On Friday 14th July, Mr Helfy and I popped down to the official launch party of Steinbeck & Shaw – a brand new bar that has just opened up in Brighton. For those of you who know Brighton well, you will know that at the bottom of West Street used to be the massive mainstream nightclub Oceana. Oceana is somewhere that was a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine back in the day (which may surprise my metalhead friends) but I must admit that I was not sad to see it go. It was a bit of a bit of a den of debauchery (and not in a good way).
After Oceana shut down, the venue soon reopened as Pryzm – pretty much the same as Oceana but I gather that it’s a bit nicer. I had never visited the venue in its life as Pryzm as it’s not really my scene anymore, but when Lime Green Communications invited me to the launch of a brand new cocktail bar on the premises, I was extremely excited. Getting to see my old haunt reinvented as a cocktail bar? Yes please!
When Mr Helfy and I arrived, we were greeted by very friendly and helpful staff on the door. We were taken inside and greeted by the venue manager, Damian. Damian very kindly took us on a private tour of the cocktail bar and also of the adjoining Lua Lalai Tiki Bar – a laid-back Tiki lounge. Damian explained that the whole idea of their new venture was to bring a bit of change to West Street. West Street doesn’t exactly have the best reputation, so Damian’s vision is to try to change that.
Just what Brighton needs
I have to say that I absolutely fell in love with this place. Steinbeck & Shaw is exactly what West Street needs – a bit of gentrification. The bar is very classy and it really stands out from everything within in the vicinity. The décor is not only fantastic to look at but it’s also intelligently done. The bar is named after two authors (Mr Steinbeck and Mr Shaw, funnily enough!) and the bar is subtly themed around their work. There are quotes from each author’s work graffitied on to the sofas and there are paintings on the walls that depict various novels of theirs.
My favourite part of the décor is probably the grand piano that has been splash-painted and has a horse mounted on top of it!
[Mr Helfy casually sipping a cocktail]
Lua Lalai Tiki Bar is also extremely cool too. It’s got a really laid-back atmosphere and is decorated very well. It feels like walking straight in to a Tiki hut.
[Lua Lalai Tiki Bar]
Now, on to the important bit. It’s all well and good having a beautiful and funky venue, but the reason that people will want to go there is to try the drinks. Being a huge cocktail fan (as if the blog name didn’t give it away…!), I consider myself to be a pretty good judge of cocktails. I’ve had many in my time and have been completely sworn off places because they’ve made me a decidedly dodgy drink. The cocktails in Steinbeck & Shaw are top notch. Damian kindly provided Mr Helfy & I with some free drinks so that we could have a taste and see what we thought. I opted for my favourite – a Pornstar Martini – which was delicious and very well presented. Mr Helfy opted for a Shades of Disco which tasted like Haribo sweets!
[Shades of Disco]
We enjoyed our cocktails so much that we decided to stay on a bit longer and have a few more. If you are a biscuit-lover, I would recommend ordering a Bourbon & Biscuits cocktail as it comes with an actual bourbon biscuit!
[Bourbon & Biscuits]
If you are some sort of heathen that doesn’t like cocktails, they still have something for you and your lack of tastebuds – craft beers, ciders and wine.
Not only are the cocktails of a very high standard, they are also really affordable too! They have one of the best happy hours that you could have:
Every day – 5-10pm, 50% off all drinks!
If you find yourself having had a few too many cocktails (if there even is such a thing!), they serve a few different kinds of pizza that may help to sober you up. I have to say that I wouldn’t be particularly keen to order the food as I think I may have spotted them taking the pizzas out of a packet rather than baking them fresh. That’s probably just me being fussy though – they did look tasty regardless.
Would I go back?
Absolutely! I can’t wait to go back to Steinbeck & Shaw. I may have just become my new favourite cocktail bar.
Are you planning to pop down to see this new addition to Brighton? Or have you already been down for a visit? Let me know!
**Disclaimer: I was invited to the venue by Lime Green Communications and was gifted free cocktails by Steinbeck & Shaw but all views are entirely my own.**