Summer is here and that means two things. First: stag and hen dos are everywhere, and the sight of a naked man tied to a lamppost on West Street evokes neither surprise nor concern.
Second: after work drinks are back in vogue. Someone only needs to send round the phrase “Drinks…somewhere outdoorsy?” to send the company Slack into meltdown, and make the thought of spending an evening with Susan from HR 790% more appealing.
To help you with your next after work alfresco drinks sitch, here’s the 9 best spots in the city.
The Lion and Lobster gets extra points for so many reasons that it’s practically unfair: the terrace has two floors; it’s got heaters for when the temperature drops; it’s got a little hatch you can order your drinks from; it’s got TVs so perfect for when Wimbledon is on. That’s four. Anything else? it’s open until late every night (not good for the next day at work). Oh, and Bankers is up the road for chips on your way home to a tipsy “I weally, weally love you” sesh with your other half. LiLo RULES.
Pubs opposite train stations are not best known for their idyllic rooftop drinking locales. And, in fairness, from the outside Grand Central probably isn’t the best looker on the block. But walk upstairs you’ve got a regular little sun hoover with neat luminescent chairs and, barring the odd siren from the road down below, you’d barely know you were in the busiest spot in town.
Let’s be honest for a second: the place you, we and your dog have drank most on the seafront is the Fortune Of War. But in summer it can be riotously busy and, if you want to go and drink very nice cocktails or crisp Estrella Damn, then Lucky Beach is the one.
If this list were ranked - which it’s not - and if the pubs listed therein were chosen purely on the panoramic nature of its view - which they’re not - then Setting Sun would probably be the top dog. Situated away from the rabble in Hanover and perched on the lisp of a hill on Windmill Street, it’s the ultimate spot to watch the tired sun fall into a pink sea.
In reality, the outdoor area of Bottom’s Rest is a few benches but it deserves its place by virtue of the fact that it’s never very busy. Keeping a secret in Brighton is like trying to keep an octopus in a paper bag, but Bottom’s Rest genuinely feel like one of the few places flying under the radar. 2-4-1 burgers on a Tuesday too.
Tricky one, The Brunswick. It’s got a huge outdoor space that could, should, be the best beer garden in town, yet for most people it flatters to deceive with a reputation for being a bit gnarly. In reality, this is unjustified and you’ll find the requisite craft beers and the pop-up burger kitchen that show it’s merrily paddling in the warm shallows of gentrification.
The Signalmen has just had a re-do and elevated its already fairly lofty spot. The food is consistently banging and vegans will spend the next week having lucid dreams about its Garbanzo burger slathered in pumpkin ketchup. Super dog-friendly too, if you’ve got a team pooch.
With views over the Pavilion Gardens and the evening crowd scuttling up towards North Laine, Valentino’s is the one for people watching on a balmy night. They also do a 2-4-1 Happy Hour, Sunday to Thursday, 5 - 7pm so don’t hang about chit-chatting in the kitchen when you finish work
You know it’s just there, right?