Below you'll find a whistlestop tour of places to eat and drink in the city centre - particularly around the major shopping areas and done some of the harder to spot lanes slightly to the west of the centre. With some places open 24hrs a day, the city centre is a great place to grab a mid-shopping lunch, or a post-night-out kebab.
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Eating out in the city centre gives you huge variety of options and also blends in to The Lanes, which deserve a guide all of their own (and which you can find here!)
Starting with where to go if you're looking for a pit stop between shops - the top floor of the shopping centre has a selection of fast food and on-the-go cafes, all with plenty of space and speedy service. If you're looking for a nice sit down meal - Cafe Coho serves all day full breakfast food which is great. If you're looking for something a bit speedier, there are stalls dotted around the centre, as well as a McDonalds and a Spud-u-Like for all your potato needs, healthy or less so!
Outside of the shopping centre, you can find a huge collection of cafe's and coffee houses - if you go right, down the hill along North Street, you'll find quite a few 24hr fast-food and kebab places, Burger King.
Other than the above, the centre of the city sits in the middle of two restaurant rich streets. Preston Street to the west has around 20 different places to each as you walk down it, from chinese, to sushi, to ribs and steak. It also leads down to the beach, so it's a great for a pre- or post-sunbathing meal.
On the other side, West Street has a good collection of quick bites cafes alongside cheap and cheerful pubs, including one of the two Weatherspoons in Brighton. This street is better known for it's clubs and nightlife though, which you can find out more about below
The city centre is home to a lot of the bars, clubs and pubs in Brighton, forming the focal point for most nights out. As mentioned above, West Street, running from the Clock Tower to the sea, is famous as the clubbing street. It has 3 of the biggest clubs in Brighton, including Pryzm, which has 4 distinct dance and bar rooms over several floors. Just up the road is The Bright Helm (a Weatherspoons) and a Yates pub, which often serve as a sort of launch pad for the clubs just down the road. This street gets busy and drunken at night, with the traditional cheap shots, loud club music type venues.
North Street, again starting at the clocktower, but heading down the other way, also has a few mainstays for cheap nights out in Brighton - it has the second Weatherspoons, The Post & Telegraph, as well as The Pavilion Tavern (The Pav Tav, if you like). Both of these are cheap, spacious pubs, but a bit quieter than the ones on West Street.
If you're more into quieter, craft beer type pubs, once you get a street or two away from the shopping centre to the North or West, there are plenty of good quality pubs with great menus. Upper North Street alone has 3 and is just one road up from the mall. The North Laine (see here) and Kemptown (here) also provide well on the quieter, slightly pricier drinking experience front.