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Pub Spy: My boozy trip around four Brighton pubs – but did they make the grade?

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The four pubs have been given mixed reviews by our expert

I started my mission in the Black Lion where I was encouraged to skip a straw and save a turtle. I wasn’t planning a straw for my pint of Bruno from Big Hug Brewing anyway, so I assume aquatic life is better off for my selection.

When it arrived it looked distinctly like urine but tasted much better – I’d go so far as to say I’d recommend this little 4.2 per cent pilsner.

The music was loud and if I’m not mistaken Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap was playing.

At first I feared the volume would spoil my enjoyment but when I settled in I realised it was just right.

The barman in the bobble hat who served me was a talented fellow with a great, infectious laugh.

He looked a bit like a young Elvis Costello.

Outside the garden area looked great and even on a colder evening was still well used.

Inside there had been sensible, almost tasteful, use of fairy lights and the archways added to the stylish look of the place.

I’d give stop one, Black Lion, a very solid four stars out of five.

Moving to pub two I didn’t have far to walk to The Mesmerist in Prince Albert Street.

A group of four jazz musicians were starting to set up and I was a little disappointed I didn’t have more time on my hands – the drummer sounded particularly professional.

At the bar I spotted Lagunitas Aunt Sally, which describes itself as a sweet, tart mash ale – it has obviously infected these shores from somewhere across the pond.

It is the most unpleasant tasting lemony filth you will ever have the misfortune to encounter.

I’ve never been so grateful I opted for a taster.

Instead I went for the Laine Bestest bitter. This one clocked in at 4.3 per cent and, although it was still a bit lacklustre and tasteless, was a huge step up from the Yankee nonsense.

I found a high stool near a machine which looked like it had been taken from a maniacal dentist.

Reclining on the sofa nearby was a French Phil Lynott doppelgänger; it’s amazing who you see out and about.

As I headed out I noticed yet another Robotic Animation photo booth, the second in two pubs, and wondered just how drunk you need to be to waste your money on such a thing.

I reckon three-and-a-half stars is a fair mark for this one.

I had high hopes for the East Street Tap. But oh dear, what a dive. It felt like I’d walked into a red cage fighting arena.

I will be as polite as possible and describe the smell as funky – generally the aroma gave the impression people might be dossing down in here at night.

It is another Laine pub and to combat the niff I decided to step things up a little with Hardywood Great Return IPA at 7.5 per cent.

I was only allowed to order a half pint but it’s probably as well as it’s a powerful brew.

I wouldn’t recommend a full night on this one but as a one off it was a tasty choice, though best downed like a shot.

Get Bitches by Guilty Simpson was blaring out so I retreated upstairs – this was definitely a good move as it was much more civilised.

I visited the facilities before leaving and enjoyed the ingenuity employed in using old beer barrels for urinals.

Though the level of grammar in the graffiti is concerning – if you going to accuse someone of being a greazy ninger (sic) at least spell it correctly.

I was greatly relieved to leave this East Street boozer – one star.

The final watering hole on my round robin tour was Doctor Brightons.

Nothing funky in this one.

The smell that greets you instead is either disinfectant or chlorine.

I assume the former as there was no sign of a pool.

The welcome was warm and whilst the pub was sparsely populated for 10.30pm the groups all seemed to be having a jolly time.

I stuck to the Kronie and the leather seats in this one but thoroughly enjoyed everything Doctor Brightons had to offer.

There are flamboyant chandeliers and some strategically placed red fairy lights in the open fireplace.

Fittingly, Little Red Corvette by Prince was being piped through the music system.

The flow of smokers to the pavement outside for fag breaks was fairly constant with some folks in and out like yoyos for some reason.

Another one scoring three-and-a-half stars.


Source: The Argus