Info correct and checked: Summer 2009.
Scroll down for detailed reviews/explanations of each venue. If you know of others, feel free to add a comment at the bottom of this page. Please use the same format (One line with: name/type/secure/rating/sockets, then your own text review). I’ll try to visit them myself, and add my own reviews to the main article when I get time.
Note: each place is listed with 5 pieces of info:
– Name of venue
– Type of venue (restaurant, pub, cafe, etc)
– Is their Wifi encrypted? (see this article for why/how this matters)
– Rating (1 = terrible, 5 = perfect)
– Tables that have Electric sockets (either single or double), for recharging your laptop – how many in the venue?
- The Florist – Pub – Secure 5/5 (E:3)
- The Eddy – Pub – Secure 4/5 (E: 2)
- Regency Tavern – Pub – Secure 4/5 (E: 1)
- Earth and Stars – Pub – Insecure 4/5 (E: 2)
- Hampton Arms – Pub – Insecure 3/5 (E:?)
- Windmill – Pub – secure – 3/5 (E: some)
- The Tin Drum – Restaurant/Pub – Insecure 3/5 (E: 2)
- The Duke of Wellington – Pub – Secure 3/5 (E: 3)
- Prince of Wales – Pub – Insecure 2/5 (E:?)
- Cafe 37 – Internet Cafe – Secure 1/5 (E: 0)
- Cafe Nero – Cafe – Secure 1/5 (E: ?)
- Cafe Nia – Restaurant – Secure 1/5 (E: 1 – pay!)
And, the odd one out:
- Taylor St Barista – Cafe – None 0/5 (E:0)
(read on for details + map links)
The Florist – Pub – Secure 5/5 (E:3)
Decent pub, with a strong internet connection.
I give this one 5 because it has everything you need internet-wise, it’s close to the city centre, and it’s usually empty of people. That last bit may be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon what you’re looking for, but generally if you want to sit down and use wifi, quiet is a great thing (not so good for the landlord).
The Eddy – Pub – Secure 4/5 (E:2)
A popular but dark pub, often full of people (especially the 25-40 crowd). The layout makes it relatively quiet, even when standing-room only (unless there’s a football match on the big-screen TV).
Internet connection is usually solid and fast – but sometimes slow (I think some of the people living in flats in the streets around the corner use the wifi too).
Regency Tavern – Pub – Secure 4/5 (E: 1)
Quiet pub currently well-known for doing an especially good Sunday Roast lunch (although, this being Brighton, chefs change employers often, so that might go out of date suddenly). Allegedly the oldest pub in Brighton
The only power socket in the venue is beside the entrance to the Ladies toilets, a big 4-way extension cable above the cushioned wall.
Earth and Stars – Pub – Insecure 4/5 (E: 2)
Brighton’s only “organic” and “eco-friendly” pub, with solar panels on the roof, and a range of organic alcoholic drinks on offer. Has an upstairs room, where the wifi signal is weak, but you wouldn’t need to go up there unless the pub is completely crammed full. Landlord is usually happy for people to come in and use wifi even if they’re not eating/drinking (if the pub is relatively empty). Gets very busy on winter evenings, and thurs-sunday evenings all year round, but quiet most of the rest of the time.
Hampton Arms – Pub – Insecure 3/5 (E:?)
Like the Windmill, has an outdoors seating area in sunshine with wifi; unlike the Windmill, the signal here is strong. I tried in the middle of the day, and the wifi strength was fine, but the internet connection crashed every 30 seconds, losing all connections. The barstaff switched the router off and on again a couple of times, and eventually the internet connection held. Maybe just an ISP problem? Need to check again soon.
Windmill – Pub – secure – 3/5 (E: some)
You can sit outside, in the Sun, BUT … very Poor wifi, signal strength bounces between 20% and 100%, and even when wifi is up, the internet connection keeps giving up on websites like yahoo.com and google.com, randomly running very fast or very slow. Indoors, it worked a lot better, even though signal strength was almost the same. Amusingly, perhaps too optimistically, the wifi network is named “THE WINDMILL SUPER FAST FIBER OPTIC”.
The Tin Drum – Restaurant/Pub – Secure 3/5 (E:2)
3/5 – recently, the internet has been “on the blink” and on some days you can’t get a connection at all. Check you can get on before sitting down for food and drink
Great food, popular venue, very noisy coffee machine. Place gets noisy throughout the day: at lunch, mid-afternoon, and evenings.
The Duke of Wellington – Pub – Secure 3/5 (E:3)
3/5 – whenever someone pays using a debit or credit card, the PIN card reader causes the internet connection to crash. On a busy day, this can mean long periods with no internet. Also, during quiz night, they turn it off completely.
Just around the corner from the Eddie, very recently completely renovated (it used to be horrible dive of a pub, now it’s clean and modern). Very bright inside, free Pool table in the afternoons.
Prince of Wales – Pub – Insecure 2/5 (E:?)
(no map, address reported by google maps is impossible)
2/5 – unpleasant venue, wifi works fine.
A very small pub right on the western side of Churchill Square (the main shopping precinct + shopping area). Unfortunately, as it’s a tiny pub, and they’re in one of the busiest places in Brighton, it seems they’ve had to get aggressive with people wandering in from the street – you have to buy a minimum amount of food/drink and ask for the wifi details each time. It’s also dimmer, dingier, and smellier than most pubs in the city. Not a great atmosphere.
Cafe 37 – Internet Cafe – 1/5 (E:0)
2/5 – the only “internet cafe” if your own computer breaks. But …they may charge you extra (approx £1.00) for using the wifi
Standard english cafe, serving very cheap coffees + full english breakfast. Also doubles as an internet cafe, with 3 PC’s in the corner, charging £1.00 per hour for use.
In the early days, you could bring your own laptop, and so long as you were eating + drinking they didn’t mind you using the wifi for free. 6 months later, they started also charging for the wifi, which seemed over the top.
If the wifi were free, this would probably be the cheapest place in the whole of Brighton to get free wifi (in terms of cheap food/drink).
Cafe Nero – Cafe – Secure 1/5 (E: n/a)
(multiple around the city)
1/5 – Each coffee you purchase entitles you to an extra 15 minutes of free Wifi. This is pretty extreme, and not recommended, given how many places do free wifi with no strings attached.
You have to keep re-logging in with a 10-digit secret code (that changes each time you purchase something) each time your time runs out. A lot of hassle.
Only reason to use this place is that it usually has the best coffee of the places that have any wifi at all.
Cafe Nia – Restaurant – Secure 1/5 (E:1 – pay!)
1/5 – They now *charge* by the hour for electricity if you bring a laptop. This is irrespective of whether you eat or drink anything (I had a full meal, two coffees, and still got charged separately for “using our electricity”)
One of the few places you can get both Wifi and Chai Latte. Good food, a bit pricey, but … the internet crashes frequently, and has done so constantly for the past few years. There is a “magic table” near the front, between the two doors, where you are less likely to get pushed off the internet connection. But, now that they charge for electricity, would you really bother?
Taylor St Barista – Cafe – None 0/5 (E:0)
But the very best coffee in Brighton, bar none.
If these guys ever get wifi, I wouldn’t bother going anywhere else for coffee, drinks, and meetings.