Brighton is perhaps one of the most electric cities to serve as the backdrop of your university experience.
Going into my fourth year of living here as a student, the city of Brighton only gets more exciting – and I feel as if there are still layers of the city I’ve yet to peel back. As a freshers student, you’ll quickly find that the eclecticism and irreverence of the city’s residents are reflected within its vast array of restaurants, nightclubs, bars and activities.
Whether you’re in search of a night to remember, or a day out filled with shopping and seabreeze (from freshers and beyond), these are the places to be. I hope that the compilation of recommendations in this article will hopefully provide a foundation for your own discoveries in this spellbinding area. There is no doubt that your time spent studying in Brighton and Hove will be filled with memories, and here are some places where fellow students and I feel we made some of our best.
Starting from the biggest concern for freshers – aside from studies, we hope – the Brighton nightlife. Firstly, I would recommend that you download apps such as ‘Skiddle’ and ‘Fatsoma’ for a great resource of what’s going on in town, and an easy way of buying tickets to events.
Patterns – This exhilarating club is a Brighton classic, located directly on the Brighton seafront. If you’re a fan of rap, R&B, hip hop and a lot of lights and lazers, this is the place for you. Every Tuesday here is ‘Donuts’ night, and whether you go for the great music, or free sweet treats (handed out at the DJ booth – stand close!), this is a reliable route to a great night and perhaps missing that Wednesday morning class.
The Mash Tun – If you’re not a regular club-crawler, but are looking for a night of drinking and dancing, the bars of Brighton such as the Mash Tun is highly popular. The Mash Tun is a much more intimate yet highly popular venue. In Church Street, within a hotbed of Brighton culture, this burger joint by day and dancefloor by night includes a great playlist and sociable atmosphere. Make sure to get there early, though, as queues usually reflect its popularity.
Shuffle Bar – Located on York Place, this bar is an affordable and quality option for some great cocktails, and a chance to ignite the DJ within us all. While there, you can enjoy two-for-a-tenner delicious drinks at their happy hour, and the music played is shuffled from a playlist full of your and other tables’ requests. That’s right – here at the Shuffle Bar, they provide a list of all your favourite classic bangers for you and your friends to choose from to accompany their delicious and innovative cocktails.
Casablanca – For jazz and live music enthusiasts, Casablanca is the place to be. While this might be construed as a classier affair than most other Brighton club options, it is by no means less chaotic. With one room for their nightly live band performances, and one for the DJ deck, Casablanca has something for everyone. Enjoy their 6pm-8pm happy hour for cheaper drinks, and get down to some incredible live bands playing classic hits later on in the night. The club is located in the centre of Brighton, near the seafront.
Hobgoblin – One of the most popular beer gardens in Brighton, and arguably one of the best, here you are guaranteed a perfect atmosphere for socialising with friends and flatmates. Featuring a plethora of heated outside seating for chilly autumn and winter nights, Hobgoblin is a classic choice for Sussex Students. Like Shuffle Bar, Hobgoblin can be found on York Place near London Road.
Chalk – A more intimate club opposite the Pier, Chalk is for indie lovers. At Chalk, you’ll find the playlist is stocked full of iconic British indie icons, such as Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine and the Kooks. For pop fanatics, there is a ‘Secret Discotheque’ most Thursdays, and for disco lovers, the ‘Let’s Kill Disco’ event takes place most Saturdays.
PRYZM – Probably the most infamous of the bunch, this Brighton and nationwide classic is a multi-story club that includes music for all tastes and persuasions. For the fans of UK rap, afrobeats and hip hop, the Curve room is the place for you. For lovers of a great floor filler, sing your heart out in the main room. PRYZM is also a hub for freshers in particular, making this an essential to cross off your Brighton bucket list in your first week.
North Laine – The North Laine district is one of the most quintessentially ‘Brighton’ areas, where you can soak in some sun or seabreeze in streets full of wonder. While here, you can enjoy the best food, vintage clothes, cafés and jewellery the city has to offer. The North Laine area perfectly highlights the city’s irreverence, as here you’ll find amazing vegetarian food, alongside piercing and tattoo shops – all with a distinctly Brighton flair. All this with racks on racks of affordable vintage gems for you to uncover. Some popular spots in the North Laine area include “To Be Worn Again” for secondhand finds, “Komedia”, an affordable comedy club and “Gelato Gusto” for some of the best sweet Italian treats in the city.
The Pavilion – Especially beautiful in the sunshine, this beautiful and historic structure is situated just a short walk from Brighton’s Old Steine bus stop. For a mid-week debrief, lounge with your friends in the vast grassy areas while soaking in the architectural beauty and splendour of the famous Pavillion.
Churchill Square – The shopping centre of Churchill Square will be your go-to for high street favourites. Here you’ll find some staple shops to waste your student loan on, such as Urban Outfitters, Zara and JD, as well as delicious food stands in the surrounding area.
Devil’s Dyke – A bit further out of Brighton’s epicentre, but if you fancy some stunning views and a chance to experience Brighton’s natural beauty, visiting Devil’s Dyke is essential. Take a long walk in the atmospheric spot on the South Downs for a gorgeous escape from hectic uni life.
Brighton Beach – Perhaps a cliché choice, but a classic nevertheless. On the renowned Pier, you can enjoy thrilling rides with your mates, snack on a delicious churro or go wild on the slot machines. Or, take a stroll on the beach’s iconic cobbles listening to the crashing waves. You’ll soon discover Brighton Beach is an East Sussex icon for a reason.
Highlights according to Sussex Students:
“The Mash Tun is one of my favourite Brighton nights out because it is the perfect combination of a pub and a club.”
“Watching the Brighton sunset while sitting on the beach is a must.”