Gung Ho! in a nutshell: A new bar that creates cocktails using seasonal British produce from local suppliers, where all juices are freshly squeezed, syrups and herbs made and grown in-house, and ice rocks handcut off a large bar-top block.
Where is it?
Set on restaurant-packed Preston Street, just a couple of minutes’ stroll from the seafront and 10 minutes from The Lanes and North Laine.
What’s the vibe?
Red-hued low lighting gives Gung Ho! a moody speakeasy vibe, and the small stone-brick-walled room has an L-shaped bar loaded with mixologist paraphernalia and lined with plenty of high stools, as well as four or five small wooden tables with chairs.
What’s the drinks menu like?
Written up on one wall is a comprehensive list of craft beers and, for just £6 each, a choice of aperitif (Martinez: Portobello Road gin with Cocchi Americano, maraschino and zest), punch (Peach sour: Fair vodka, sherry and peach – piths and grinds included, making it zero waste) and digestif (Irish coffee: Teeling’s small-batch whiskey, espresso coffee, cream and nutmeg).
Which cocktails to order atGung Ho!?
The really eye-catching cocktails are the seasonal, veg-centred drinks chalked up on the specials blackboard. Our picks of the ones we tried were the Parsnip (juiced parsnip with Portobello Road gin, sherry, lemon, honey and pollen, adorned with a crisp sliver of parsnip) which had a punchy citrus tang, and the Cucumber (juiced cucumber with Kokoro gin, Aluna coconut rum, yuzu sake, ginger and acidophilus yogurt, topped with a long slice of pickled cucumber speared with a cocktail stick), which resembled a skinny lassi, supremely refreshing with cool, clean cucumber the dominant flavour.
We also tried the Irish coffee and it was gorgeously warming, a smooth mini Guinness lookalike of pitch-black coffee topped with a creamy head dusted with nutmeg – it’s a potent pick-me-up, though, so if you indulge don’t expect your evening to be winding down anytime soon.
Is there any food at Gung Ho!?
There’s just one bar snack on offer – a cheese toastie combining Irish porter cheese with pickles on sourdough from the renowned Flint Owl Bakery in nearby Lewes.
Where to go nearby for dinner?
Just across the road is one of Brighton’s favourite Japanese restaurants, Bincho Yakitori, a little izakaya that features a charcoal grill and serves up tasty sharing platters. The excellent Salt Room and The Gingerman are both also within a five-minute walk.
Insider tip: Perch on one of the barstools and owner-barman Julien will enthusiastically talk you through the thought process behind each of his recipes, and give his personal recommendations depending on what kind of cocktail you prefer. He promises kombucha on the menu soon and maximum cocktail innovation in the coming months when the storecupboard’s packed with bountiful summer fruit and veg.