Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A Big Pub-Crawl in Brighton

All day drinking in Brighton - Saturday 9th August

My brother-in-law (my wife's brother) is due to be married soon, so he had to have the big lads' night out. However, the night out turned out to be an all day event in Brighton with overnight stay.

The day started off with the groom, his father-in-law and five more of us in a local greasy spoon to line our stomachs and then it was off to the station to catch the train to London to meet the rest of the lads (there were to be 18 of us in all). The trains were all up the creek, so we had to phone some of the women-folk to come collect us and drop us off at another station that was working. Things went well for a while as we met the rest of the party and caught the coach. Unfortunately, our joy was short lived and we got stuck in traffic for several hours before deciding to jump out at a nearby station and catching the train down instead. We beat the coach's sat-nav arrival time by two hours!

On the way down we all got through a few (3 in my case) cans of lager (not my favourite tipple, but there was nothing else available) and arrived at the hotel ready and raring to go. LS, the best man had it all planned out for us, so twenty minutes later we were all changed and ready to go. We stuck to the main station to beach road (West Street I think it is called) and managed to get in 5 pubs before getting to the two on the pier. The weather was scorching and Brighton was absolutely heaving with day-trippers and tourists; all making for a great party atmosphere.

Before we go any further, I need to stress that this was an unusual day and I do not usually drink the quantities I got through this day. That said, I limited my intake a fair bit by mostly drinking halves or bottles rather than pints. Due to the length of the session and the few soft drinks interspersed throughout the session, I actually felt OK the next day, so the quantity was obviously at a slow but steady pace that my body could cope with. One of us had to stay soberish to look after the groom to be and the 'whip' afterall.

Anyway, on with the round-up of pubs and beers...

1) The Queen's Head

The Queens Head 69 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XD
The first pub we visited was The Queen's Head, just opposite the hotel we were staying in, and just down the road from the railway station. The old-fashioned style outside disguises the very noisy sports bar inside. There were about four or five pump ales alongside all the usual pub fare, so a good session could have been held in just this pub alone. After ordering our first drinks we decided to stand on the pavement outside to soak up the sun's rays.

2) Yates
Academy House, 59 West Street, Brighton BN1 2RA
The second pub was a more modern affair and a little closer to the beach and pier. The photo above is an older one taken from Google; the pub has had a makeover since then and looks a bit slicker due to its new grey and orange external decor. It has a more traditional interior and a great selection of beers at a reasonable price. The bar staff were great and very patient with a bunch of rowdy lads, even after a minor accident with some glasses (nothing serious, just a few knocked over accidentally).

3) The Bright Helm (Wetherspoons)

20-22A West St, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 2RE
Just down the road but on the opposite side is another beer co. pub, this time a Wetherspoons. They often get a bad name, but as a company they do manage to safe-keep many old buildings and facades that would otherwise be pulled down to make way for more flats or offices. They are also quite cheap and I believe they also had a hand in making real ales popular again. The outside of this building is very ugly indeed, but the multi-level interior is very nicely decorated.

This one had several choice beers on pump, but I plumped for a half of an unusual looking IPA. Everyone liked this pub and we decided later that this would be our evening's session pub before heading off to the clubs.

4) Name Unknown

When some of our party popped outside for a cigarette, they were accosted by a young lady offering 5 Jagermeisters for £5 in a bar on the opposite side of the street. It was decided we would partake of a shot each as it was going so cheap and would break up the beers a little.

It was also at this point that we began to get hungry. My favourite Brighton fish 'n' chip takeaway is pretty much at the end of the street, so we all grabbed a portion of chips and something on the side (sausage in batter in my case) to soak up a little of what we had drunk.

5) Victoria's Bar
Brighton Pier, Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1TW
After a stroll along the promenade and then a quick skip along the pier we ended up in Victoria's Bar just in time for the footbal results. I am not a football fan but it was something the rest of the party wanted to see. There was no choice of ale or beer on tap so I had to move onto bottles. The only real choice was London Pride.

6) Horatio's Bar
Brighton Pier, Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1TW
After the footie results, we all decided that Victoria's was not that great a bar after all, so we headed down to the final pub on our day time pub crawl. We had an hour or two left before we had to return to the hotel to get changed, so we stayed here for a couple. This was the first pub that we really got into the party atmosphere; we bumped into a couple of hen parties and got into our stride.

The day time session drew to a close around 7:30pm, so we returned to the hotel for a shower and quick change before heading back out on the town at around 9pm. We had earlier decided that The Bright Helm would be our best bet due to the location and price of the drinks. Around 11:30pm, some of us older ones headed back for a good night's sleep but the younger members of our party stayed out until the early hours. I was sensible and just stuck to soft drinks on our return to the Wetherspoons. A habit I continued when I got back to the hotel room - I had a bottle of water whilst watching the end of Match of the Day with my father-in-law.

Beers drunk on this pub crawl:

Remember that all of these drinks were half-pints, cans or bottles.

1) Can of Budweiser on the coach
2) Can of Becks on the coach
3) Can of Stella on the coach
4) Saison d'Ete (3.7%), Firebird Brewing Co., Horsham, Sussex - Belgian style farmhouse summer ale
5) Dead Pony Ale (3.8%), Brewdog, Ellon, Aberdeenshire - Americsn Pale Ale
6) Summer of 1842 (5%), Wadworth, Devizes - a good session IPA
7) Jagermeister
8, 9, 10) London Pride (4.7%), Fuller's, Chiswick - a great session beer (one of my favourites). This particular beer came in 500ml bottles

Visits: This is an easy one for this particualr pub crawl. It was my first visit to all of these pubs except for Horatio's Bar on the pier which I have visited on several occasions previously.

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