Brighton: Three is the Magic Number

I turned thirty last month and I like it. Admittedly this could have something to do with how much I’ve been spoilt by friends and family but so far so good – it’s only a number right?

To mark this milestone I’ve had my fair share of celebrations (some I can remember more than others) but on my actual birthday my partner Paul took me on a surprise trip to Brighton. We stayed for three days to commemorate my three decades of life and did my three favourite things: eating, drinking and shopping. It was excellent fun.

So sticking with this theme of three (otherwise I’d be here forever as there’s so much to tell) I thought I’d share my top three eateries, pubs and shops…



 1. 24 st George St

24 St georges brighton

(Apologies for the lack of photographic evidence on this one, as it was a special occasion I thought it best to leave the camera and phone at home)

This was the birthday night dinner, and boy was it good.  The restaurant itself is pretty unassuming, the place has a cosy front room feel to it but nothing to spark my interior interest. I soon realise though that there is no need for them to try too hard with the surroundings when the food is so tasty. Stick to what you’re best at right? I knew we were in for a treat as soon as we were given the poshest scotch eggs I’ve ever had as an ‘amuse-bouche’  – from memory I think they were quails eggs surrounded by mushroom pate then rolled in salted breadcrumbs.  They were delicious anyway and certainly set the standard for what was to come. It’s very reasonable too with mains costing between £13–£20, so book ahead and in advance –  it’s a very popular place.


2. Bill’s


Bill’s in Brighton

Set in an old bus depot this cafe/restaurant/shop was opened in Brighton in 2005. The founder Bill Collison started life as a greengrocer but after tragedy struck in 2000 and his small shop in Lewes East Sussex was flooded he was forced to start again but this time he added a cafe and has never looked back. Business is booming and there are now Bill’s produce and cafe shops all over the country, my home town Manchester included (although I never realised this).  Despite it now being a pretty big chain it still feels like a local spot, with charming staff, colourful surroundings and most importantly fantastically fresh produce. So whether it be for breakfast, brunch or dinner do make the effort to stop off at the old bus depot. Needless to say I will now be frequenting my local Manchester Bill’s, to test whether the  standard of food and the atmosphere travels.


3. Bona foodie


Sausage and mash in a pie. Yes you hear me correctly, a pie.

This deli was just down the road from our apartment and I found it very difficult to walk past without stopping. Their window display was packed full of cakes, pies, pastries, lasagnes and mouthwateringly colourful salads. It’s definitely more of a take-out than a eat-in kind of place, so we took our picnic down to the beach. Healthy salads aside their produce is not for the fainthearted, with offerings such as sausage and mash pie – the pie the equivalent of a potato waffle sandwich or a  sausage roll bap (SRB for short – it’s a Derry thing apparently). We needed a tub full of ketchup to wash it down, but being hungover from the previous nights birthday antics – it certainly hit the spot.


The top three continues after the cut with my favourite places to drink and shop



1. Brighton Beer Dispensary


A relatively new addition to Brighton’s real ale scene but it’s a good one. It reminded me of some of the newer craft beer places we have  in Manchester, with it’s red brick walls and dark wooden bar. Perhaps this is why I felt so at home. Unfortunately we only discovered this gem on our last day so we only went the once, I will be back one day though and next time I’m trying the burgers – they looked amazing.


2. St James Tavern

St James Tavern Brighton

A small section of the rum behind the bar

This is no ordinary boozer. It’s an old fashioned establishment, with it’s pillared entrance and dark wooden bar so nothing particularly special or new to look at. However as with most watering holes it’s whats behind the bar that’s important. And this place had no less than 80 different varieties of rum. Well all my birthday wishes had come true. Helpfully for indecisive types they offer a taster selection, you just need to choose from economy (3 for £6), business (3 for £8), or first class (3 for £11) and then take it from there.


3. Hand In Hand

Hand in hand brighton

“We have to go in.” demanded Paul as we were wondering around Kemptown. I instantly realised why as soon as I saw it, aside from the fact it’s a pub it was painted claret and amber – the same colours as his football team, Bradford City. Thankfully though that’s where the association ended. It’s a tiny little pub and it looks as though it’s been around forever – packed full of oddities and nic nacs and a ceiling adorned with an impressive collection of Victorian pornographic photographs. There’s plenty to take in and everything is, even some of the regulars i imagine, covered in dust. We couldn’t get enough though, we went everyday. And if that isn’t enough of a recommendation they even had Orchard Pig cider ‘Truffler’ on tap (the sister of our recently reviewed Reveller).



1. Utility


The shop in real life and Paul modelling our new apron – part of our utility haul

I feature this shop a lot, take a look at our recent #retailcrush post. So far i’ve only been a virtual customer so I was pretty excited to visit in person. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Situated in the middle of the quirky North Laines area, you can’t miss the utilitarian grey coloured tall thin buildling – a delight to behold in itself. I’ve always described their wares as basic and beautiful, but I think there is perhaps one word that sums up the entire package a bit better – ‘cool’. We came away with a denim apron, the bathmat i’ve previously coveted and four candles (or do I mean fork handles?).


2. Room service

Room service Brighton

Much like Bona foodie, I couldn’t walk past this shop without drooling. But I didn’t have the cake display as an excuse – this time it was the furniture. Specialists in mid 20th century this shop is full of Scandinavian style fittings but they also have a line of interesting art objects which greatly appealed too. I’m not sure where you’d put it but there is something nice about the Pharmacie shop sign, and if that’s a little too plain for your taste then take a look at this vintage fairground light they’re stocking at the moment.


3. Brighton flea market


The bright pink exterior of the building and the neon sign lured me into this treasure trove of a place. As you’d expect from a flea market it’s packed full of all kinds of weird and wonderful things. We didn’t find anything to take home with us this time, or rather nothing that was transportable on the train, but new stock comes daily so it’s always worth a try.


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