8 million people can’t be wrong (unless you take into account viewing figures for The X-Factor, natch). That’s about the number of people who visit Brighton every year, and a substantial proportion of them, in fact some weekends it feels like most of them, are Stag and Hen parties. Certainly residents rarely raise an eyebrow nowadays when they see 20 guys in wrestling outfits approaching, one of them wielding an inflatable lady. So what’s so special about the place? And what is there to do? Read on for Brighton stag do ideas.
Why so popular? Well, the weather down there on the south coast may have something to do with it, as might the ease of access from London. Plus there’s the sheer number of activities and events on throughout the year. But simply put, Brighton is the party capital of the UK.
Often known as London-on-Sea, Brighton began life as a simple fishing village before the Prince Regent, he of Blackadder fame and soon to be King George IV, turned it into a fashionable health spa and resort town. He built the bizarre Pavilion, which was partly inspired by the Taj Mahal, and there are several drinking holes around the city that pay tribute to one of the original hellraisers (for instance the popular Fitzherberts pub in the North Laines is named after George’s favourite mistress).
While we’re on the subject of pubs, Brighton has around 900 of them, which would present a challenge even to Oliver Reed. So why not let iamthebestman be your guide to ensure you get the most from what this bohemian, scenic and downright funky city has to offer.
Brighton Stag Do Ideas: Orientating Yourself
Before we get on to specific Brighton stag do ideas, it’s probably worth getting a little orientated with the geography. Brighton and Hove Actually as the HIL-arious t-shirts consistently point out, is relatively compact. There are several distinct areas for going out, all within a short walk or few minutes’ taxi ride from each other, so it’s quite possible to cover the city’s highlights over the course of a long, drunken weekend.
East of the Palace Pier, Kemptown is where you’ll find most of the city’s gay community, although many of the older generation are now moving to Hove, presumably to escape all the racket. The Pink Pound is very strong in Brighton – there’s a bundle of bars and clubs running up St James Street from the Old Steine junction, and along the side roads off it. It can get pretty wild around Kemptown, especially during the massive Pride festival every summer. Essentially anywhere with a rainbow sticker or flag outside the door is a gay-friendly establishment, but to be honest you’re going to have a fair idea by the time you’ve ordered your first round. The vibe round there is relaxed, exotic, and generally trouble-free. Brighton stag parties rarely venture far up St James Street, but there are several decent bars and pubs up there that cater for a straight crowd.
Just down from the train station, the North Laines are the beating heart of Brighton’s counter-cultural and bohemian arts scene. Wandering around in the daytime you’ll find buskers on every corner, the joys of the cavernous flea market Snoopers’ Paradise to explore, and more quirky independent shops, cafés and pubs than you can shake a stick of Brighton rock at. It’s a great place to ramble around for a few hours and grab a bite, but at night few of the venues are really Stag-friendly, with one notable exception being the Post & Telegraph near the Pavilion.
The South Laines, on the other hand, are where most Brighton stag dos end up. Separated from the North Laines by North Street, this is a much more commercial area, lined with jewellery and clothing shops, novelty cupcake stores, and big, lively venues attracting a mixed crowd. It gets really busy on summer weekend evenings, particularly around Ship Street and Middle Street. There are some fantastic traditional pubs tucked away to get the night off to a good start (big shouts out to the Cricketers and the Bath Arms), after which it’s a matter of moments to reach the more bustling pleasure-pots, or the seafront and West Street. The South Laines are known for their winding, narrow passageways, so take care not to get lost when you’re under the influence.
This is what a Brighton stag do is all about. It’s not hard to find the beach – just head straight down from the train station and keep walking until a seagull nearly takes your head off. Besides the art galleries, seafood restaurants and buskers forcing out a tune on the steel drums, there are masses of swinging bars and clubs in the stretch between the Palace Pier and the West Pier, catering to all musical preferences, and no Brighton Stag weekend would be complete without taking this scene in. Many of them are open for food during the day too.
Impossible though it is not to mention West Street when discussing Brighton Stag do ideas, it has to be said that this is a pretty rough area. Expect massive pubs and clubs serving up scantily-dressed ladies, guys in Ben Sherman threads, chart hits, drinks offers and naturally a vigilant, over-stretched police presence throughout the night. The Lazer Zone halfway down is pretty good for some shoot-em-up antics though.
Brighton Stag Do Ideas During the Day
Now, of course you can indulge yourselves to your hearts’ content in the traditional Brighton Stag do ideas, but this city is a real one-off, so we’d also like to showcase some of the more unusual Brighton stag do ideas. And keep an eye out for celebs as you go. Fatboy Slim, Dave Gilmour and, ahem, Chris Eubank, all call Brighton home.
There are abundant quad-bike centres within an hour’s drive of Brighton, the closest being Quad Nation, half an hour away in Hailsham. Suitable for beginners and more advanced riders, you’ve got 90 acres of “peaceful” forest to blaze through and lots of different routes to try. Always up there on the favourites list this is one of a few Brighton stag do ideas that should be your list.
One of the more alternative Brighton stag do ideas you may want to consider, that can take place on the pier, is getting the grooms fortune read in a gypsy caravan! Not only that but it also offers a plethora of other activities including old-fashioned slot machines, a frankly terrifying ride over the open sea and of course good old fish ‘n’ chips. Incidentally if the fortune teller predicts steep consumption of alcohol and a kebab on the way home – ask for your money back, because that’s cheating!
Sort the Mavericks from the Icemen. Between the pier and the Marina, just opposite the Concorde 2 nightclub, lies the Yellowave Beachsports centre. where professional volleyball teams regularly duke it out in various tournaments. When you rock on up you’ll find six sandy courts, a small bouldering wall, and a brightly-lit cafe/bar. Either book a training session or just have a knockabout in the sunshine, finishing off with a few beers while you watch the action. Also available and another one of our Brighton stag do ideas is beach football – play ala Cantona – just don’t karate kick a spectator or you could end up with more than a nine month ban from the game.
No Brighton Stag do ideas guide would be complete without a mention of paintballing. Only 10 minutes drive from the city, Demolition Paintball is an epic day out. There’s some classic games as well as some more innovative and challenging ones, and good deals available on ammo. Set in beautiful woodland on the South Downs, be sure to equip your Stag with a day-glo t-shirt so he can be easily targeted.
About half a mile further east is the Marina, where there’s a selection of boats to charter. The skipper will take you out to the best fishing spots, show any newbies the ropes, and with a bit of luck you’ll be reeling in a clutch of mackerel to barbecue up for lunch. On-board bars and PA systems make these boats one of the best Brighton stag do ideas, but perhaps best avoided when the sea is rough.
The French are starting to get a bit worried about the wine producers on our south coast, and with good reason. A combination of warmer weather, state-of-the-art technology and talented professionals mean that Sussex vintners like Bolney Wine Estate are proving a real challenge to the continental greats. Tours, including tastings, usually run from February to November. Don’t forget to spit lads.
Another staple of Brighton stag ideas is of course go-karting. Take a spin around one of the UK’s best circuits with Team Sport in nearby Lancing. Prices starts from only £38 per driver, with up to 150 minutes of non-stop driving per team, round a twisty-turny track featuring a classy Monaco-style tunnel and a flyover. Trophies for the top three teams, and grub available on-site.
Wetsuits at the ready. Brighton is one of the UK’s leading watersports locales, and various outfits on the seafront offer paddle boarding (that’s where you stand up and paddle, like a gondola – easier than it sounds), kayaking, jetskiing and kite-surfing. Pro-tip: If you fall in, try not to swallow too much water. Evian it ain’t.
Get yourselves down to the Komedia club in the North Laines to catch some of the country’s hottest stand-ups running through their routines. This huge beer-hall type place is always packed to the rafters and what better way could there be to start off the night by having a few pitchers and getting your giggle on. Conveniently, it’s also situated right next door to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen where you can line your stomach in advance.
Ever fancied yourself as Sly Stallone in Cliffhanger? No, us neither really, but here’s your chance to see if you’ve got what it takes anyway in one of the more original Brighton stag do ideas. Boulder Brighton, on the border with Portslade, is one of the city’s newest and most adrenaline-pumping joints. There’s a choice of colour-coded routes to the top, ranging from Easy to Difficult to Someone Get a Ladder, Quick.
These are all the rage these days aren’t they? So no surprise to see it pop up and growing in popularity as one of the more alternative Brighton stag do ideas. If this tickles your fancy then head to the Craft Beer Company on Upper North Street. Stocking a gargantuan selection of cask, keg and bottled beers from independent British breweries and around the world, it’s not easy on your wallet, but if you want to expand your hop horizons, this is the place to do it.
We like to include at least one free Brighton stag do idea and the beach offers up just that. If the weather is good, head for the stones and soak up the sun. The area between the two piers is where most of the action takes place. Bring along some disposables BBQs and a few cases of beer (please take your rubbish with you!) and soak up the vibes, or take in some of the seafront bars – there’s always a decent band on at Gemini, and abundant outside seating. Alternatively, the Fortune of War is a top day-drinking locale. Inside it’s done up like a pirate ship, while outside there’s wooden tables right on the beach and good music pumping from the speakers – a great venue for any Brighton stag weekend.
Night-time Brighton Stag Do Ideas
Spoilt for choice doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Brighton is swimming in cool nightspots, although note that many door staff are wary of Stag groups, especially later in the evening, so check in advance for conditions of entry, and consider splitting your group up until you’re inside. Partnering up with a few ladies in the queue is also a tried-and-tested tactic of course.
Brighton Stag Do Ideas for Pubs
Scattered around the city are some choice beer gardens that make splendid locations for a Brighton stag do. The split-level one at the popular Lion & Lobster off Western Road stands out, as does the spacious zone at the Sidewinder in Kemptown, right at the top of St James Street. Both of them good-natured, quirky pubs with a lot going for them. The Good Companions is another fine option, although its location at Seven Dials puts it a fair distance from the rest of the action. The Wagon & Horses in the North Laines is a great place to start off, with a good atmosphere, reasonably-priced ale, and a decent outside space right in the thick of it to watch the world go by. On West Street you have Yates and the Bright Helm, a ‘Spoons branch, but these can get rowdy late at night so smart Stag-gers give them a wide berth if things look dodgy.
Brighton Stag Do Ideas for Bars
Also on West Street there’s your standard Revolution, Oxygen and Wahoo bars – as you can see it’s not difficult to get a proper crawl going in this area, and to be fair, if this is the kind of place your team are interested in, then these bars do what they do very well – chart hits, plenty of drink offers, and they are used to accommodating Brighton Stag dos. In a similar vein there is the Font, in the South Laines, in a converted chapel no less – takes all sorts. Oh So Social, just next to the Palace Pier, is a cool seafront bar, again with a beer garden, and usually some decent DJs too. Also worth a mention as one of the alternative evening Brighton stag do ideas is Lucky Voice on Black Lion Street, and one of the plusher karaoke bar chains – release your inner Tina Turners, you know it makes sense.
Brighton Stag Do Ideas for Clubs
Pryzm, at the foot of West Street, is where many Stag and Hen groups wind up at the end of the night, and it does the job brilliantly. Six rooms, a specialist vodka bar, three dancefloors, and a choice of EDM, House, R&B and Disco classics make this the ultimate all-rounder for any Brighton stag weekend. Book ahead and secure queue-jump, as well as VIP Booths. Be rude not to really.
If Pryzm doesn’t sound like your bag, and it doesn’t suit everyone to be fair, then your best bet for clubbing is the seafront. Joints like Shoosh and Life attract big name DJs for specialist nights, and an up-for-it crowd. Thing is though, this is Brighton fellas. Wherever you end up you’re going to have a good time.
As far as Hen nights go, they mostly head for Pryzm or Life, via West Street and the South Laines, where bars such as the Mesmerist and Dirty Blonde are very popular. (Hint: If want one of the really unusual Brighton stag do ideas, and you’re in this area, try and find Little East Street, and you can visit the alleyway where Leslie Ash and Phil Daniels had their famous knee trembler scene in Quadrophenia).
Suggested Brighton Stag Do Bar Crawl
Starting early afternoon, cruise the seafront area and take in a few cold ones at the Fortune of War, Oh So or Gemini. Plenty of decent food around here including some lovely seafood fresh off the boats. Move into the North Laines as things get busier, and make the most of the patio at the Wagon and Horses. From there it’s a five minute walk to the Cricketers in the South Laines where there’s also outside space and often a decent band on, and by about 9pm the area will be heating up. There’s some good Italian food around there if your stomachs are growling. At this stage you’ll have the option to head for the bars on West Street such as Revolution and hook up with some Hens over drinks promotions, or spend more time in the Laines – the Mesmerist is a good place to continue if so, with good funky music and a relaxed, friendly crowd. By around midnight you can take your Brighton stag party to grab a bite, head to the casino or strip club, or move in the direction of a club. Life and Shoosh are reliable for a good time, but Pryzm is the Grail for many Brighton Stags and Hens. Finish up with an all-night breakfast at Buddies with its 24-hour bar and jukebox.
Brighton Stag Do Ideas for Eats ‘n’ Sleeps
When it comes to soaking up all the booze, there’s about as many joints to do that as there are places to do the damage in the first place. The South Laines and Western Road (the main shopping road with all the big brands that runs from the clock tower into Hove) are particularly well-served with fast-food options. Al Duomo and Donatellos, as the names suggest, are two big, colourful Italians, used to feeding hungry Brighton Stag groups. There’s also the legendary Buddies and the Market Diner where you can get an all-night breakfast. The MD’s GutBuster at under £10 is great value, and guaranteed to set you up for the following day, if not the rest of the week.
Stag weekends in Brighton shouldn’t involve much sleeping but if you’re really desperate to get some shut-eye, worry not. Although hotels get very busy during peak months, there’s plenty of them. Big chains like Travelodge, Holiday Inn and Premier Inn are conveniently located for all the nightlife, but there are numerous other places like the Blue Lagoon and the Regency that regularly welcome Brighton Stag do groups. There’s also dozens of smaller guesthouses, B&Bs, as well as houses and flats that can be rented by the weekend. Bring earplugs if you’re staying near the seafront, the seagulls follow the fishing boats out every morning and they make an almighty racket.
When to Have a Brighton Stag Weekend
There’s always something on in Brighton, it’s a place that can’t sit still for a minute, like a hyperactive child that knows where mum keeps the biscuit tin. But good Brighton stag do ideas for weekends include the Great Escape, held in May, a citywide music festival; the Fringe, when many well-known stand-ups are in town trying out their Edinburgh material, and the amazing Food & Drink Festival which runs for two weeks every April and September.
Don’t just take our word for it…
We’re confident that the city guides here at iamthebestman offer the best guides for Brighton Stag weekends, but if there’s anywhere you think we’ve missed, or you’ve got beef with our suggestions, then please get in touch, and tell us your Brighton stag do ideas we’d love to hear from you!