Brighton Speakeasy

 Last Friday sent us back the 1920’s, prohabition and bath tub brewing. At a secret location only revealed on the day was a Speakeasy bar hidden under the guise of a “coffee shop” held in Small Batch on Western Road, once the sun had gone down. The night was organised by the boys from Gin & Bear and Richard from Polygon Pop Up!

Gin & Bear It – These guys are a pop up bar using a classic car, fine gins and whatever else you need for an event. Aaron and John will have you covered if you’ve got a wedding, party or anything else requiring booze and beards.

Polygon Pop Up – Richard ran some great events up at 7 Dials throughout the summer with bars, food, burgers from London and much more. Nothing better than sitting up at 7 Dials, sipping on fine beers, while the sunsets. Word on the street is Rich is in talks to bring his summer pop up events back to 7 Dials again!


On Friday we all received the location of the event, Small Batch Coffee on Western Road, a large coffee house, perfect for a secret bar hidden away behind the coffee. Walking through the door I was greeted by one of the many actors giving the night another edge. I was offered a “cup of tea” – straight up, no milk was suggested. Of course this was no cup of tea, this was a gin cocktail disguised within a vintage cup and saucer. All the cups and saucers were from event styling and vintage china and prop hire company, Lavender Bazaar. I took my “tea” and moved around the many gloriously dressed individuals who had gone to great length for the night.


I ventured downstairs, where you could find a palm reader hidden away in a back room. I did not managed to visit her, the queue was constant and seemed very popular throughout the night. Instead, I went to find the speakeasy bar, greeted by a sister who wanted to know what I was looking for at the evening’s meeting. After a little role play conversation the doors to an old, vintage waredrobe were opened and, you guessed it,  this was not a waredrobe, this was a door into a bar with music, tables, chairs and a shed load of gin! The feel was completely different to the upstairs of the venue, smaller and more intimate with a sly, gritty feel to it. I personally preferred the vibe downstairs but then of course, back in the day everyone else would have – who wants coffee at 9pm on a Friday night during prohibition?!


Given this was the first of their joint pop ups and the first for the guys from Gin & Bear It, they had decorated the downstairs well, had posters made and the use of vintage china gave it an interesting twist. They had laid on some entertainment which was maybe not to taste for prudes, a live singer and keyboard player followed by a slightly odd sketch from a lady in a large red lamp shade, moving around the space to a sound clip of… Sexual sounds! Finally a burlesque dancer finished the entertainment for the evening. It was good to break up the evening with the entertainment, I don’t think they were not entertaining but equally feel they could have approached the entertainment / entertainer in a different way to make the best of the space and time on offer, but hey, it is their first shot after all and it can only improve each time with their apparent flair and bright ideas.


I don’t normally drink too many cocktails, my thing is mainly beer, but I did venture into the cocktail list. Maybe a little too much, I managed to sample each of the cocktails on the list. They were fairly priced after all! No surprise, but the one I enjoyed the most had to be the “The Bees Knees”, a beer based cocktail using Brighton Bier Co’s staple pale ale. These guys were also the house beer of the night and why not, a Brighton event with a Brighton beer, what could be better? All cocktails were made to order and no pre mixed in sight.


After speaking with John & Aaron I would certainly attend another event. They seem to have more good ideas and improvements up their sleeves. If you attended the night they have sent all of you an email requesting feedback, I know they’d like to hear it and be able to build on what they’ve started.

Until next time, cheers!

Disclosure: I was invited to the event in which I didn’t pay for a ticket. However, I don’t believe that this has had a bearing on my opinions. Many thanks to Richard, John & Aaron for the invite.

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