We’re a spoilt (some might say smug) lot, here in Brighton and Hove. The winter snow’s barely had a chance to melt this year, and already two hot new bars have hit the streets. In January The Fix appeared at The Artist Residence, and now L’Atelier du Vin has unleashed Brighton’s biggest wine and spirits collection upon North Laine’s blessed boozers.
If you’re sensing something familiar about the name L’Atelier du Vin, your suspicions might be correct. It’s the brainchild of two former Hotel du Vin experts: award-winning cocktail-maker Steve Pineau and Master Sommelier Dimitri Mesnard. The bar’s name translates as “artists’ studio of wine”, although I’m sure you’ll agree it sounds better in French.
It’s been styled as a Prohibition-era bootleg bar — a theme reflected in its “secret” entrance off Kensington Gardens (above Grow 40), and inside by its mélange of reclaimed 1920s-style furniture, exposed brickwork, crepuscular lighting and jazzy sounds.
But what you really want to know about is L’Atelier du Vin’s gargantuan drinks menu, right? They’ve put together a selection of over 500 wines and 300 spirits, with a glass of wine starting at a surprisingly affordable £4 and rising to… well, I don’t know, but probably quite a lot.
The cocktail menu is classically inspired and organised in chronological order — ie, the drinks invented first are at the top. While this is an interesting concept, I’m not sure how they can know for sure who invented which cocktail and when. I mean, how do we know who made the first ever Tom Collins? Ok, bad example. Anyway, vintage spirits will also be available, including a distinctive Gordon’s Gin from the 1950s.
If you’re a martini fan I can recommend the “Journalist” (£9.50), or if you’re going off-menu they do a mean whisky sour. I ordered mine with Japanese whisky instead of bourbon and it hit the spot. Food-wise, the bijoux menu features steak sourced locally from Trenchmore Farm and a range of charcuterie and cheeses.
L’Atelier du Vin, Brighton, opens on Friday 16th March 2018, offering two for one on a selection of wines and cocktails between 5 and 7pm, Sunday to Friday. The bar will be open from noon each day, closing on Tuesdays.
For more about L’Atelier du Vin, Brighton visit www.Latelierduvin.co.uk
L’Atelier Du Vin
40B Kensington Gardens
Brighton BN1 4AL