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.

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, d├ęcor/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.

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