“ 65 Upper St. James Street, Brighton. Tel: +44(0)1273 629927. „
Sidewinder, Upper St James Street It's kinda embaressing how many Zel boozers I have come to like, but in general terms they are all attractive, original and atmospheric boozers. I think its useful to contrast this with CSide boozers, which are less pubs and more bars, which is a subtle distinction but valid. The reason, I think, why Zel are better than Cside is that where Zel try to produce something that is in keeping with Brighton (ie raffish, slightly tawdry, humourous, kitsch and not overbearing) Cside want to bring Soho to Brighton, which is fair enough, except that if you want Soho, you can go to Soho. Cside pubs take themselves too seriously. A charge which can hardly be levelled at Zel. Anyway, a pint of Stella costs £2.70 in the Easy Bar, which is taking the piss. Anyway, I was pondering the Zel/Cside conundrum whilst supping a pint of Kroney (£2.75) in the Sidewinder. This pub is a real joy. The cavernous interior stretches way back to a pleasant outside area. There's another outside area with a carparky feel through a side-door. Wooden floors, ceiling fans and palm trees give colonial feel, maybe in South America or South East Asia. The Sidewinder is the kind of place the bright young expats might have chilled in had the British Empire persisted. It is sophisticated but not pre-possessing, stylish without arrogance. There is a pleasing variety of spaces too. There are big tables, small tables, medium tables, pews, bar stools, and also an unusual curved chesterfield. For as long as Zel can create boozers like this it is difficult to see where it will all end. Global domination perhaps? A Brighton empire, no doubt. It's difficult to argue with if they are all this good. However, I hear they pay their barstaff £3.75 an hour. Bad show.