By now I’ve been to quite a lot of pubs. For food, quiet drinks or an evening of unapologetic hedonism, they are a staple of British life and provide a backdrop for countless different situations. The Park Crescent area feels like a miniature village nestled away just north of The Level. At the heart of which is the aptly named Park Crescent pub – a meeting place for the community and a place loved and maintained by locals. Walking in on an evening after a day in the office, my colleague and I are greeted with a low hum of regulars unwinding and the staff chatting and laughing away with them. One thing that catches my eye is the distinctive back bar, crafted by a local punter, which gives the entrance a smart and unique look. With low-hanging lamps across the bar shaped like the top of the Pavilion, this pub is Brighton-centric through and through.
As we’re directed to our table, classic songs are played at a low level. Catchy enough to tap our feet to, I feel like we’ve arrived home after a long day. The décor nods to the musical inclination of the city, adorned with old trumpets and guitars. To match this, there are posters up for the monthly Saturday evening swing music nights that bring the community together for a stomping time. These nights are hosted by local DJs and take attendees on a tour through jazz, jive, boogie-woogie and swing. As we settle in, we grab a couple of drinks. I go for a delicious Sauvignon Blanc (a favourite for me), while my colleague opts for a Brighton Gin and tonic. The latter seems fitting, as The Park Crescent was one of the first premises to stock the local spirit.
Our menus are presented to us from the franchised ‘Pickled Kitchen’, who work closely with landlord Kate and her team to perfect the dining experience. Studying our options, we decide to share king prawns with garlic and a sweet chilli sauce (£6.50). They arrive promptly and taste fresh with a meaty texture; gigantic in size, we’re impressed with our first course. For our main course, we indulge in a mixed meat grill (£13), consisting of succulent chorizo sausage, chicken breast and steak (cooked medium-rare). The chicken breast stood out for me in particular. Cooked to perfection and lightly seasoned, the chefs manage to present some of the moistest and most tender chicken I’ve ever eaten. Topped off with fat chips and salad, we contentedly recline in our seats and relax. The grill is great to share (unless you’re insatiably hungry) and brings more of a social aspect to our dining experience. Sharing our plates reminds us of being at a summer barbeque, picking and choosing while chatting away. The ingredients are all locally sourced, which always brings an extra special feel to a meal out.
Following our feast, we withdraw to the garden. We can tell that Kate has a keen eye for colour matching as the inside seamlessly transitions out. As we relax with drinks, we chat to Kate about the place. She tells us about their fantastic fortnightly quiz, held every other Wednesday. With a pub quiz game as big as Brighton’s, uniqueness is key. We learn of quizmaster and local, dubbed ‘John the Barnet’ (the reason for which is apparent if you have the pleasure of meeting him), who has a vast knowledge of all things musical and offers up creative rounds and dance offs for tiebreakers. From our evening in The Park Crescent, my colleague and I feel as if we’ve uncovered a hidden gem in the middle of a bustling community that is perfect for any kind of evening out.
The Park Crescent, 39 Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton, BN2 3HE