The Basketmakers Arms
In advertising his ill-fated family restaurant, Springfield bartender Moe Szyslak beckons customers with the tempting pitch “If you like good food, good fun, and a whole bunch of crazy crap on the walls…” but this very line could just as easily have been offered to entice visitors to Brighton’s Good Pubs Guide regular The Basketmakers Arms. One of four pubs in the city tied to London brew giant Fuller’s this popular North Laine pub is fairly tucked away and yet you’ll never find it quiet. The quaint, rustic atmosphere, strong selection of well kept ales and decent traditional food probably have more to do with it than the aforementioned “crazy crap” wall adornments however.
We’re not talking alligator heads and number plates to give this charming little back street ale house a sense of wacky though, and the oddities on offer don’t seem out of place at all. Instead you’ll find 50s style metal advertising plates and old tobacco tins filled with messages from other punters. It’s not what MAKES this pub but it certainly helps it to stand out in an area of town not wanting for high quality watering holes.
Of course the real reason the Basketmakers always features in both the Good Pubs Guide AND Camra’s Good Beer Guide is its excellent selection of beers and at any one time you can find as many as eight different brews on pump. The majority of these are obviously Fuller’s beers but that’s no great shame given the fact that even though they’re a multi million pound pubco, the Fuller’s brewery has never lost its roots and to this day remains a family owned concern with brewing at its heart. You’ll also find George Gale ales readily available (the pick of which for me is their Seafarers session bitter) since Fuller’s bought up the Gales brewery back in 2005, along with regular guest ales.
If you’ve popped in for a bite to eat you’ve either made an excellent choice (the food is hearty and served in generous portions) or a disappointing one (it’s near impossible to find a table unless you’ve spent half the day stalking out a spot). The fare is no-nonsense traditional British grub and their Sunday roasts are easily among the top ten in Brighton.
Free from the flashing lights of modern machinery that can often spoil a pub of this calibre the Basketmakers remains a wonderfully rustic boozer that’s serious about the beer without being chin-strokingly snobbish about it.
At a glance
|Food?||Yes, traditional British|
|Children welcome?||Until 8pm|
|Garden?||No, but there are a handful of tables outside by the road|