Astonishingly, Brighton’s coolest bohemian quarter was almost flattened in the ‘70s to make way for a carpark 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, North Laine is best known for it’s high concentration of quirky shops. If you’re in the market for a weird musical instrument, an obscure graphic novel, a funky skirt, a hippy sandal or an upcycled hatstand this is where you come. One shop specialises in ‘vegetarian shoes’. Another sells only bonsai trees. It’s mad. And totally thriving.
For our purposes, 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.
KOOKS serve up the best eggs in town for all-day-brunch in a stylish, casual room. Special shout-out to their disgracefully cool soundtrack.
MANGE TOUT is one of Brighton's best loved independent bistros. Priding themselves on only using the freshest, top quality, local ingredients in their creative, seasonal dishes. Take bae here for ultimate brownie points.
BAGELMAN is a local institution and staple breakfast on hungover weekday mornings. Try the new NYC-inspired Hester Street on jalapeño. Nom.
POMPOKO serve tasty, filling and incredibly good value Japanese-inspired dishes. Service is lightning quick, and it’s also BYOB.
THE MANOR do seasonal British scran (think duck, pigs cheek, poached pears) in chillaxed and friendly atmosphere, with a deli attached so you can take the good stuff home.
LA CHOZA is the best Mexican this side of the Rio Grande. Cheap as chips and best enjoyed with a fat jug of Margarita.
WAI KIKA MOO KAU (say it out loud) is full-on vegetarian/vegan, doling out flavoursome chilis, salads and ‘naughty’ vegan fry-ups for when you’re feeling delicate.
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. Head over on a Monday for cut price Margaritas.
FOUNTAIN HEAD is a good-sized local to waste a day in, especially Sunday when their famous roasts are on.
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 near future.
DEAD WAX SOCIAL is a top-drawer fusion of dive-bar, pizza joint, craft beer house and gig venue. It’s all-vinyl policy guarantees only the cool kids get to pick the tunes.
THE OFFICE hold in stock at least 40 varieties of gin at any one time. Its strict no-kids policy and fancy Thai menu make it proper date-night classy.
GIVE ME COFFEE
BLACK MOCHA strikes a nice balance between chic, single-origin bean exclusivity and big-hearted choco-tastic indulgence. Gluten free cakes are also lush, and their upstairs space is wicked for laptop monkeys (hello!) to set up home in.
Spend an hour poking about Tardis-like interior of SNOOPERS PARADISE, the worlds greatest junk shop (on Kensington Gardens).
Spend an evening at Krater Comedy Club and we can guarantee you'll be rofl'ing all the way home. Booze, bants and bangin' bites. Perfect for date nights (DO NOT SIT AT THE FRONT) or big groups alike.