One of my favourite places in Brighton for the feeling of hygge is Northern Lights, a Nordic pub tucked away on Little East Street. It’s probably not the easiest to find for visitors, but if you head to Brighton Town Hall and down the steps into what initially looks like a dead end, you’ll find it.
The place is covered in strings and strings of fairy lights, and there is Scandinavian memorabilia everywhere (my favourite is the skis on the wall downstairs). It’s not massive, which is ideal, and there are blankets scattered around for chilly ventures to the outside tables. Some of the bottles behind the bar wear little woolly hats. The music is an eclectic mixture of folk, indie, electronica and disco, and it’s ace.
If you go (and you should), be sure to try one of the 20+ flavoured vodkas. My favourite is the Nordic Berries Koskenkorva. I picked some up at Helsinki airport last year, but it’s not quite the same when you’re slinging it in a dubious homemade cocktail on Boxing Day is it? I’ve also heard good things about the shots. The man who does the ghost walk tours in the Lanes stops off here for guests to try a Nordic shot. If that doesn’t swing it for you, you’re a lost cause, quite frankly. In the summer, I recommend the Lonkero – gin-in-a-tin, or if all else fails (shame on you!) there’s a wide variety of fun Scandinavian beers and ciders. Icelandic beer isn’t so easy to come by in Brighton, so embrace it.
Foodwise, it goes without saying that the meatballs should be at the top of your agenda, with the pyttipanna (a Scandinavian brunch hash) and the Fisherman’s Feast sharing board a close second and third.
For hygge in Brighton, you really can’t go wrong with Northern Lights. Now put on your warmest coat, go out into the freezing world and then reward yourself with a massive glass of something you’ve never tried before.