The Best Cocktail Bars In Brighton



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Whether it’s because there’s something in the water, in the fresh sea air, or simply in the DNA of the city, vibrant cocktails full of fun and frivolity just feel so in step with Brighton’s unique and hedonistic soul.

It should come as no surprise, then, that there are plenty of fantastic places to grab a cocktail in this so-called London-On-Sea, whether you’re looking for something seasonal and sustainable, avant-garde and conceptual, or traditional and perfectly, precisely mixed. 

Or, a mixture of all three, of course…

With all that in mind and in pursuit of the very best, we’ve drunk our way around the city (it’s a hard life), to bring you these; the best cocktail bars in Brighton.

Gung Ho

Ideal for seasonal & experimental cocktails under neon lights 

Setting ourselves up for a great weekend in town, we start our bar crawl of the best cocktails in Brighton (drinking responsibly with every step, we should add) at Gung Ho, housed on the city’s boisterous Preston Street.

Affectionately dubbed ‘Restaurant Street’ by residents, and on a strip that boasts our favourite pizzeria in Brighton, as well as another addition to this list (Tlaloc) and the acclaimed izakaya joint Bincho Yakitori, Gung Ho still manages to stand out as a wildly inventive, hugely amiable place to enjoy a cocktail or two.

This is largely down to the bar’s proposition. Here, sustainability and seasonality is at the heart of everything the mixologists do, whether you’re choosing from the ‘Revised Disco Drinks’, ‘Seasonal Cocktails’, or ‘Apothecary’ section of the menu. 

The latter, incidentally, is a crisp selection of <1% ABV creations that aims to exploit the nootropic effects of various organic, natural ingredients. Expect to see lion’s mane, ginger, passiflora and more on the menu, alongside Everleaf’s premium, botanical, non-alcoholic spirits. So thoughtful, and so delicious, we’d add.

That said, when we’re taking a stool in Gung Ho’s compact street level space, we can’t resist something a little stronger. Our go-to order is the signature Basil Grande, featuring the French herbal liqueur Chartreuse in foam form, alongside black pepper, two types of Amaro, and the cocktail bar’s ‘hacked lime juice’; basically, locally foraged sea buckthorn, in the name of reducing air miles and imports. 

We just love the ethos and the inventiveness here; no wonder Gung Ho recently placed 33rd on the annual Top 50 Cocktail Bars in the UK list, Brighton’s highest entry.

Address: 36 Preston St, Brighton BN1 2HP


Image Via Gung Ho Facebook

Plotting Parlour 

Ideal for a salubrious and sophisticated cocktail evening 

We’re heading east next, to the peripheries of hip, happening Kemptown and to The Plotting Parlour, another of Brighton’s very best cocktail bars. 

Just a pebble’s throw away from Brighton Pier, if you’re keen to beat a hasty retreat from the beachfront in search of something all the more salubrious, then this sophisticated cocktail bar may well be just the ticket.

A warm welcome awaits (though booking in advance is highly recommended) in this lowlit and leisurely bar, with the suave table service adding to the impression that you’re somewhere very exclusive indeed. The premium prices reflect this, making the Plotting Parlour ideally suited for an evening spent slowly sipping rather than merrily chugging.

You’ll certainly want to savour the cocktails here, which, whilst perhaps not as quirky as Gung Ho’s, are delivered with precision and a fair amount of signature aplomb, with Mexican and South American ingredients and inflections introducing something of a narrative to the menu.

As certified suckers for anything containing good quality mezcal, we can’t resist the agrestal-tasting Pollen cocktail here, replete with the aforementioned Mexican spirit, alongside wild honey, bee pollen and lavender, which is as alluring as it sounds.

Surviving all of Plotting Parlour’s seasonal menu changes, you may also like the Tumi, their longest serving signature cocktail. Made with mezcal, pisco, orgeat, bitters and a chocolate ganache rim, it’s a firm favourite among regulars.

If you’re up for something a little more assertive, the Ginger and Chilli Margarita from the Parlour’s ‘Classic’ section of the menu is as puckering and poised as you like. Though, after a couple, you certainly won’t be…

Address: 6 Steine St, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1TE



Ideal for the best margaritas in town 

Staying in the Navel of the Moon for a sharpener, we’re heading back to Preston Street (yep, we realise we could have planned the route of this bar crawl better, but the walk helps us sober up!), to arguably the best Mexican restaurant in Brighton, Tlaloc. 

Though this is a fully-fledged restaurant, you can slip in for a quick drink at the high tables and stools close to the open kitchen, and we’d highly recommend doing that, if only to try Tlaloc’s already iconic hibiscus margarita; a thing of true beauty and one of the finest drinks in the whole city.  

Should you be feeling peckish, order a plate of oysters, dressed in pickled cucumber, with a few companion shots of spicy mezcal. The perfect pairing, indeed.

Address: 135 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2HX


Golden Pineapple  

Ideal for a wide ranging yet thoughtful cocktail menu in an intimate setting

Next, we’re heading eastwards again, to Brighton’s famous lanes, where the tropical theme continues at Golden Pineapple. 

Here, half the space is reserved for walk-ins; if you struggled to get a table at the Plotting Parlour or the tiny Gung Ho is full to bursting, this fantastic cocktail bar is more than simply a worthwhile substitute.

Once again, mezcal and tequila (we see a theme developing here) are a major focus of the menu, with the Golden Pineapple boasting 70 different bottles of the good stuff – the biggest selection of agave spirits in the city. 

If you book ahead, you can even enjoy the bar’s bespoke Agave menu… Don’t have anything planned for afterwards is all we’re saying!

If drinks made from the delicious blue succulent aren’t your thing, fear not; Golden Pineapple offers plenty of creative cocktails harnessing the power of other spirits. We particularly love their Summer Days cocktail, featuring Japanese whiskey, lemongrass, quince and soda, which is so refreshing after a long day spent on the pebbles!

Address: 14 Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AD


L’Atelier Du Vin Seven Dials

Ideal for a speakeasy vibe 

A different proposition awaits over at L’Atelier Du Vin in Seven Dials (their second outpost, following one in the North Laines), which models itself on a prohibition bar, with all the dim lights, meandering jazz, and artificially smoky atmosphere that suggests.

That’s not to say that the speakeasy vibe here feels insincere or affected. Instead, the atmosphere is louche yet sophisticated, with the bar’s enormous collection of wines and spirits (800 wines, 350 spirits and 200 champagnes at last count) doing all the talking, making L’Atelier a very serious proposition indeed.

Due to the Francophile leanings of the place, the wines are most heavily stacked in the Burgundy region’s favour, with cocktails from France and Italy taking precedence over the more creative concoctions found at some of the other entries on our list.

There’s also excellent cheese and charcuterie to be grazed on here, making a visit to L’Atelier Du Vin an arguably more grown-up evening, but no less fun for it.

Address: 87 Dyke Rd, Brighton BN1 3JE


Cut Your Wolf Loose

Ideal for trying all the whiskys 

Pulling the drinks choices into even sharper focus, if whisky’s your thing then there really is only one bar in the city you should head, and that’s to Cut Your Wolf Loose on Trafalgar Street, a short stroll (or, rather, stumble) from Brighton Station.

Here, a 250 year-old shop has been transformed into something of a pilgrimage for whisky aficionados, with premium, single-cask bottles lining every available wall of this tightly knotted space, and the knowledgeable owner on hand to take palate preferences and offer drams, bottles, and even vials, for you to sample.

Having opened in the midst of COVID, the bar is now firmly finding its feet, and is a wonderfully informative, festive place to spend a couple of hours or more. 

Address: 23 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4EQ


Burnt Orange 

Ideal for dining and imbibing 

We end our list with a duo of restaurants that more than deserve mention for their fantastic cocktails, the first of which is Burnt Orange.

Open from midday until late every day, the restaurant pitches itself as a ‘’a new grownup hangout for Brighton’’, with people encouraged to drop in as much for a cocktail and a snack throughout the day, or a digestif and a sweet treat late in the evening, as they are a full blown meal. It’s that kinda place, with the drinks a real highlight. 

Order a Pandora’s Box (featuring mezcal, chilli agave, and cranberry) or two, a little wood-fired flatbread and broad bean hummus, and settle in!

Address: 59 Middle St, Brighton BN1 1AL


Read: The best restaurants in The Lanes, Brighton

Fourth & Church 

Ideal for the best martini in town 

Fire up the Uber for this one, because we’re heading to Hove to end our cocktail crawl of the city, and to Fourth and Church, a relatively new addition to the Brighton restaurant scene, and one that shakes – or stirs, whatever your preference – a mean martini, make no mistake.

We can see that you’re thirsty, so rather than keep you here, we’ll redirect you to our always humble opinions on the best restaurants in Hove. We’ll see you on Church Road for a martini? 

Address: 84 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2EB


Where Else To Find Great Cocktails In Brighton

Twisted Lemon – The ideal multi-award-winning cocktail bar

The Joker – The ideal neighbourhood cocktail pub 

Dharma Coffee:  Ideal for your espresso martini fix 

Skylark Cocktail Bar – Ideal for cocktails by the sea 

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