Having spotted North Laine Brewhouse ales in pubs and bars across Brighton, I was excited to go to the home of Brighton brewing to try it all first hand.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed the North Laine pub is located in North Laine, a short walk away from the main bulk of shops and Brighton Dome. The pub commandeers a street corner with tables wrapped around the outside and huge bay windows overlooking Victoria Gardens. The interior is classically mismatched, stylish Brighton – industrial lighting opposite delicate strings of fairy lights, reams of bunting opposite exposed brick walls and, of course, the huge brewing tanks where the ales are produced. And, as it was Pride weekend, the Greek style bust was decked out in rainbow flags.
We visited the North Laine on a warm Friday evening. The tables outside were full but inside was cool and airy. There was a cosy corner draped in velvet but the rest of the pub was open, encouraging the fun, social vibe. A giant wooden hummingbird overlooked our table and behind us was a pinball machine - quirks to show North Laine isn’t just your traditional pub.
The Food and Drink
So, full disclosure: I'm not usually a beer drinker. And North Laine definitely caters for the non-beer people out there with a huge selection of spirits, wine and even a few cocktails. But I wanted to do them justice and so I ordered a pint – The Lock In (£4.10). I was pleasantly surprised – it was light and easy to drink, with a hint of pineapple. My dinner mate, being a more seasoned ale drinker, went for Deadwood (£4.20), a darker ale with a Bourbon taste which got the seal of approval. We finished with a pint of the Pride weekend special This Woman's Work (£3.35) which was a dark ale with a warm almost spicy taste I couldn’t quite put my finger on…but I did know it was definitely tasty!
The menu isn't huge but manages to cover a range of dishes from bar snacks to starters and larger meals. I was heartbroken to hear the waffle machine wasn't working and so I wouldn't be able to have Chicken 'n' Waffles (£10)...but the Lamb Burger (£10) I went for instead more than made up for it. Served on a brioche bun with a zing of bright pink beetroot tzatziki, the burger was juicy and I savoured every bite. My dinner mate had the huge slab of Chicken Sandwich (£9). Again, this was cooked perfectly, juicy with just the right amount of zesty citrus and served with a dollop of chipotle slaw - all made in house, of course. My dinner mate commented that there were "far too many chips" and I reminded him that there was no such thing. Especially these crispy on the outside, fluffy on the outside, dusted with rock salt French fries. We finished the meal with the Laines Sundae (£5), refreshing homemade vanilla and strawberry ice cream; it literally put the cherry on top of our meal.
From the table of people putting together their Pride outfits to the Polaroids of the staff and patrons around the pub, North Laine Brewhouse felt like going to a mate’s for pre-drinks and everyone was invited. The service was quick and the staff were happy to chat and make educated suggestions with the food and drink. Warm and welcoming, they definitely made us feel like part of the crew. The music was upbeat, playing everything from reggae to hip hop to electro swing and a DJ started at 9pm to keep the party going into the night. The pub was busy but never felt overcrowded and seemed to be full of similar-minded people looking to just enjoy their Friday night in a cool venue with their friends.
North Laine Brewhouse is the perfect place to grab your friends and get a delicious bite to eat and try some truly locally brewed ales. They’re clearly passionate about their food and drink and are keen to make sure everyone has a good time. I’ll definitely be taking a trip back – hopefully when their waffle machine is fixed.