The Hope & Ruin

The Hope Brighton gigSituated right down from the station and not too far away from the beach, this spacious venue is popular with the post-work and student crowds alike.

While a lot of people come to the Hope & Ruin for the friendly, laid-back attitude and the fact that it stays open nice and late, the rest arrive for the music. The bar’s outdoor sign, which features a logo of a retro Orange amp, should set the evening’s tone well.

Upstairs you’ll find a 100-capacity venue, Hope Live, where the venue hosts four or five gigs and club nights a week. It is here that you can catch both local indie types as well as touring acts from around the world. Downstairs, expect an assortment of old but comfy sofas, a jukebox, a pint or four of something cold and a good playlist soundtracking the night. If you fancy a bite to eat, then the bar’s tapas and pizza menus should do the trick.

Best Bars tip: The Strokes, Adele and The White Stripes have all played at The Hope over the years. We suggest catching an up-and-coming band here while they’re still up-and-coming. You never know…

– Heather Steele, @steeleheather

The Hope Brighton

Dusk Til Pawn

Dusk Til Pawn ManchesterDusk til Pawn is Manchester’s answer to a New York-style speakeasy: hidden behind a fake pawn shop window, you’re unlikely to find this spot by accident.

Enter the dark room within and the bartenders will mix you any cocktail you so desire. Try the classic Smoky Old Fashioned — served in a smoked jam jar, you have to be patient and wait for the smoke to infuse in the dark, rich whisky. The sweet Pawn Star Martini will entertain you as it lightens up the dark bar while the passionfruit flamboyantly burns off.  Want to go off menu? Ask for the award-winning Integral Mind Boom. It’s a unique mix of Irish whiskey, almond, tabasco, fresh basil, lime and ginger ale. And with over 20 bourbons on offer, you can’t go wrong with the stuff.

For the crowd, think hip and bearded yet still mellow and friendly. And for a cheeky dance, you can head next door to Noho. As they say, “every exit is an entrance somewhere”.

Best Bars tip: Get there early – it’s small, so tables are at a premium. Perfect for late afternoon drinking to start your night off (with a free jukebox to boot), but beware, you may never want to leave.

— Bacon on the Beech

Slim Jim’s Liquor Store

Slim Jim's Liquor Store AngelYou know you’re in for some good ol’ fashioned trouble when you step into a bar and immediately need to peel your shoes off the floor. Slim Jim’s Liquor Store takes you straight into downtown LA, and feels like a 100% authentic brick-walled dive.

Don’t worry too much about the leather jacket-clad gentleman at the door, he’s just a regular. One rule about getting in though: no suits, absolutely NO suits. So throw on your best rock and roll tatters and be ready to whip off your bra for a free drink – check out the impressive lingerie collection hanging from the ceiling.

This is party-time Americana at its best and grungiest. It’s open seven days, always late, with a (sometimes) free jukebox cranking out classic tunes – from BRUUUUUUCE to Joy Division. So let’s get turbo-sh*tfaced on the bountiful bourbons.

Best Bars tip: Happy hour is a rather impressive affair here – between 5-8pm every day (except Saturday) you can get 2-for-1 cocktails, draught beers for £3 and cut-price house spirits. Oh yeah, Pickleback Tuesdays are a must since you can throw back four of those suckers for a tenner.

— Sasha Filimonov, @SashaSips

Slim Jim's Liquor Store Angel