Stretching from Palace Pier to the marina (well, technically Lidl car park), Kemptown is a flamboyant jumble of boozers, trendy eateries and vintage boutiques. Though punctuated by imposing Georgian architecture and grandiose stucco crescents, the area retains a vibrant counter-culture vibe.
As the throbbing heart of Brighton’s gay scene – nicknamed Camp Town for good reason – locals love its glitz and glamour. Don't wait till the annual Pride parade for an excuse to hit the bars on St James’s Street. Proud Cabaret’s idiosyncratic home on the corner of Paston Place is a huge draw for parties, most of whom remain blissfully unaware they’re revelling in ultimate hedonism within a renovated Jewish mausoleum.
Mosey along St George’s Road where you’ll find Pizzaface, a defiantly hipster slice of Brighton cool, with craft beers, low lighting and a pitch-perfect soundtrack. Swerve onto St James’s Street to unearth BLOCK, a place where too-cool-for-school kids congregate and munch on tasty, locally sourced nosh from Brighton's only charcoal and wood burning oven.
Go upmarket in the Ginger Dog, their plush seating and classy pub setting make it a fitting space to scoff exquisitely-cooked British classics like wood pigeon and pork cheek. Or you can keep it old-school with fawning service, tablecloths, top-drawer cooking and wine pairings at The Restaurant at Drakes. Treat yourself to a taste of the good life.
Cafe Marmalade is one of our favourite spots in Kemptown. They serve generously-filled sandwiches, homemade quiche, posh cakes and great coffee in a wholesome cafe setting. Parfait. For a quick caffeine fix we’d have to recommend Ground Coffee House, they’re simply the best for artisan coffee and ridiculously appealing and animated staff.
If retro clad glamour is your cup of tea, shimmy on over to Metrodeco, slip on some flapper garms from their dress-up rack, and take afternoon tea with cocktails on the side.
For a proper Kemptown boozeup St James Tavern is ground-zero for Brighton’s bizarre Tuaca shot fetish, The Thomas Kemp is a classic cozy local with plentiful local ales on tap and regular live music and the Hand in Hand is an old-school boozer with adorably ramshackle decor, hilarious staff and...a brewery out back!
Busby and Wilds, named after the architectural duo who laid out much of Brighton, is a top-drawer gastropub with an international slant to the beer menu. But bringing its tippity top best to Kemptown hooch is the Plotting Parlour, they do award-winning cocktails set over two shiny 1920’s-inspired floors.