'When it comes to music, Brighton knows its stuff'

In a city that has a reputation for being so hip it hurts, planning a night out can be a daunting prospect. Best start with a drink, then. If you need proof of Brighton's pleasure-seeking spirit, then note that the city has more pubs per square mile than any other in the UK.

In a city that has a reputation for being so hip it hurts, planning a night out can be a daunting prospect. Best start with a drink, then. If you need proof of Brighton's pleasure-seeking spirit, then note that the city has more pubs per square mile than any other in the UK.

Go to just about any pub or bar in the North Laine and you're on safe ground. The Dorset, The Great Eastern and Mash Tun all have friendly, cosmopolitan clientele and decent bar food. In Kemp Town, home to much of Brighton's gay population, you'll encounter a similarly convivial vibe. The Sidewinder has a great patio for summer afternoons, while Amsterdam is one of the biggest, most established gay bars on the beachfront.

For something a little more chic, Koba is a smart but unpretentious bar on Western Road, though if you really want exclusive, try the Sussex Arts Club on Ship Street. Julie Burchill is one of its ex-patrons though now Brighton's literary cognoscente enjoy its eccentric charms. If you can't talk your way in there, try a few doors down at Hotel Du Vin & Bistro, where the atmosphere is upmarket and the drinks expensive.

You only need to consider the pop luminaries who live in Brighton - Nick Cave, Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim, Paul McCartney - to know that when it comes to music, Brighton knows its stuff, and the city has many live venues. That's not to suggest that Brighton is easily seduced by celebrity. On the contrary, British Sea Power, Electric Soft Parade, Electrelane and The Pipettes are among the more low-key but highly credible acts to emerge from Brighton while Skint Records, the label that launched Fatboy Slim, still operates from here. The Concorde 2 remains a hotbed for new talent - The White Stripes played one of their last small-scale gigs there before their career skyrocketed - while the Old Market in Hove showcases the best in folk and alt.country.

Where clubs are concerned, it pays to do your research. Unless cheesy house music and inebriated teens are your thing, the clubs on West Street - the main drag that takes you from the station to the sea - are generally to be avoided. The Casablanca Club is a long-running underground jazz club that holds ultra-hip Latin jazz, samba and funk nights while the Funky Bhudda Lounge is reassuringly classy, ie, a place where you won't run into a hen party. The Hanbury Ballroom, a domed night-spot in the heart of Kemp Town, has some fun themed nights.

For late-night cabaret and comedy, you rarely need stray further than the Komedia in the North Laine. Comprising a 95-seat theatre and downstairs bar and restaurant it hosted early performances from the likes of Mel and Sue, Graham Norton and The League of Gentlemen and is still the place to see rising comedy talent.

Meanwhile, film aficionados can enjoy late-night screenings at the Duke of York's Picture House on Fridays and Saturdays. Located in Preston Circus, this is a proper arthouse cinema showing current, classic, independent and foreign-language releases. If watching Tarkovsky at midnight while munching on carrot cake baked on the premises isn't your idea of a great night out, you're clearly in the wrong city.



Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable