Surprisingly enough, it can be a tricky process trying to find the perfect pub garden for soaking up the sun in this seaside city. Brighton & Hove may be famed for their beaches, but the relatively small number of south-facing gardens means you can often end up spending a warm afternoon chasing the sun around the city.
This summer, we’ve done the ‘hard work’ for you, and have compiled a handy list of Brighton & Hove’s ultimate pub gardens, for when only a cold pint in the sunshine will do.
THE SETTING SUN
This little gem on Windmill Street in Hanover has arguably the best beer garden in the city. The small, low-walled garden provides breath-taking panoramic views of Brighton & Hove and the surrounding area. On a clear day you can see all the way to Worthing Pier, 12 miles away. The view also includes a lot of ocean, so much so that on a hot day with a glass of rosé in hand, you’d be forgiven for feeling as though you’re sat somewhere in France. With a friendly, intimate atmosphere and good food to boot, it’s well worth hiking up the hill to visit The Setting Sun. Just make sure to get there early, as this local favourite fills up fast!
1 Windmill Street, Brighton, BN2 0GN
Situated just up from the seafront in Hove, The Connaught Pub & Kitchen boasts a beautiful, secluded beer garden with plenty of cute picnic tables. Far more spacious than many of the more central establishments, The Connaught’s garden gets plenty of sun and has a chilled out vibe. There’s both a patio area and plenty of grass, as well as lots of lovely plants scattered around the edges. The pub is dog friendly too, so you’ll often find a couple of adorable pooches catching some rays alongside their owners. Aside from the garden, the real clincher is that The Connaught does fantastic food, most notably the mountainous roasts served on a Sunday. Be sure to book in advance though, as they do get very busy.
48 Hove Street, Hove, BN3 2DH
This lovely pub in Seven Dials boasts a brilliant sun trap out at the back. The paved garden is spacious and ideal for larger groups. The space is furnished with wrought iron tables, umbrellas for those rare occasions when it gets just a little too hot, and plenty of seating. The Crescent serves locally sourced food every day, and has great selection of world beers. They also have an impressive range of spirits, especially gin and vodka, perfect for those days when a beer just won’t do. Situated on Clifton Hill, The Crescent is out of the way enough that it rarely gets rammed, but also central enough so that you can pop up there from town in a matter of minutes.
6 Clifton Hill, Brighton, BN1 3HL
This Kemptown institution on St James’s Street has a big paved garden perfect for a summer of revelry. Neighbourhood is staunchly independent, which explains why this popular spot has such eccentric décor. Inspired by dive bars with a strongly artistic vibe, this two-floor venue is bursting with mismatched furniture, locally produced artwork and vintage nick-knacks. There’s plenty of seating outside and, although walled on all sides, the garden still gets sun all afternoon. You can even book one of their cabanas, should you and your friends want to make like you’re in Miami for the evening. Well, not quite, but hey there’s palm trees! Live music means that the garden – complete with BBQ and brightly coloured furnishings – is an ideal place to kick back and relax on a warm evening.
101 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1TP
Hove Place is a casual ‘bistro pub’ in the heart of Hove, just off Church Road. A firm favourite with locals, their stunning Italian garden is a welcome sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Their modern British food comes highly recommended and, separated into bistro, pub and deli menus, caters to all sensibilities. The garden is beautifully furnished, complete with heaters for those days when there’s no choice but to submit to our typical English weather. The garden is lovely at any time of day, but if it’s hot and sunny it’s best to head there early as once you’ve got a seat you won’t want to leave! They even have an outdoor TV screen for those of you who just can’t miss out on the summer’s sporting events.
First Avenue, Hove, BN3 2FH
The Brunswick is an independently owned pub in Hove, just off the seafront on Holland Road, known primarily as a live music venue. The pub itself is huge – there’s the main room, the basement and the music and arts room dubbed ‘The Venue’ – but so is the garden. This space is undoubtedly one of the biggest and sunniest in all of Brighton & Hove, with plenty of picnic-style benches and larger tables perfect for groups. They do a good range of drinks (including some great craft beers) and serve food by Gorilla Grill & BBQ, which features American-style pub grub such as burgers and hotdogs. Word on the street is that the garden may be refurbished soon, so keep your eyes peeled, as it may be even better!
The Brunswick, 1-3 Holland Road, Hove, BN3 1JF
THE HAMPTON ARMS
The Hampton is a cosy pub just a few minutes from the centre of town in the Clifton Hill area. This little place has a good food menu and a nice selection of cask ales, ciders and wines. The pub is fabulously intimate and makes for a great winter watering hole, but The Hampton can also be an ideal summer spot as the south-facing garden gets a lot of sun. The little courtyard out the back is compact but as the pub is hidden away behind the back of Western Road, you can often get lucky and find the garden rather empty.
57 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FH
THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
Just up from Brighton Station on Guildford Road, The Battle of Trafalgar is a great back-street spot for pub traditionalists and sun worshippers alike. A world away from some of Brighton’s more pretentious establishments, it’s the locals that largely frequent The Battle of Trafalgar. A real hidden gem, from the front you’d never guess that this pub boasts one of the loveliest beer gardens in Brighton. It’s surprisingly large with lots of seating, and although rather urban in feel, there’s a still lot of greenery. This old-fashioned pub has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and serves a range of ales. Lynsey’s Kitchen is responsible for the traditional pub grub served here, with a focus on providing vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
34 Guildford Road, Brighton, BN1 3LW
THE GOOD COMPANIONS
The Good Companions on Dyke Road is another pub in the Seven Dials area that boasts a large garden. Recently refurbished, The Good Companions has both a paved front area complete with enormous benches and a large decked courtyard out back. The back garden is kitted out with panelled booths (each with a very handy heater) and plenty of picnic-style benches, should you be unlucky enough to miss out on a booth. The Good Companions serves great, locally sourced food and offers a combination of real Sussex ales and world beers. The pub tends to be at it’s busiest on Friday afternoons, and thanks to the buzzy, friendly atmosphere, it’s an ideal spot to meet mates for an after work drink in the sun.
132 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3TE
Formerly known as Vodka Revolution, this is undoubtedly the nicest place you’ll find on West Street. Although not strictly speaking a ‘pub’, this bar boasts Brighton’s biggest outdoors drinking area (with the exception of the beach of course!). Beyond the courtyard space used primarily by in-and-out smokers, you’ll find a sprawling area filled with plush sofas and wooden spaces, ideal for parking yourself all night long. With a giant drinks menu and a mouth-watering food menu to boot, you could spend all evening here after the sun goes down. As well as the nicely finished garden and the main room, there are bars both upstairs and down, meaning there’s never a dull moment at Revolution.
77 West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA
The Sidewinder on Upper St James’s Street boasts not only one but two huge beer gardens, giving you ample amounts of room in which to catch those precious summer rays. As with the majority of venues on this list, those kind people at The Sidewinder have very sensibly kitted out both gardens with heaters, for those days when even in the sun it’s a little chilly. The kitchen is run by Smokin’ Gringos, serving up Mexican street food every day with the exception of Sundays, where roasts and a build-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar take centre stage. Oh, and there’s also a multi-award winning hair stylist running a shabby-chic salon upstairs, because you know, it’s Brighton, after all.
65 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1JN
OK so admittedly, Patterns is also not technically a pub, and nor is their terrace a beer garden, but it’s a bloody great place to have a drink in the sun. Open all year round and with views of the pier, the terrace is kitted out with wooden panelling and furniture so brightly coloured it screams ‘summer’. Line your stomach with hot dogs and chips from The Dog Haus whilst enjoying one of Patterns’ many cocktails and by night, if you’re still standing, head inside for tunes provided by a live DJ. Also worth mentioning is the weekend brunch, which includes unlimited Bloody Marys and Prosecco. Need we say more?
10 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1TL
This piece was originally published in BN1 magazine- July 2016