Astonishingly, Brighton’s coolest bohemian quarter was almost flattened in the ‘70s to make way for a car park and flyover. Visionary councilman Ken Fines fought bitterly with planning authorities to protect what was then an uninspiring cluster of grimy slums between the railway and the Royal Pavilion. Tip your hat to his commemorative plaque on North Road as you pass, because Brighton owes him everything.
Today, The North Laine is best known for its high concentration of quirky shops. One shop specialises in ‘vegetarian shoes’. Another sells only bonsai trees. It’s mad. And totally thriving. For our purposes, The North Laine is all about the food and drink. Dozens of independent bars and eateries do a roaring trade from passing tourists and the local cognoscenti; everything from goody two-shoes vegan bites to the sloppiest dirty burgers ever to squirt special sauce down your shirt.
Starting on Sydney Street you’ve got any sushi lover’s dream with E-Kagen, then just around the corner you’ll find Brighton’s best loved mexican - La Choza, it’s Cheap as chips and best enjoyed with a fat jug of Margarita.
If plant based cuisine is what you’re after, Wai Kika Moo Kau is full-on vegetarian/vegan, doling out flavoursome chilis, salads and ‘naughty’ vegan fry-ups for when you’re feeling delicate.
Cafe culture is on top form in The North Laine, your summer time will be filled with sipping iced frappes on one of the many outdoor tables alongside a lazy afternoon of people watching. Pelicano have their own micro-roastery onsite for an oh so fresh cuppa, and Black Mocha make a wicked gluten free cake.
That’s one thing The North Laine definitely isn’t short of - decent boozers. The Dorset is oh so very cool. Arts, Music and Games nights are a weekly occurrence and they're usually crammed with beautiful, creative Brighton types.
The North Laine Brewhouse is a giant beer hall and brewery, so you can neck IPA and watch the guys making the very IPA you’ll be necking at some point in the very near future. Or if gin is your thang, The Office hold in stock at least 40 varieties of gin at any one time.