I am always happy to be guided by local knowledge, so lets share some. We have recently been frequenting two local hostelries for "business" meetings. My default setting for a decent pint is somewhere on Hanover hill, it has been a refreshing change to dabble in Kemp Town, an unfortunate phrase if there ever was one.
The Bristol is a pub, not a restaurant, not a bar, a pub, yes some still exist. If you don't know it, it's the big place on the sea front in between the pier and Marina, with a big sign saying The Bristol.
It still appears to remain a secret, which is odd as it is a great space and in a prime location. The bar is large but you still get a personal touch, enjoy a well kept Harvey or one if the many wines by the glass (you can also buy wine by the carafe) and you're sure to end up in conversation with a local. This might also apply if you order a soft drink, but I cannot speak from experience.
The room has character, there is a rumour that modernisation is ahoy. It is large, but retains plenty of hidden corners for a quieter night.
There is also a well appointed, art deco style function room adjacent to the main bar which will seat sixteen comfortably. I enjoy the food, the menu isn't lengthy but covers the bases, it is good pub food at pub prices, the fish pie is hotter than a pitta pocket just out of the toaster.
If one exits left out of the front door, head up the hill to the junction and turn left again, wiggle west for about five minutes past one of Brighton's finest wine merchants and you will find The Ginger Dog. The Kemp Town arm of the already successful Ginger group, headed by ginger Ben and non ginger Pamela. Negotiate the velvet curtains, I'll leave that one hanging, at the entrance and you'll find a compact, well stocked friendly bar. You can drink, dine or both in the bar room, whereas the back room is set up for restaurant dining. There is also a private room upstairs which I would think could host twelve diners around one large table.
Interesting bar snacks are available as well as a comprehensive a la carte. It feels like the main focus is in the restaurant side of the business, which is great because the food is very good indeed, but don't let this stop you nipping in for a quick couple of drinks as the staff are fun and friendly and you will not feel out of place.
Giner Dog image source: Materialise