Top 5 Brighton Music Venues for First Dates
by Neil W. Shaw
Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to Brighton, you‘ll be aware of how much musical activity there is in the town. With at least two music colleges providing a healthy stream of young musical talent every year, the town has a constantly refreshed arsenal of musical fire power. Combine all of this with hundreds of bars and clubs and it provides a perfect environment for these DJs and musicians to entertain on a night on the tiles with a potential significant other.
But which venues provide the best environment for a date? It’s certainly a broad question and it depends on a lot of factors. Here’s the low-down on the top recommendations.
1. The Green Door Store
Before The Green Door Store opened a few years ago, the Brighton live music scene was showing signs of criticality. With closures of The Pressure Point, The Freebutt, The Barfly and The Engine Rooms, bands were quickly running out of places to play. The opening of The Green Door Store was a much needed shot in the arm for the scene and continues to show how successful these types of venues can be.
Nights vary from bands to DJs, to a mixture of both, so there’s usually something for everyone. The GDS doesn’t really have an agenda music-genre-wise so you could find blues one night and then a doom guitar band the next, with a DJ night after the bands, playing big band, ska, 50s and so on. As a date venue it has versatility on its side, and chances are you’ll be able to find some musical common ground at one of the many nights here. Just remember at peak times the queues are immense so get in quick!
2. Concorde 2
This venue is one of the biggest in town and whilst it’s a bit of stroll from the centre it could prove a perfect destination on an audiophile date. A few drinks on the way could be had at various taverns such as The Mucky Duck, The Black Dove (discussed below), and The Royal Oak, or even dinner at the lovely Muang Thai at the top of St James’s Street.
Concorde 2 lays claim to being Brighton’s number 1 music venue, and with a constant stream of some of the biggest names in music and epic club nights who can say otherwise? Just check out their line-up to see for yourself. If the date’s going well, the conversation’s flowing but the noise from the bands gets too much, then the Concorde 2 bar provides a safe haven and an intimate escape from the action.
3. The Black Dove
One from the left-field, if you’re looking for a less full-on experience, then The Black Dove might be worth a look. This comfortable little bar at the top of St James’s Street takes an enormous amount of pride in the experience it offers its punters. Professionally made cocktails, all manner of interesting beers and lagers, organic wines and irresistible bar snacks are the order of the day.
An eclectic mix of music awaits you and your date. Live acoustic performances throughout the week showcase local rhythm & blues, and folk artists, whilst at the weekend some of Brighton’s best DJs take the decks, such as Mo’ Taters (second Friday of the month), which features one half of Brighton’s legendary ‘Stay Sick’ duo, and PARADiSO! (first Saturday of the month), which showcases the spinning of The Big Itch DJ Matt Watson. This place certainly has its finger on the pulse of the vintage music scene.
4. The Mesmerist
This popular venue in the centre of town has become a real hot spot in the last few years. Everything about the place is proudly unconventional and it fits into Brighton for this very reason. The Mesmerist has a lively, friendly atmosphere and serves good food, has a well-stocked bar with cocktails made by proficient staff and has a healthy roster of entertainment – be it burlesque performers, magicians or music.
Bands here play swing, jazz, rockabilly, folk/acoustic. It’s generally the type of music that isn’t an assault on the ear-holes, which makes it ideal for a date. If dancing’s your thing, then resident DJ Dave Walker will be on hand to assist, spinning 40s/50s/60s R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, jump blues, gospel, jazz, Jamaican ska and much more. Phew!
5. The Prince Albert
No Brighton music list would be complete without The Albert – it’s simply a Brighton institution. Most would have known it for its John Peel and Banksy artwork, but those days are now gone and a new piece of art is now in place, paying homage to some of the biggest names in music. The Prince Albert promotions crew sure have some pulling power and attract some fairly well-known names to what is, to all intents and purposes, a very intimate venue.
Gigs are regularly scheduled for several nights a week and showcase bands from near and far. The pub itself is a cosy little place with subsections that provide a breakaway from the noise of the gig venue for a post-gig natter. The food is also very tasty and a rotation of specials on the board provides variety. For a date venue this pub actually has a lot going for it.
As for other venues, The Blind Tiger ought to get a mention as it has a regular stream of entertainment and the interior is much improved since the Hector’s House days. Additionally, open mic nights are extremely prevalent around the city in venues such as The Bee’s Mouth, The Hope, The Gladstone, The Office, and the list goes on…
What are your favourite music venues in Brighton for dates?
About Neil Shaw:
Neil W. Shaw is a wedding and events photographer and blogger in Brighton who loves capturing the fun of Brightonian life, and love between people.
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