It’s a lucky seaside resort that has a landmark as lovely as Brighton Pier. A pier like this, with integrated amusement park can only be seen here – anything else is just a copy. As original as it is undiminished is the soft spot held by Londoners for their favourite sophisticated day trip spot, ever since George IV had his Royal Pavilion built here in 1815 in the extravagantly exotic Maharajah style. Over many decades, Brighton acquired a reputation as a sanctuary and extravagant location for those who had grown tired of the city, as well as an outdoor space for all kinds of eccentrics, as a party hub and rainbow metropolis – and it still does justice to this reputation.
There are meanwhile 1,000 pubs to 270,000 current residents, and the number of cultural festivals and the concentration, variety and quality of restaurants, clubs and concerts is even impressive by London’s standards. This evening we are drawn to “The Office” in the pubbing and clubbing area of North Laine – the pub was recently featured in the “Great British Pub Awards” in the “Best Spirits” category. Manager Sarah Hale lets us sample the best of the 45 gins they have, while on the pub walls we read the exciting, more than 200-year-old history of this juniper berry spirit. The kitchen serves this with a really good Thai curry. Strange mixture? Well, we are in Brighton.