The best cocktail bars in Brighton

Nestled between the beach and the South Downs, Brighton is 50 miles from London and a popular spot for tourists both from the UK and overseas. It has a wonderful cafe and pub culture, with a wide variety places to gain some refreshment, whether your favourite tipple is a well roasted coffee, local real ales, Norwegian vodka, or specialist ciders.

The city is not over-run by cocktail bars, but there are some very nice places to enjoy them. This is our pick of the top places to enjoy a cocktail in Brighton:

Koba - 135 Western Road

Probably Brighton's best known cocktail bar, Koba has a small frontage on Western Road near Waitrose, hiding three floors of well appointed rooms. Some of the rooms are available for hire, so if you have a party to host, they can provide a room with it's own small bar with staff experienced in making excellent cocktails.

Koba has an intimate feel as it's a collection of rooms rather than one continuous space. The ceilings downstairs are high, but in one of the upstairs rooms is a little low and it felt a bit claustrophobic on my last visit. The cocktails, however, can't be faulted. They make a particularly good Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil, handling it much better than most bars in the UK.

Las Iguanas - 8 Jubilee Street

The newest bar listed here, Las Iguanas has made a very positive impression on Brighton in the few years it has been open. Situated in the heart of the North Laine, next to Brighton's main library, Las Iguanas has a open, airy feeling with lots of low level seating, making the best of it's size. Although smaller than Koba overall, it feels much larger as it's all one room. Half of the area is a restaurant in the day, and can be converted to a dance floor at night.

As you'd expect from somewhere with a sign saying it is a "Cachaca Bar", their Caipirinha's are also very good and an authentic taste of Brazil.

Riki Tik - 18 Bond Street

From the street, Riki Tik looks like someone's tried to cram a bar in to their hallway, rather than being a proper venue. However, once you go inside past the bar you'll find a spacious area split in to comfortable zones.

They often host local DJs, with most of Brighton's best having played there in over the years, and they take their music mix very seriously, so there is always a cool new tune to hear every time you visit. Occasionally they use the back wall for projecting art house movies on special film nights.

Riki Tik is best enjoyed with a large group of friends and one of their jugs of Long Island Iced Tea, which is particularly good.

Browns - 3-4 Duke Street

The least cocktail bar-like of the selection here, Browns advertises itself as first and foremost a restaurant, but historically it's always been a favourite for Brighton's cocktail drinkers and they still make lovely tasting drinks.

Browns is all wood panelling and small tables, and very tastefully done. Early in the evening it's favoured by groups of work colleagues having a drink before going out on the town, and later by people who've been eating their excellent food enjoying some of their wide ranging drinks menu.

Once again, their Long Island Iced Tea is a highlight, but they can make a decent version of anything you'd care to name.

Personally, if I was out with a few close friends I'd choose Las Iguanas, or walk the few extra minutes to Browns if it was busy. If I had party to host, it would be Koba every time, and if I was still in my twenties, Riki Tiks would always feature at the start of my evening out.

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