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Phil Mellows is a freelance journalist living in Brighton



 Pub Guide




This page lists the pubs I like. It begins in the vicinity of Brighton station and extends outwards from there in kind of widening gyre. The common denominator is that they can be relied upon to serve good beer. So far I've only done Brighton and (bits of) Sussex.

As itís not possible for me to be in every pub all the time (although itís an intriguing thought) Iíd be grateful for your corrections and updates.

Last updated August 2019


Around the station

Evening Star, Surrey Street
Original home of Dark Star Brewing and still serving the Sussex brewer's ales alongside a carefully curated selection of beers on cask and keg from some of the country's most interesting producers. Plus international brews in bottle. No food. Who needs food.

The Evening Star

Grand Central, Surrey Street . Web site
The closest pub to Brighton Station is now part of the Fuller's estate, but guest beers from local brewers are available. The best bit is the splendid gin bar and theatre upstairs, and the roof terrace has been done up, too.  

Battle of Trafalgar, Guildford Road
Unpretentious freehouse with a garden.

Idle Hands, Queens Road
Formerly the Royal Standard, now transformed into an all-keg craft beer bar with a relaxed speakeasy feel about it. Love it. Gourmet sandwiches served.  

Idle Hands

Prince Albert, Trafalgar Street
Slightly crusty pub that's enthusiastically embraced the new mood around beer and positioned itself as almost a tap room for Burning Sky, one of the country's most exciting breweries. Multi-roomed with a music venue upstairs and a huge mural on the gable-end telling the story of pop - plus Banksy's famous kissing coppers.

Prince Albert

Centre/The Lanes

William IV, Church Street
This long-neglected, long-avoided, prominently positioned house reopened in July 2017 under the care of Indigo and is now a lively, buzzing establishment featuring craft beers, including Tiny Rebel Club Tropicana on tap. Never noticed before how nice a building it is.

Seven Stars, Ship Street
Indigo has transformed this former Young's house into a craft beer pub in the industrial chic style. Not a huge range, two or three local ales on handpump, Camden and Beaverton on keg. Gins also featured. Food is provided by the Little Blue Smokehouse.

Pump House, Market Street
One of Brighton's oldest pubs, the Pump House is now in the care of M&B's Nicholson's Inns chain which has installed an interesting, and constantly changing, selection of cask beers, mostly from micros.

The Walrus
Labyrinthine pub over four floors including a downstairs club and a two-storey roof terrace. Local ales, pricey food. Part of City Pub Company. Careful, you could get lost in here.

The Quadrant, Queens Road
Opposite the Clock Tower, a good place to meet Ė and wait for a bus. Upstairs room doubles as a venue for comedy and such.

The Quadrant

The Tempest, Kings Road Arches
Not sure about the papier-mache pink cave effect, but there's no doubt this expansive venue is a welcome boon for pub-goers wondering why they can't get a decent pint on the seafront. Cask ales from the North Laine Brewhouse feature, and the food's good, too.

Market Inn, The Lanes
Good, friendly service marks this pub out. They even took the sink apart to find my mumís earring.

The Cricketers, Black Lion Street
Splendid Victorian establishment thatís buzzing at weekends, although the posh upstairs bar is quieter. Flagship of legendary operator Dave Day.

The Victory, Duke Street
Classic green-tiled pub which keeps a decent pint. Interesting veggie/vegan options on the menu. Upstairs room. Part of the Laine Pub Co.

The Cricketers

Western Road/Brunswick

Prince of Wales, Churchill Square
Tiny pub serving an excellent pint of Sheps.

Pull & Pump, Clarence Square
Handy for the shops. A Pleisure pub specialising in tequilas.

Lion & Lobster, Sillwood Street
Since Gary Whelan out of Ballykissangel took over here it's developed into one of the best pubs in Brighton, as you can tell by the crush at the bar. Find yourself a nook or cranny in the maze of rooms, which include a split-level roof terrace, and enjoy local ales, excellent food and Sky Sports - even outdoor. City Pub Company, the latest venture of Firkin entrepreneur David Bruce  took over this pub in the spring of 2014, to no obvious effect. 

Lion & Lobster

Robin Hood, Norfolk Place
Owned by Martin Webb out of TV reality show Risking it All this is a Peopleís Pub which means all profits go to charity. So you canít ask for a top-up. Itís a good pub, though, with a nice range of pizzas. Recently refurbished with a warmer feel.

The Southern Belle, Waterloo Street
Nice pub-hotel near the sea on the Brighton and Hove border - used to be the Iron Duke. Award-winning Sunday roasts and a 40-seat theatre out the back. More importantly barstaff spotted my ale wasn't right before it got to me. Top marks.

Craft Beer Co, Upper North Street. Web site
Coastal outpost of one of the country's craft beer bar pioneers. Expect the usual great range of brews, gourmet burger menu and knowledgeable service. The pleasant upstairs rooms are available for hire.

Craft Beer Co.

The Windmill, Upper North Street
Bustling pub, good place to eat, serving into the evening.

Beer Dispensary, Dean Street
Now owned by south London's Southey Brewing Co, the Dispensary remains one of the best places to drink in Brighton with Southey's own ales complemented by beers on cask and keg from the country's most highly regarded brewers - and cider makers. Frequent tap takeovers.


North Laine

Bison Beer Crafthouse, North Road
Finally this hard-to-run site is making a go of it in the hands of the boys from the Bison Beer bottle shop. Over three floors connected by a giddying spiral staircase, cutting edge craft beers are on offer, plus food from, it says here, a "modern campfire kitchen". Don't know about that but it tastes nice, anyway.

The North Laine Brewhouse, Gloucester Place
Housed in the cavernous former Gloucester nightclub, this one really adds something to the Brighton pub scene. There's a shiny microbrewery behind the bar producing a range of beers plus good food, loads of big tables to sit at and the kind of harsh acoustics the young folk don't seem to mind.

The North Laine. 

The Pond, Gloucester Road
Young hipster-types took over this small freehouse next to the sorting office in the spring of 2017 and turned it into a craft beer pub serving some very interesting, hard-to-get keg beers plus a couple of locally-brewed cask ales. A Chinese street food menu adds another point of difference while the former Thai restaurant upstairs has been converted into a cosy hideaway.  

The Pond

The Lord Nelson, Trafalgar Street
The Nelson has been knocked through two next-door properties and has doubled in size after being taken into management by Harvey's. It's all been well done, and there's the full range of Harvey's ales on the pumps, but you can't help feeling Brighton has gained a good pub and lost a great one.

The Prince George, Trafalgar Street . Web site
Brighton's famous all-vegetarian pub has been pulled out of decline by Indigo and now serves local beers alongside an imaginative meat-free menu.

Great Eastern, Trafalgar Street
Part of the local Pleisure chain. Reliable, always busy, interesting beers, good service, live music and comedy.

Basketmakers, Gloucester Road
One of Brightonís most popular pubs. Fullerís (ex Gales) tenancy. Good food, relaxed atmosphere.


Waggon & Horses, Church Street
Well run freehouse thatís taken full advantage of pedestrianisation. Interesting whisky list.

Waggon and Horses

Heart in Hand, North Road
Brilliant old fashioned jukebox that pulls in the Mods on their Brighton jaunts. For some inexplicable reason they've swapped this brilliant pub sign for something more conventional, but I'm keeping this one. It's history, you know.

Heart and Hand

Seven Dials/Preston Circus

The Joker, Preston Road
Brakspear is finally making a success of this prime site on Preston Circus, right opposite the Duke of Yorks cinema. There's a selection of craft beers to wash down a menu of mostly different kinds of chicken wings from the Orange Buffalo, and live music has returned to the venue upstairs. A private booth for hire in the style of an old train compartment adds a quirky touch. 

Hare & Hounds, London Road
This dodgy old dive on Preston Circus has been totally reinvented by Indigo which has installed its signature island bar with a good selection of cask and craft beers. La Choza, one of Brighton's most popular eateries, provides Mexican street food from a kitchen in the corner. Very much a young person's venue in the evenings. Not the place for a quiet pint.

The Cow, Dyke Road
The Indigo boys have converted the old Tin Drum into a not-too-crafty craft beer house with an American saloon kind of feel to it. Without the fighting. Superior pub grub and bar snacks provide the solids.

Good Companions, Dyke Road . Web site
A revelation. Local operator Indigo has transformed a large, dodgy boozer into a splendid, if slightly pricey, place to eat and drink.

Open House, Springfield Road
Laine Pub Company headquarters next door to London Road station. Interesting spaces, expansive garden and very nice food.

The Signalman, Ditchling Rise
Formerly the Railway Tavern this is now The Signalman, and part of the Inn Brighton chain. Fine range of local ales and ciders, quality food and a sheltered garden. Classy.


The Geese Have Gone Over The Water, Southover Street
The Geese has been reopened by the people from the Shakespeare's Head, and they've brought their menu with them - up to 1,000 permutations of different sausages (including veggie and gluten-free), mash and gravy, washed down with well-kept ales. Very tasty, and good value, too.

Constant Service, Islingword Street
Ever-smiling barstaff at this Harvey's tied house provide perhaps the best service around while 'Big Tom' the chef makes a mean pie. Sky Sports, a record deck spinning vinyl classics and occasional live music. 

Constant Service

The Free Haus, Howard Road
Formerly The Reservoir, this split-level back street boozer is now in the hands of Brighton Bier which alongside its own brews and guests, on cask and keg, dispenses fine ciders from drawers behind the bar. Downstairs a games room, featuring a home-made toad-in-the-hole rink, opens out onto a sheltered garden. A modern gem.

The Haus on the Hill, Southover Street
Formerly the Southover, and before that The Pub With No Name, this is now Brighton Bier's second tied house. The brewer's own cask and keg beers have pride of place, as you'd expect, plus interesting guests. It's more than just a beer house, though, attracting customers from across the Hanover community.

Village, Islingword Street
Formerly the Horse & Groom heavy metal venue (the old name is still up in the tiles), the people behind Brighton's famous Blue Man restaurant has rescued the pub from being turned into flats and installed a quirky all-day cafe-bar that's especially busy at brunchtimes and evenings when there's live music on. Usually has a cask beer, served straight from the barrel. Worth supporting.


The Greys, Southover Street
After a thrilling campaign just fell short of buying this famous pub for the local community, a family operation from Northampton, of all places, stepped in to rescue it. A sound beer range has been introduced, live music - including artists from the States - continues and the Sunday roast is as good as ever.

The Greys

The Charles Napier, Southover Street
Unspoilt Fuller's tenancy that's clearly back in favour with the locals. Sport in the front bar, Thai food served in the back bar. Guest ale (usually). Beer garden. Morris dancing.  

The Independent, Queens Park Road
As the new name for the Walmer Castle suggests, this pub at the top of Albion Hill has wriggled free of the Hall & Woodhouse tie and embraced the craft beer revolution - alongside a quality food menu. Local ales on cask are a bit hit-and-miss, to be honest, but there are plenty of interesting brews on keg. 

The Level/Ditchling Road

Jolly Brewer , Ditchling Road
Keep walking north up Ditchling Road and at the top of the hill, past the school on your right you'll come to the Jolly Brewer, a once-neglected Tamplins Ale House that's now a much-appreciated local with good beer, live music, quizzes and simply nice places to sit.

Jolly Brewer

The Admiral, Elm Grove
At the bottom of Elm Grove, the Admiral used to be a student hangout called the Cornerstone. Now it's been very tastefully reinvented as a traditional pub with interesting bric-a-brac, local ales (featuring Downlands Brewery), live music and a burger, wrap and nacho menu.

Queens Park/Racecourse

The Hanover, Queens Park Road
Sprawling local a few furlongs from the racecourse with cheap pints of Sussex-brewed ales and good pizzas. 

Round Georges, Sutherland Road
Pleasant pub with cheerful, helpful staff and a fine Sunday lunch. One of the few pubs round here to serve lunches midweek too, and it's great food at reasonable prices. Plus satellite footy.

Kemp Town

The Black Dove, St James's Street. Web site
The draught range is, frankly, disappointing, but the bottled list is good and reasonably priced. Most importantly you can drink amid a surreal Victorian-Americana decor in the kind of fizzing atmosphere you get from a team of enthusiastic cocktail bartenders. Oh, and don't forget to check out the kotch.

St James Tavern, St James Street
A Pleisure pub specialising in the unusual combination of rum and Thai food. Donít sit in the bay window at the back because thatís where Viv sits.

St George's Inn, Upper Sudeley Street
Hidden in the backstreets a gall stone's throw from the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the former Sudeley Tavern welcomes health workers and Defend the NHS campaigners, refreshing them with remarkably well-kept ales, typically Tim Taylor's Landlord, Adnams' Ghost Ship and Franklin's English Garden. Comfortably the best community local in the area.

St George Inn

Sidewinder, Upper St James Street
A young personís place but thereís usually a handpump working and thereís a lively evening atmosphere and two big beer gardens.

The Crown, Grafton Street
You could almost miss this unassuming local in a side street off St James. Taken over by newcomers to the trade, they've done a lovely tasteful traditional refurb and are working hard on the beers. Comfy.

The Crown

Hand in Hand, Upper St James's Street
Now home to the Hand Brew Co, this tiny but great pub is getting back to its best. Don't let the Edwardian pornography on the ceiling distract you from your beer.

Hand in Hand

Brighton Bierhaus, Edward Street . Web site
Formerly the Jury's Out, right opposite the law courts, the Bierhaus is the home of Brighton Bier. As well as its own brews, other cutting edge brewers from around the country are represented on the handpumps while the beer wall behind offers an extensive range of beers from around the world. Gourmet sausage rolls provide the solids. Hugely popular venue from day one, though some curtains would soften the acoustics.



The Better Half, Hove Place
Comfortable, well-run, out-of-the-way local with local ales on the pumps and superior food.

The Foghorn, Boundary Road
Relatively expansive micropub housed in a former bank.

Farm Tavern, Farm Road
Friendly little Greene King tenancy off the main drag. Upstairs function room.

Bison Beer Craft House, Church Road
Bison's outpost west of Palmeira Square is a hybrid bar and bottleshop. Sit down and sample some beers before you raid the fridges all down one wall, order some excellent charcuterie and call it lunch.

George Payne, Payne Road
Deserved winner of Best Turnaround Pub in the 2013 Great British Pub of the Year Awards, proving you can still make a success of a back street local. Has a huge buzz about it.

The Watchmaker's Arms, Goldstone Villas - Web site
Brighton & Hove's first micropub, and one of the larger of the new species. Run by a bunch of teachers after class, it serves a good range of well-kept local ales, including one or more from the pub's own brewery out the back, plus gourmet bar snacks. 

The Watchmakers

The Ancient Mariner, Rutland Road.  Web site
Becalmed in the backstreets of Aldrington, west of Hove? In need of a pint? Here's your man. A bright and breezy local from InnBrighton featuring Sussex ales and all-day food.

Sussex Cricketer, Eaton Road
Part of M&Bís Ember Inns chain so the dťcor is a bit Ikea but the ale is cheap and good and varied. Hove cricket ground is out the back and itís a handy place to nip into during lunch. Large sunny garden.

The Neptune, Kingsway
Best known for the Friday night live blues, and the beerís good too. Can be a bit of squeeze getting to the bar though.

The Neptune

Stanley Arms, Wolseley Road
This is what pubs used to be like - except the beer's better, a fine choice of mainly local ales that, one Monday a month, you can sample straight from the casks down in the cellar. Friendly banter abounds. Precious.  

Railway Inn, Boundary Road
Bang opposite Portslade Station by the level crossing, this used to be a dire pub called the Whistlestop, but now those talented people at the George Payne have taken it on, installing a good range of ales and a sound food menu, it's well worth stopping off at.  

East Sussex

The Queen Victoria, Rottingdean
This one's crept up to become arguably the best pub in this pretty seaside village. Well-kept beer, good food and a choice of 30 gins. As it says, 'A Proper Pub'.

The Bull, Ditchling. Web site
In the village where Dame Vera Lynn, gawblesser, resides, the Bull won the Great British Pub of the Year title in 2016. As well as offering fine food and letting rooms, it's also serves as the Bedlam Brewery's tap, being owned by the same chap. 

Half Moon, Plumpton Green
Great food pub, especially for fish. And they take their beer seriously, too.

Abergavenny Arms, Rodmell
Nowhere near Abergavenny. Nowhere near anywhere, really, but worth the trip out for some well-kept ales, good food and excellent service.

The Juggs, Kingston by Lewes
Extensive gardens picturesque setting at the foot of the Downs makes this Sheps managed house a summer destination.

Griffin Inn, Fletching
Top food freehouse (nearly a restaurant but not quite) with a rambling garden sometimes featuring a jazz band.

Tiger Inn, East Dene
Beachy Head Brewery now operates this village inn, in a great spot for a trip out.


Rights of Man, High Street
Formerly the Rainbow, local brewer Harvey's has taken over and done a remarkable job on an awkward site, creating two comfortable bars and a roof terrace.

Pelham Arms, High Street
Spacious Hall & Woodhouse hostelry with a nice garden.

Brewers Arms, High Street
Freehouse right next door to Tom Paineís house. Expect the old boy was always in and out of here.

Lewes Arms, Mount Place
One of the worldís great pubs. Since the Battle of Lewes Arms when regulars boycotted it because Greene King had taken out the Harveys, Fullerís has taken it over, Harveys is back on and the bloke whoís got the Basketmakers in Brighton is tenant. Donít forget the upstairs room.

John Harvey Tavern, Cliffe High Street
The Harveyís brewery tap does good, interesting food, as well as the full Harveys range shipped in from just across the road.

Gardenerís Arms, Cliffe High Street
Freehouse with a variety of well-kept cask beers always on offer. The place to get the local goss.

Gardener's Arms

The Snowdrop, South Street
Named after the 1836 Lewes Avalanche, the Snowdrop is a gem of a freehouse in the town's Cliffe district prettily decked out barge-style with great food, a good selection of cask and bottled beers and regular live jazz and folk. Nice garden in the lee of the inland cliff from whence the snow fell.

Music in the Snowdrop

West Sussex

Crown & Anchor, Dell Quay
Splendid Young's house overlooking the old Roman harbour, a placid, peaceful getaway with top quality beer and food.  

Crown & Anchor

Buckingham Arms, Shoreham
Just opposite the station beside the level crossing, a highly convenient spot for a good pub serving a range of ales.

Old Star, Shoreham
One of them there micropubs, close to the harbour and serving three to five local ales, straight from the stillage. Free cheese and biscuits, too, if you catch it right.

Duke of Wellington, Shoreham
This Dark Star house has been bought by the brewery's founder, the legendary Rob Jones. As well as Dark Star beers there's always interesting alternatives from other brewers, on keg as well as cask. Plenty going on, too, including frequent live music, and Rob is planning a brewhouse on site. Exciting times.

Shepherd & Dog, Fulking
Ancient pub at the foot of the Downs with a pretty beer garden and lots of old beams.

Maypole Inn, Yapton
Friendly village pub with a good range of ales.

Angelsey Arms, Halnaker
While itís the restaurant quality food that keeps this pubís tills full its appeal for the pub-goer is the warm buzz and well-kept ales in the public bar. The large garden has a country house feel to it.

Gribble Inn, Oving
Brewpub that gave birth to Hall & Woodhouseís Fursty Ferrett.

The Beer Engine, Southwick Square
Not a micropub, according to the host, and, indeed, it's got a telly, a gin menu and regular live music. Good beer, too. Warning: it can get lively.

Fox Goes Free, Charlton
Classic country pub with a big sunny garden. When the sunís out, obviously.

The Ship Inn, Southwick Street, Southwick
A short stumble from Southwick train station, the Ship is an unspoilt local boozer with good beer and a food menu. 

The Ship Inn


Brooksteed Alehouse, South Farm Road . Web site
This excellent, rather upmarket, micropub behind Worthing Station specialises in beer, cheese and the warm buzz of relaxed conversation.

The Selden Arms, Lyndhurst Road
Next door to Worthing Hospital, the Selden is a splendid local that takes its beer seriously. There's usually a few local ales on the pumps, including something from Dark Star, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Anchored in Worthing, West Buildings
Opening last year in a disused shop close to the seafront, Anchored (geddit) is one of the new wave of micropubs. Drinks choice is limited to three cask beers, a cider and a couple of Sussex-made wines. Closing time is 8pm Monday to Saturday and 3pm on Sunday, but while it's open the atmosphere is extraordinarily convivial, helped along by Nigel, your whiskered host, who'll serve you at your table, there not being any bar


The Fountain, Southgate
Reliable watering hole just up from the station. Hall & Woodhouse ales. Live music

Eastgate, the Hornet
Friendly local just outside the town centre. Fullerís ales.

Park Tavern, Priory Road
Former Gales house, Now Fullerís.



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