Brighton Pub and Food guide for Dark and Stormy!

One of the big ideas – what? we had ideas?! – behind Dark & Stormy was that we wanted people to come and spend a cracking weekend in what we think is a cracking, crackers and even occasionally cosmopolitan seaside town.

Yes, of course we want you to enjoy our wonderful line up of book, film, music and theatrical events, which we’re running with Brighton Festival, Fringe and Picturehouse Cinemas, but we want you to get out there and explore the marvels of Brighton (& even Hove) in between.

And so here, without further a do, for everyone planning on joining us here in Brighton for our Dark & Stormy launch weekend (23rd-25th May), we’ve put together a quick guide of pubs, caffs, and restaurants that you really should take time to visit, sample and lounge about in to your hearts’ content.

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PUBS – Brighton boasts a ridiculous amount of boozers for such a small city, so many, in fact, that the only person who ever tried visiting them all went mad and has never been heard of again. Here are some of our favourites, which are well worth a look.

The Speigeltent. The spiritual home, many might argue, of the rapidly growing Brighton Fringe Festival. It’s a gorgeous place to hang out with its own bar, and it will of course be hosting some of our intoxicatingly brilliant events, including ‘A Myriad of Crime Writers’ on Friday 23rd at 6pm and Sophie Hannah and that Julia Crouch talking ‘Sex, Lies & the Internet’ on Saturday 24th at 6pm.

The Lion & Lobster, which just sold for a staggering £4.5 million, and for good reason too. A veritable rabbit warren of nooks and crannies, it’s got an astonishing selection of beers (including several from the Dark Star Brewing Co., who’ve been awesome enough to sponsor us this year), a varied menu of brilliant food, and has a large, secluded roof terrace for all you sun worshippers out there.

Kraken & Logo high res (1)

The St James. A Kempe Town must. Lots of beer, music and good times. Also a ridiculous number of rums (of which the best, one could argue, is our sponsor The Kraken Rum) are available here and there’s a even a rum sampler for those of you seeking an education in this darkest of the drinking arts.

BARS/COCKTAILS. Again, an astonishing array on offer. Here are some of the best.

Twisted Lemon. Tucked down an alleyway (41 Middle Street) in the heart of the Lanes, so tiny you feel you have to draw breath, this is a cracking institution, serving up a splendid mix of traditional and innovative drinks.

Valentinos. Next to Fat Boy Slim’s sushi bar and up above the Theatre Royal, this not only serves good cocktails, but has balconies where you can chill out and enjoy a view of the Brighton Pavilion and the Dome, where so many of our Dark & Stormy events will be taking place.

Koba. Straddling the divide between Brighton and Hove on Western Road like a hip gunslinger, this place is classy and chilled, with a café and bar downstairs and a cocktail bar up top. Nice tunes too at the weekend.

RESTAURANTS. So many, so little space. We’ve gone for a few that we truly love.

Moshimo. Known for handmade sushi, authentic hot Japanese dishes, and sustainable fish, for which they’ve won a brace of prestigious national and international awards.

Sabai Thai. Down by the Dome itself. A brilliant husband-and-wife/UK-Thai team run this authentic Thai slice of heaven. Make sure to try a Mekhong Mojito and there’s even a waterfall and a chilled area at the back where you can eat on floor mats with your shoes off – so make sure to wear matching socks.

Curry Leaf Café. A new kid on the block (or in the Lanes, anyway), taking on the excellent Indian Summer and Real Chilli Pickle. Curry Leaf Cafe serves up South Indian street life, washed down with a range of affordable craft beers and wines

The Coal Shed  is a gourmet steak and seafood restaurant in the heart of Brighton. Named as one of the best restaurants in the UK by the prestigious Observer Food Monthly awards, it has also been recommended by The Telegraph and The Guardian, amongst others.

Terre a Terre. Brighton’s iconic and acclaimed restaurant where vegetarianism is more about indulgence than abstinence. Situated in the historic lanes, just a stone’s throw from Brighton Beach


Lucky Beach (see what they did there?) on Brighton Seafront. Loads of outdoor seats and has won various national awards for its burgers. There’s even one called the David Van Day (named after the ex-lead singer of 80s band Dollar!): ‘blue cheese wodge, double aged beef patty, LB homemade mayo, onions, veg Dijon and ketchup’. Get in!

van Day

Billie’s. A Brighton institution, serving up incredible fry ups, pancakes and hashes, our favourite being the might Beano: two grilled sausages & baked beans on a bed of homemade hash browns topped with grilled cheese. Get there early (by 10), or you might have to queue.


Clearly a huge debate in any seaside town is what’s the best food to eat ‘on the hoof’, as one’s grandmother might have said, not meaning that it’s horse meat, but rather that you can eat it as you’re moving from one venue to another.

The Regency. Probably the most well known old school fish and chip restaurant in town, opposite the knackered old West Pier. Worth taking a photo of (the building and the food).

The best fish & chips award (IOHP) goes to Bankers on Western Road. Unbelieeeevably tasty and good value too.

The Bucket. Again by the West Pier, near the kids’ playground. Probably the best caff on the beach. Top chips and other food, great service, value and good beers. A brilliant place to sit outside and catch some rays.

We’ll be adding to this list and would welcome suggestions from anyone who either lives here, or has been down to Dark & Stormy and has discovered something edible or guzzlable (?!) they’d like to share.

And so all that’s left to say is Eat, Drink, be Merry  – and Dark & Stormy, of course…


PUBS – the St James








About Emlyn Rees

Copywriter, crime writer, comedy writer and editor. We're Going on a Bar Hunt, The Very Hungover Caterpillar, The Teenager Who Came to Tea, The Fight Before Christmas, Come Together, Shabby, Hunted, Wanted, Switch It Off! and Shabby - A Very British Lifestyle, out now.
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