A taste of Brighton Bohemia – and some Starfish Vintage fashion

Sometimes (quite often, actually) I feel like a very lucky lady. Yesterday, my partner whisked me off on the train to Brighton for a date night with a twist; within a couple of hours of our arrival (bathed in unprecedented evening sunshine) I’d bought a dream dress from my fave Brighton vintage fashion store and discovered the coolest new bar and restaurant in town…

I love Brighton, and when M told me he’d organised a night in the very respectable (and very central) Queen’s Hotel, with overnight babysitting to boot, I was well chuffed. Fresh off the train I flew straight into Starfish Vintage and laid my hands on a wonderful sequined 1960s shift dress; hot pink and heavy, it is sooooo my kinda frock.

After a quick change, and cocktails on the roof terrace at Hotel du Vin, we rushed to grab an absolutely delicious and flavour-rich dinner at Bohemia (OK, so the photos of The Beatles chairs on Top Table got us there, but there’s so much more to this venue than kitsch memorabilia). The evening panned out with old fashioned pints at the Druid’s Head and a trend-tastic 50s revival boogie at The Mesmerist. Phew.

Follow all that with a sun-soaked Sunday exploring the city and you have a very happy Fashion Detective. More of the Sunday shenanigans another time. For now, here’s a little peek at our fashionable night on the Brighton tiles…

Scene of the crime: Starfish Vintage (in the North Laines) is one of my fave vintage stores. I’m told the clothes are sourced from Italy, so they really have that special somethin’ somethin’
Checking out the sea view from our Queen’s Hotel room after slipping into the new (old) dress (good job I’d packed those pink wedges)
Checking in; The dress was £60 – a brilliant price considering how heavily beaded and embellished the 100% pure silk is
First stop, Hotel du Vin Brighton for a “pear drop” cocktail on the roof terrace
New dress, sunshine, sea air, booze – all the ingredients for a good night out
Bohemia was our find of the night. The Beatles chairs were clearly a draw, but when we arrived we realised that the whole place is special
I want this in my kitchen – does that surprise you?
Fresh herbs on the bar are always a good sign, and Bohemia did not disappoint. The cocktails are delectable – and mixed by friendly, bubbly and knowledgeable staff
And just look what can happen when you dig deeper into the cocktail menu (the “air”, “foam” and “dry ice” cocktails must be seen to be believed)
This, kids, is the “Smoked Coffee Old Fashioned” with Makers Mark Bourbon and ground coffee with homemade Szechuan Tea gomme served in a smoking coffee percolator: Next time you’re in Brighton you MUST try one
I opted for a “Velvet Cravat” (Stolichnaya Vodka shaken with strawberry liqueur, cloudy apple juice, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil leaves) – it was sweet *and* savoury, that’s for sure
And just when we thought this venue was all about the drinks, our food arrived: I ate ham hock terrine with a Parmesan crust, followed by the simply sensational pan fried sea bream – fresh, and funky, the food made our taste buds dance
Stylish, sexy and thoroughly bo-ho, Bohemia has the full package. Eat early (food is served until 8pm) so you can party all evening with a mixed, mainly 30-something crowd, and try those mighty fine (not to mention fascinating) cocktails. It’s a real pot of gold on Meeting House Lane


Written by Johanna Payton