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The Geese
Photograph: The Geese

The 17 best pubs in Brighton

Whether you’re after a pint, a cocktail, or just a shot of Tuaca, these are the seaside city’s very best boozers

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

When it comes to pubs, Brighton certainly knows what it’s doing. The city has an abundance of boozers, from the traditional watering holes with old gents sipping their ale to some super swanky taprooms full of hipsters sampling sours. 

But it’s not just cracking beverages that have earned this seaside city an excellent pub rep. Some proper top-notch food gets rustled up in the kitchens throughout town, and Brighton’s infamous nightlife can be accredited to the vibrancy of its pubs, too. Here’s my pick of the city’s absolute best, as a former bartender and proud, proud local.

🍸The best bars in Brighton
🐟The best fish and chips in Brighton

🍝The best restaurants in Brighton
☕The best brunch spots 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.

The best pubs in Brighton

1. The Hampton

Despite being located right in the centre of town, The Hampton remains a well-kept secret. This vibrant pub has great decor and an even better food menu, thanks to the Easy Tiger kitchen franchise. The team behind The Pond, one of our favourite restaurants, have teamed up with Chef Sabu Joseph to create an incredible Indian menu, which pairs perfectly with their excellent local beer selection. £20 natural wine on Sundays? Sign us up. 

The Joker
Photograph: The Joker

2. The Joker

Thanks to the growing student population in the area, Preston Circus has undergone something of a renaissance over the last couple of years, and the pubs have certainly benefited. Lost Boys Chicken are in charge of the kitchen at The Joker, and their Wing Wednesdays are one hell of a hit. This isn’t just a pub, though. Head upstairs to find the cocktail bar, games room and recently debuted roof terrace, for when the sun returns.


3. The Wick Inn

This pub is perched on the corner of Palmeira Square, a great watering hole repping the Hove half of the city. It’s one of the many pubs in town offering up some incredible Thai food, but the ambience and buzz of this place mean it’s a cut above the rest. The bar sits at the centre of the room, surrounded by a seemingly constant flow of customers perched on little tables under the windows, and the whole place is donned with fairy lights. We all love a beer garden, but The Wick Inn’s cosy interior means it truly shines in the winter months.

The French Horn
Photograph: The French Horn

4. The French Horn

This charming little pub, located next to the Seven Dials, is a great spot to see the proper local side of Brighton with a French twist. And no, that’s not just thanks to its name – this pub, along with its great wine list, is the place to be for cheese lovers. Enter raclette. Book a table in advance and specify your request to try out this traditional French dining experience, and let the grilling commence. Cheese-pull, who? The French Horn is all about the cheese-pour. 


5. The Great Eastern

This teeny tiny pub has a bit of a cult following, and is one of the last places open in the centre of town. You can find locals herded in the alleyway until the early hours, likely drinking craft beer or sampling one of the many whiskeys on offer – with no kitchen, this pub is all about the drinks. They love their music too, and The Great Eastern hosts record spinners on Friday and Saturday nights, but there’s blues, jazz, soul or rock ‘n’ roll humming every day of the week.

6. Earth & Stars

Want a cosy, rural pub without the muddy, rain-drenched slog to get there? The Earth & Stars is the place. This small boozer is one of the many pubs in the North Laine, but the wood, exposed brick and homely touches are definitely giving countryside. The kitchen tends to rustle up classy takes on classic pub dishes — the menu is small, but trust the process, as the chefs clearly know what they’re doing. The Earth and Stars roast is widely considered one of the best in the city, and they’ve got a great selection of drinks to accompany it, too.

The Brunswick
Photograph: The Brunswick

7. The Brunswick

Brighton loves a beer garden (I mean, where doesn’t?) but for a reliable local one where you can always get a seat, The Brunswick has got to be home to one of the best. But it’s not just the al fresco area that makes this place worthy of a spot on our list. Alongside being a champion of grassroots music and hosting regular live events, plus all the burgers and burritos being rustled up by the kitchen, The Brunswick has a fantastic collection of sour beers which are well worth sampling – think rhubarb and custard or berry flavoured bevs.

The Victory
Photograph: Denise Vella / The Victory

8. The Victory

This pub is one of the city’s most historic, but don’t let that old-fashioned charm fool you – it’s one of the liveliest, too. Slap-bang in the centre of the Lanes, The Victory sits between the town centre and the beach, between restaurants and bars, meaning all walks of life stroll through those doors on the weekends. Friday or Saturday nights tend to feature live music or a DJ set, but its also a cosy spot for a post-dinner tipple as well. The team here is the most welcoming in town, and it’s without a doubt the city’s most dog-friendly boozer, too.

The Geese
Photograph: The Geese

9. The Geese

One of the great pubs of Muesli Mountain (more commonly known as Hanover), The Geese is an all rounder for great food, drinks and atmosphere. Sure, you’ll have to climb a vertical hill to reach it, but we promise it’ll be worth the hike. It’s a popular neighbourhood spot among the local young families and students, thanks to the delicious pub grub and friendly service. So what’s on the menu? Well, opt for your choice of sausage, your choice of mash and your choice of gravy for the most custom, hearty dinner you’ll ever eat in your life.

10. The Mucky Duck

The Mucky Duck is just a great all-rounder of a pub. Beer and wine selection? It’s fab. Live activities? There’s something on every night. Roast dinners? One of Brighton’s finest. Atmosphere? Bountiful. You tend to feel crammed into whatever single table is leftover at this pub, but the bustle and buzz is all part of its charm. It’s another spot on this list which remains a well-kept locals secret, but the friendly staff and warm, cosy atmosphere ensure anyone and everyone is welcomed with open arms.

The Urchin
Photograph: Jo Hunt

11. The Urchin

If you’re after somewhere a bit more elevated with food that’s a bit fancier than (albeit, fabulous) fish and chips, the Urchin is one place that’s absolutely worth a visit. A chic contemporary interior or their heated terrace are where you can sit back to enjoy their truly fantastic seafood menu. Think oysters, atlantic prawns, lobster – and paella on Sundays, obviously. They’ve also got their own brewery in the basement – the pints don’t get more local than that.

The Independent Taproom & Bottle Shop
Photograph: The Independent

12. The Independent Taproom & Bottle Shop

This pub–turned-taproom is one of the trendiest and most exciting spots in town to sample some craft beers. The Independent certainly lives up to its name, as a champion of truly great independent breweries from across Europe and the world. But it’s also a super fun neighbourhood hotspot, with over 200 canned beers, 20 taps and an ever-expanding wine list. Head here to try something new and mingle with the locals.


13. Saint James Tavern

Have you really set foot in a Brighton pub if you haven’t sampled Tuaca? The answer is no, almost definitely not. Pronounced too-waka, this Italian brandy liqueur has become the city’s honorary spirit, and every local and bartender is simply itching to tell you the tale. The Saint James Tavern was the first pub in the city to import the stuff, and it’s also just one of the roster of brilliant St James’s street boozers. 

The Basketmakers Arms
Photograph: The Basketmakers Arms

14. The Basketmakers Arms

The Basketmakers Arms is a favourite of many Brightonians, and considering it’s nestled right in the beating heart of the city, it remains a neighbourly little boozer. This pub is one for the cask ale lovers out there, and they do some cracking fish and chips. The best things about this place though? It’s absolutely full of secrets. Grab a table in the corner and explore the contents of the vintage tins affixed to the walls – each one is full of confessions, messages and doodles scribbled down by previous drinkers, and some of it is just bonkers.


15. The Sir Charles Napier

Brighton is a hilly place, and Southover Street is one of the most torturous. However, if you’re brave enough to tackle the slope then you’ll be rewarded once you reach the top. The Sir Charles Napier blends in, but step inside and you’ll feel immediately at home. This tiny pub feels like an extension of the landlord’s living room, helped by the fact that their adorable pooch wanders around in the evenings. Grab and pint and flop into a comfy seat – you might not want to stand again for a couple of hours.

The Hole in the Wall
Photograph: The Hole in the Wall

16. The Hole in the Wall

Living up to its name, The Hole in The Wall is little more than just that. But don’t let its size fool you. While this place is so tiny that there’s literally no room for fuss or frills, it does everything a pub should. There’s an excellent beer selection, including a cask collection that’ll excite any ale-drinker, plus a team who really know their stuff.


17. The Quadrant

North Street is hardly Brighton’s pride and joy, but if you need a mid-shop pitstop and a break from the crowds, step inside this little treasure. The Quadrant is perched overlooking one of the busiest spots of the city, you’d never know that once you’ve ventured inside. With the seating and the bar spread across two levels, the compact pub is a town-centre oasis that feels like you’ve journeyed back in time. They’ve got an events space upstairs, too, so why not check out the quirky events on the programme.

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