendy craft IPAs, stouts and sours. They also have a fantastic orange wine list. If you’re after a sociable little spot away from the centre of town, The Well is definitely worth the detour.

The Golden Pineapple
Photograph: Lucie Beková

2. The Golden Pineapple

This swish little spot, tucked away in the South Lanes, is the place to be for lovers of all things tequila and mezcal. The Golden Pineapple's extensive, creative cocktail menu is an exciting adventure into what can be done with the stuff (margarita who?), and you’ll enjoy a stylishly furnished bar and table service from the friendly and incredibly knowledgeable team.

Unbarred Taproom
Photograph: Unbarred Taproom

3. Unbarred Taproom

If you’re after a taste of something new, the Unbarred Taproom is the perfect first stop. This brewery and bar opened in 2019 and is a champion of exciting and innovative beers. Think limoncello sours, chocolate and hazelnut milk stouts, and the Joosy, which is the best hazy IPA of all time IMO. Though this place is hidden behind the much busier, noisier Preston Circus, it always has a buzz of people enjoying a schooner of their delicious creations, and probably a pizza, too – Fatto A Mano, one of Brighton’s best restaurants, has a branch just over the road so you can order a pizza straight to your table.

4. Plateau

Another great spot is Plateau, a chic natural wine and cocktail bar with a long old list of wines which come by the bottle or the glass. It’s worth asking the insightful team at Plateau what they recommend, as they really know their stuff. And if you're not a wine person, there's great cocktails and beer to try too, as well as a seasonal food menu which is definitely worth sampling – try the grilled plaice and the pickled mussels, which pair beautifully with a glass of orange (or three). 

Twisted Lemon
Photograph: Twisted Lemon

5. Twisted Lemon

One of the coolest and smallest bars in town, the Twisted Lemon is quite literally a hidden gem, nestled away in a teeny-tiny alley off of Middle Street. But don’t let its charmingly compact interior fool you; the mixologists here boast one of the most extensive and original cocktail lists in the city, with a massive menu organised by spirit. Flick through to your go-to tipple, or ask for something that one of the lovely team recommends – either way, your thirst is sure to be quenched.

6. The Plotting Parlour

If you’re after somewhere really special, The Plotting Parlour will do the trick. This elegant cocktail bar has great decor and high-quality drinks. The menu changes, but it's been known to do a mean Negroni Sorbeto (Campari orange sorbet, vermouth, citrus gin, and a pistachio cannoli) and an Emerald Mile (gin, bay leaf, chartreuse, velvet falernum and vermouth). There's a good selection of nibbles and charcuterie, and there's also have a Hove location. 

Ten Green Bottles
Photograph: Restaurants Brighton

7. Ten Green Bottles

If you’re keen to really learn a bit about wine, Ten Green Bottles is a charmingly minimalist wine bar to start with. You'll find a great selection of white, rosé and red in this airy bar, and it does wine tasting sessions too. Often with a regional theme, there's a weekly schedule of weekend wine masterclasses and private cheese and wine tastings – make sure you book in advance for these.

Gung Ho!
Photograph: Ellen Richardson

8. Gung Ho!

This sustainable cocktail bar is renowned for its innovative recipes. The menu at Gung Ho!, devised in three sections, is a super exciting adventure into divine new flavours. The ‘revised disco drinks’ are a modern twist on some classic disco-era cocktails, the ‘seasonal cocktails’ are – yes, you guessed it – creations which showcase the best of seasonal sussex produce. Finally, ‘the apothecary’ is a section of mocktails so exciting you won’t notice they’re alcohol-free.


9. Paris Wine Bar

Paris Wine Bar, which is technically in Hove, is a great spot to enjoy some vino alfresco. The stunning terrace is a popular weekend night spot, where the booths and tables are often full to the rafters. It has an extensive list of fine wines and champagnes, which are unpretentiously grouped by flavour profile, so you can opt for your go-to spicy and deep red or a fruitier, exciting white. Despite the name, you'll also find a great beer and cocktail selection, plus a lovely seasonal food menu.

Fortune of War
Photograph: Fortune of War

10. Fortune of War

Okay, so this place is technically a pub, but picture the scene. It’s been a gorgeous day, you and your pals have pub-crawled your way to the seafront along with the rest of the city, and you're in the mood for a boogie. With a great local beer selection from Laine Pub Co., an extensive alfresco bench right on the beach, pizzas on the menu and a roster of DJs who never disappoint, Fortune of War is one of the best places to end up on a Saturday night. 

L'Atelier Du Vin
Photograph: L'Atelier Du Vin

11. L'Atelier Du Vin

This small wine and cocktail bar is easy to miss, but stepping inside it is like stepping back in time. Drawing on recipes from the prohibition era for inspiration, L’Atelier Du Vin has successfully curated an atmospheric little spot, reminiscent of the '20s. With smooth, jazzy music, candles, comfy armchairs and a team who know so much about their drinks, this is another sophisticated little spot which is great for a quick drink after dinner or for settling in for the evening.

12. Bar Medusa

One of the prettiest bars on this list, Bar Medusa is a top spot for those who don’t mind splashing out on a cocktail. This intimate setting, with walls adorned with fairy lights and a tentative team of fantastic bartenders, is another of Brighton’s fabulous cocktail spots. Sit back, relax, and maybe even draw the curtain (yes, some tables are really intimate), and enjoy the ambience. Oh, and it does a mean charcuterie, which the team brought back recently by popular demand.

Bar Valentino
Photograph: Ellen Richardson

13. Bar Valentino

Perched right in the centre of Brighton’s cultural scene, on the same street as the Theatre Royal, opposite the Pavillion and around the corner from the Dome, Bar Valentino is in the beating heart of the city. This first-floor bar, known for shaking up some delicious cocktails, has a great selection of drinks with the buzzy ambience of a speakeasy. Why not grab a bev and head to its tiny balcony to watch the town turn from day to night?

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