In The Hood

Anya Zervudachi talks to the owner of Neighbourhood, Ben Gill

What style of bar would you describe Neighbourhood as?
Neighbourhood is an industrial dive bar tipping its hat to  hang-outs. We strive for a friendly place with no airs or graces where you can kick back and enjoy yourself. We use the best ingredients around for our food and as local as possible. We use Bramptons Butchers for our meats as we trust the quality that they provide.

When it comes to the booze, we like anything that is not the run of the mill. I had some friends down from London and we went on a pub-crawl through the North Laine and even though we went to about six pubs, we could have been in the same place. The offerings and menus were so similar, I thought ‘this does not reflect what Brighton should be or is’ but you have to look a lot harder now to find individuality.

What is a dive bar and where did the concept originate from?
Well, the definition I most like is from a 1961 dictionary, which defined a “dive” as “a disreputable resort for drinking or entertainment”. For us, it’s somewhere you can kick back and relax after work, before going out or just hang out and catch up with the neighbourhood goings on, everybody’s welcome, dogs and children too!

So many places exclude too many, you know that awful sign that says “take your little darlings out of here by 7.30!” generally people do but do they need to be told. The Brooklyn link relates to the fact that the Brooklyn scene repelled against the expensive corporate-ness that became Manhattan, oh and we serve an Americana menu! We liked what was going on there and places like east London a few years ago and Berlin.

Neighbourhood has a very distinct look, where did you get the inspiration?
Neighbourhood was created using reclaimed and vintage furniture, mixed up with street art and put in the pot. All the soft furniture is handmade using original vintage 70’s fabrics. Individuality is its main component. The installation on the wall in the entrance was created by a local Brighton artist but we got it from a bankrupt shops’ frontage in Brighton. Pubs and bars are losing their independence and are having identikit refits. Brighton is becoming one big pubco and we don’t think that’s good!
What kind of drinks do you sell at Neighbourhood?
Again, it stem’s back to individuality. We want to try different craft beers from the normal offerings and we recently have got right into gins and small batch offerings. We recently purchased some very rare speciality gins from an auction to try, there are so many great little premium brands out there to try but with us you don’t not have to be in a posh cocktail bar to try them.

What makes your outside space so unique?
Our garden reflects the look of the interior – different. So many gardens are identikit spaces, when you go abroad their outside areas are the focus and that’s what we have tried to create. You can’t beat sitting in the sun with a cold one.

What’s on the menu at Neighbourhood?
The menu is American-based and burgers are a big part of that but my favourite is the Chocolate Louisiana Chilli, which is a recipe that Kim perfected and has been passed onto our chefs and our heart and soul is in that dish.

We serve breakfast from 10am – you should try one of the hashes – through lunch and onto dinner until close. Everything is priced reasonably as, being a neighbourhood bar, we want people to eat there frequently, daily even, and quite a few do.

Do you have any special offers, nights or events we should look out for?
Well, we all like a party and we do have garden parties and specialist BBQ’s through the summer, not loads but a few, mostly once and month through the happy sunny months.

We do a night on a Tuesday called Big Meat Boutique where we do our burgers for just £3. Tuesdays always seemed like a drag of a day to the weekend warrior so something that doesn’t hurt your wallet seemed appropriate. Thursdays are our alternative midweek offering and if you haven’t been to Boogaloo Bingo or Lynn Ruth Miller comedy night yet, you should.
Is Neighbourhood available for private hire?
Yes, we are available for private hire; we have a cabana at the back of the garden, which holds up to about 20 and a downstairs space as well if the weather is not on your side. We can cater for parties from 10 to 100.

For bookings or for more information please get in touch by calling 07787573610.

Would you like to win a party for you and your friends at Neighbourhood?

If you’ve got a special event coming up this summer or would just like to celebrate the sun make sure you don’t miss the chance to win a Pimms and Prosecco party at Neighbourhood.

Simply like and share the Neighbourhood Facebook page and the Absolute Facebook page for your chance to win a free party with your mates.