Be At One shakes up Brighton’s cocktail scene
Never have I waited with so much anticipation for a bar opening in Brighton, but the launch of one of the first Be At One bar outside of London is a momentous occasion for the nightlife of the city.
A bit of background first: Be At One was founded by three West End bartenders back in the late 90s having had their fill of lacklustre cocktails at bars that had more style than substance. The company slowly grew and over the past couple of years they’ve undergone a rapid expansion in London, keeping the same ethos of quality drinks with great service. Having experienced a couple of the central London bars, when I heard that they were heading to the coast I must say I felt more than a quiver of liquor-fueled excitement.
Lets start with the drinks. There are all the classics there plus lots of variations on a theme. Ingredients are top notch with plenty of showy dressing evident including more passionfruit than you can shake a stick at in the very boozy Cuban Zombie. Wanting to try a broad range of cocktails – all in the name of research, of course – I sampled the whiskey sour, gin Last Word, vodka Porn Star martini, and the aforementioned rum Zombie. All absolutely faultless and, just as importantly, consistent.
The bartenders know the entire menu of 120 plus drinks off by heart so there’s no dawdling or embarrassing flipping through crib books, which neatly brings me to the subject of service. These guys are not only skilled and fast – we all know there is nothing more tedious than waiting ten minutes for a cocktail –, they are also supremely cheerful. Not in an American “have a nice day sir” kinda way, but in a friendly, matey kinda way. It immediately puts you at ease and sets you up for a great night out.
Interiors are suitably dark and moody, and it was good to see high tables everywhere so on a busy night you don’t end up with someone’s rear end squashed into your face. Its little touches like that which put the customer experience first that really make all the difference. There is an upstairs room which is open on busy nights, or its available for private hire which I’m sure will be a popular option in Brighton.
Drinks are reasonably priced at £7-9 each, a price that certainly holds its own in Brighton where you can easily pay that price or more for a mediocre concoction. The news gets even better when you factor in the 2-for-1 happy hours that run Monday-Wednesday 4.30-8pm, Thursday-Saturday until 7pm, and all day Sunday. You can check out the full menu, and instructions on how to make all the drinks at home, on the Be At One website.
Be At One is the finest addition to Brighton’s bar scene in 2013, and I have no doubt in my mind that its going to be really shaking bar service up in the city in 2014.
Be At One, 5 Castle Square (bottom of North Street), Brighton, BN1 1EG
01273 777 200 • www.beatone.co.uk