A website tracking my attempt to publish my own book, "Brighton's Best Pubs". This is a locally produced guide to every pubs and bar in Brighton, the book is a comprehensive guide covering an amazing 300 pubs and bars within the city, utilising a unique pub rating system. Atmosphere, Beer, Barstaff, Food, Entertainment, Decor/Garden and Talent are all rated for each pub/bar. It also features maps, a Club guide and suggested pub crawls.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Brighton's Best Pubs: The Movie

Have a gander at the book on You Tube:


BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 1, The Belle Vue

At the invitation of The Pub Jury 30-odd people joined a pub crawl of some of the best pubs in and around the North Laine. It started in the Belle Vue, overlooking the station on Buckingham Place, where Theresa and Kirsty welcomed everyone with free shots of the house spirit, Mad Gold, and got the evening off to a crazy start! Theresa says that her pub is filled with “a collection of irregular regulars”, and she has chosen to decorate it with some of her own paintings.

BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 2, The Battle of Trafalgar

Next stop was the Battle of Trafalgar in Guildford Road, which was already busy before we descended on it in force. Lee and his barstaff were soon pulling pints in a frenzy to keep up with the demand. Here the jurors introduced themselves – there are currently seven - Dave, Dave, Tony, Sandra, John and Tim are Brighton residents, whilst Jonathan lives just outside of town. The jury try to stay anonymous to avoid landlords trying to influence their ratings with special treatment!

BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 3, The Evening Star

We weren’t in the Battle long before it was time to exit – the strict timetable allowed only half an hour in each pub – and off we went around the corner to the Evening Star on Surrey Street. The Star is rated by CAMRA as the best pub for beer in Brighton and it certainly didn’t disappoint with its wide range of real ales, lagers and cider. The landlord, Matt, and his staff are always happy to let you sample some of the beers before you buy and when we showed them the entry for the Star in the book they provided us with free bar snacks as a thank you!

BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 4, The Caxton Arms

We couldn’t hang around though, there was important ‘research’ to be done elsewhere and we hurried up the street to the Caxton Arms, tucked away in North Gardens. Here landlord James told us he was currently redecorating the place and all the walls were newly painted. We didn’t get the chance to ask him whether the pub’s many trademark black and white movie star pictures were going to go back up or not! The back garden in here is a delight, hidden away below street level giving it a very cosy feel.

BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 5, The Earth & Stars

It wasn’t long though before we had to knock back our drinks and head onwards to the next stop, over the Queens road to the Earth & Stars on Church Street. This pub is eco-friendly, carbon-neutral and has solar panels on the roof to provide its energy! It also has a range of organic drinks on tap, including the very tasty Freedom Lager. Lou and his barstaff gave us all free shots of organic vodka to toast the launch of Brighton’s Best Pubs book with!

BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 6, The Basketmakers Arms

The last official stop was the pub that gets the highest rating in the book, The Basketmakers Arms on Gloucester Road. This put smiles on the faces of all the staff when we told them! The Basketmakers is a solid traditional pub with great beer and a lovely relaxed atmosphere. The décor includes hundreds of different tobacco tins nailed to the wall. These have been filled with messages from drinkers over the years and make some very entertaining reading!

BBP Pub Crawl: Pub 7, The Hobgoblin

Things were going so well that people didn’t want to go home after the Basketmakers, so we headed off to the Hobgoblin for some late night drinking in the huge pub garden. All-in-all the book launch made for an excellent evening with a fun crowd of Brighton pub goers!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Latest 7" Magazine Review

This review was in the 13 Sept issue of Latest 7 magazine:


Time at the bar

As a lover of proper pubs I was intrigued to receive by post a review copy of a new book entitled Brighton’s Best Pubs, written by a band of revellers who call themselves the Pub Jury. It claims to be the definitive guide to drinking in Brighton, an invaluable guide for residents and visitors alike. And it appears that the Pub Jury are aged between 25 and 50 years old and that the book grew out of ‘quiet time’ conversation that three of the jury had when they worked together. How I long for a job that has ‘quiet time’!
They are made up of a rocker, a cider drinker, a real ale fan, an artist, two parents and a nurse – just in case you need to know the demographics.
All that apart, the book is indeed an invaluable guide to Brighton’s potatory establishments, and despite the title it does include Hove. The material has been gathered in a sensible point-based system with marks out of 100 for each of the following; atmosphere, beer, barstaff, food, entertainment, décor/garden and a total percentage overall.
It came as no surprise to me to find that the highest scoring pub in town is, by their judging criteria, The Basketmakers Arms in Gloucester Street. I have been going there for years for the simple reason that it retained its identity as a real pub and sold beer and food. In an era when every pub in town was losing its name and often with it its identity, the Basketmakers was a beacon of sane and unsophisticated charm. I use the word unsophisticated in a qualified sense and by it I mean that the Basketmakers had not been gentrified, ponced up, cocktailed, gastroed or generally buggered up. It was simply a pub that sold grub and beer. Good grub too and well priced. It still does just that and so I applaud them and I applaud the guide for recognising that.
The BBP guide does an excellent job although I note that it omits to give points for child-friendliness, useful for those with kids and equally for those who wish to avoid them, and dog-friendliness is also acknowledged on an ad hoc basis. I would also have liked to see a comparative price factor included.
For fun they have included a series of top five categories which includes food, the vibe and totty which is sub-divided into straight and gay. The A–Z listing works well too but I would love to know who it is that thinks that Brighton Rocks, a favourite haunt of mine, is a ‘traditional pub’ or dated the barstaff at The Crescent in Clifton Hill as the oldest in town – surely a mistake.

The back of the book has quizzes and jokes, all rather jolly stuff and at £9.99 makes it both useful and entertaining.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Amazon Reviews

The book is now properly available via Amazon, as well as through WHSmiths and Waterstones online. Its also now for sale in the Brighton Tourist Information and the Brighton Pavilion Shop.
Heres a couple of reviews from Amazon customers:
"Whether you've lived in Brighton for years or are an exchange student looking for a suitable venue, this guide offers all you need to know, and for an affordable price! Highly recommended!"

"It covers every pub and bar in Brighton and is dead easy to use. The A-Z section means you only need to know the name of the pub and you can turn to it in seconds. Then you get the overall rating (%) and ratings for Beer, Atmosphere, Entertainment, Decor/Garden, Barstaff and Food, plus some comments. There are maps showing the pub locations, suggested pub crawls, a guide to clubs and other sections like jokes, games and puzzles."

Good stuff!