Each year the dawn of October heralds a new wave of fresh young students eager to embark upon the world of academia. With two universities welcoming the latest batch, there will be over 6000 new faces in the city, all keen to supplement their studies with copious amounts of partying, fun and inebriety. Here’s a quick rundown of the various drinking establishments around Brighton.
As well as being filthy, over-styled, STI-carrying chancers, students are also stereotypically scrounging misers, so looking for the cheapest places to grab a pint is often crucial. The Font, an old church nestled in the Lanes, regularly features drinks deals, with pints as low as £1.25 and cocktails at £2.50 on certain nights (cocktails night is Thursday) and is a rather pleasant venue, if not particularly interesting. On West Street we have the usual suspects: Wetherspoons, Walkabout & Yates’s, which although are all cheap should be avoided at all costs, as the clientele and atmosphere are just... shit.
Another pair of unglamorous but cheap venues are King & Queen on Grand Parade and Belushi’s, located on the seafront not far from the Pier. These two always have some dirt-cheap drinks deals and are otherwise decent enough places to spend an evening. Finally, the Royal Pavillion Tavern (or Pav Tav) is also in the upper echelon of inexpensiveness, with a slightly-below-average price list and a likeably shabby venue.
For those with a means-adjusted loan or some of Daddy’s money to spunk on pointless fluid gluttony can head on down to Riki Tik’s in the North Laine for some light-hearted pre-club drinks, which are normally priced. Another nice place to spend a night is Northern Lights next to the Town Hall, a Scandinavian-themed bar, which is a lovely pub with a great atmosphere and good drinks menu. Finally, one of Brighton’s best-kept secrets (worst now that it’s printed in a magazine) can be found on Western Road, at a pub called The Bee’s Mouth. This pokey little pub has an awesome range of beverages and is a killer place to enjoy any evening of the week, as the building is interestingly decorated and filled with quirky, friendly oddballs.
On the clubbing front, there are two main areas to frequent: West Street and the Seafront area. Avoid the former like the plague, especially on a Friday or Saturday, unless you’re looking for some hilarious night out where you are posing as the underclass ironically. Actually, the impressive Oceania can be good fun on the student night (Wednesday) and despite being a national chain, it is a spectacular venue. Aside from one or two one-off nights a year, it is advisable to ignore the charms of Tru, Oxygen, Heist, Pasha and Revolution.
Similarly, on the seafront clubs like HoneyClub and Funky Buddha Lounge can easily be avoided for the entire year, but further west clubs like Coalition, Life and the superb Digital should all be looked into as viable destinations for a night out. All three clubs (especially Digital) are often packed and regularly have big-name acts performing, and all the usual frills like lasers and massive sound systems are as standard. Again, all three frequently run drinks promotions, so some light research could go a long way into reducing your party bill.
At the other end of the beach, the urban club Volks provides something a little different, with some surprisingly big hip hop, dubstep and other acts appearing on the small club’s lineup from time to time. Similarly, the Ocean Rooms (off Grand Parade) has some epic nights, some ending as late as 10am. Another fairly standard but well-run club is Audio, a cheap-entry and busy bar/club just opposite the pier. Audio isn’t anything special, but with little to complain about, good music and a sweet laser you will most likely find yourself there a number of times before the year is up. Finally, a BN1 all-time favourite, found at the end of Madeira Drive, is Concorde II. This awesome gig venue and club has the biggest musical names in Brighton (excluding the Dome & the Brighton Centre) and has hosted many a memorable night over the past few years. These last three all have arguably the top three sound systems in town.
Other recommended pubs around town are The Druid’s Arms, The World’s End, The Fountain Head, The George, Thomas Kemp, The Mash Tun, Fitzherberts, The Lectern and The Prodigal, and good live music can be found at The Prince Albert, Komedia, The Corn Exchange, The Providence and The Hydrant.