Fed up with the digital age, and its techno new best friend? Like to enjoy good music with a slice of pizza and a swig (or two, or three) of high quality craft beer? If you answered yes to both of the above, North Laine's Dead Wax Social might be just the place for you, because it was for me.
Nestled in the heart of Brighton’s quirky epicentre, Dead Wax Social seems more than able to capitalise on the social buzz of the North Lanes, but also manages to set itself apart from its more upmarket and at times somewhat prissy neighbours. Having entered through a well lit bar area at the front, we were ushered up to our table in the main restaurant with the feeling of having snuck into a private gig.
Decked out with an eclectic mix of furniture – get there early and you can bag yourself a plush leather booth, arrive late and you might end up on a plastic chair that takes you straight back to secondary school - the venue’s down-to-earth vintage feel is echoed by its graffiti walls, which work to transport the diner straight back to the days of vinyl discs and record shops. The effective red mood lighting and scattering of table candles make for a sultry yet cosy feel, whilst the splash of excitement introduced by the occasional touch of neon suggest the night is far from over.
The Food and Drink
No frills and free from pretence, the food menu was simple but delicious. Made to choose from a selection of eight stone baked pizzas, we opted for a sophisticated number 3 (spinach, egg, black olives and parmesan, £8) and a meaty number 8 (pancetta, spicy Italian sausage, pepperoni, chorizo, red onion and basil, £10). We devoured both easily, happy to have gone for the more generous 12” sourdough base and even managing to find room for a side of cheesy garlic bread (£4).
Whilst the menu doesn’t pander to the sweet tooth, what it lacks in desserts it makes up for in craft beer. Each week a different selection of eight draught beers is available alongside a vast array of bottled varieties, prices ranging from £4.50-£6 depending on make and measurement. Obviously we made sure to sample both; my friend went for Nene Valley’s ‘Big Bang Theory’ on tap, a pale ale with a malty, sweet bitter finish, whilst I cleansed my palate with a bottle of Union’s ‘Unfiltered Lager’- its uninspiring name was made up for by its intense yet light flavour.
With old and new classics from the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Pet Shop Boys playing in the background, Dead Wax Social succeeded in bringing together the young and old to celebrate vinyl culture and do away with digital, for the evening at least. With the average age probably sitting at the late 20s mark, the restaurant layout caters for all occasions, from lively dinners with a large group of friends to an intimate drink with that special someone. The open kitchen only adds flavour to the laid-back vibe, the doughy smell of pizza making it almost impossible to resist placing a food order. And when you do want to place that order, the friendly and attentive staff are on hand to give you the lowdown on the craft beers and offer some helpful recommendations for making that all important food choice.
So there you have it. If top quality beer and authentic stone baked pizza is right up your street, Dead Wax Social is the only name you need to be looking out for. With something new to offer those longing for something old, these new digs offered the perfect mix of retro cool and good old fashioned simplicity.