Qype: Earth & Stars in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingPubs & BarsPubs

The Earth and Stars is one of the most quirky pubs in Brighton. The character of the place is apparent before you even go in, where on the exterior wall their resident blackboard can be found lamenting its choice of career as a chalkboard, complaining about its hay fever in the height of summer or pointing out the other chalkboard’s spelling errors.

Located just off Queen’s Road, this place is in a great location for Brighton Station, the city centre and North Laine. Inside, the darkened candlelit atmosphere and chunky, rough-hewn tables and chairs make it seem incredibly cosy and comforting. They also have a rather snug upstairs area that they’re willing to reserve for private functions. The only problem is that is gets SO warm up there you feel like passing out after a while – so avoid it in the height of summer if you can!

The great thing about this place – and indeed about so many of these gorgeous, unique, atmospheric local Brighton pubs – is that all their food is locally sourced. I have to say that I’ve heard tell far and wide of their amazing sausages, made by The Brighton Sausage Company. A massive pub lunch of sausage ‘n’ mash here is definitely very near the top of my ‘To Do’ list. Watch this space for sausage-centred updates!

Check out my review of Earth & Stars – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: The Hop Poles in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingPubs & BarsPubs

I absolutely adore The Hop Poles, it’s easily one of my favourite pubs in Brighton. The only downside is that so many other people feel the same way it’s near-on impossible to get a seat unless you get there about an hour before you want to eat or queue at the door as it opens.

The first thing that hits you when you walk in (provided, of course, that you look upwards) is the enormous octopus made of hubcaps on the ceiling. Absolutely brilliant. There’s also an alligator made of various car parts outside in the trellis-covered beer garden. The rest of the decor, in stark contrast, is very traditional and homely – chunky rough-hewn tables and a huge wooden bar with gleaming brass pumps. I’ve also been told that they have a fabulous selection of real ales, although I never touch the stuff so quite honestly I wouldn’t know one from another. I’m very happy with my pear cider thank you.

The best thing about The Hop Poles though is their food. They have a menu which changes on a daily basis and is sourced entirely from local produce. Their menu is a great mix of traditional pub fare (like sausage and mash, roast lamb and steak) as well as slightly more restaurant-style dishes (like risottos, roasted Mediterranean vegetable dishes and lasagnes). But the BEST bit is that on their menus they print fantastic (and often hilarious) descriptions of all the dishes detailing things like which of their chefs came up with the recipe and how and where they discovered it, how they think you’ll feel when you’re eating it or what the staff members think of the dish.

Among the dishes I’ve sampled are their sausage and mash, wild mushroom risotto, sweet potato with roasted Mediterranean vegetables and, the pièce de résistance, their Sunday roasts – beautifully presented, flavoursome locally-sourced meat and wonderfully al dente vegetables. Just get there early to secure a table!

Check out my review of The Hop Poles – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: The Mash Tun in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingPubs & BarsPubs

The Mash Tun was one of my favourite pubs as a student, partly due to its great location and partly due to its quirkiness (in particular their celebrity ‘Wall of Death’ sweepstake). It’s not the trendiest, lightest, brightest or most pleasant place to enjoy a drink, but it’s definitely got something.

Inside it might be fairly dark, but it has an atmosphere so typical of Brighton about it that I love it. They also have a nice little (slightly lighter) upstairs area and great outdoor seating on New Road, one of the best sun traps in the city centre. Their toilets however, are quite scary – think bright orange panic room.

The Mash Tun attracts a great, laid-back crowd, particularly in the summer months when everyone lounges on the outdoor benches in floaty fabrics and over-sized sunglasses. The only drawback is that you have to drink from plastic cups if you’re sitting outside. I know, it’s a ‘health ‘n’ safety’ thing, but I’m the kind of girl that prefers a proper wine glass…

Check out my review of The Mash Tun – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: The Providence in Hove

HoveEating & DrinkingPubs & BarsPubs

The Providence is a strange place. To all intents and purposes it’s a chain pub serving cheap drink and cheap, Wetherspoon-style food. If you go there during the day, it’s pretty atmosphere-less and rather quiet.

However, unlike most chain pubs that exist for the sole purpose of allowing people to get absolutely ratted for a relatively small amount of money, The Providence has built its reputation on playing host to live, local music. During the day the stage is just a raised seating area, but get rid of the chairs and tables, stick a curtain behind it and voila! Gig venue!

If you head here on a live music night, The Providence feels like a totally different place – there’s crowds, atmosphere and because the drinks are just so blimmin’ cheap (if you happen to purchase one of their special discount cards for about a £1) everyone is very nicely merry. I love going to see my friends play music here, mainly because it means the entire place is packed out with my chums and mates of the other bands which creates a highly enjoyable, relaxed atmosphere where everyone’s smiling and chatting to everyone else.

Avoid during the day, but great for an evening of affordable merriment and live choonage.

Check out my review of The Providence – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype