With the launch of the Skylark bar this month, there’s a serious new player on the Brighton cocktail bar scene, writes Nick Mosley.
Since it’s launch back in April, Shelter Hall has firmly established itself as a major food and drink destination in Brighton. Featuring an eclectic choice of seven kitchens covering a multitude of cuisines, ranging from grilled meats by Sussex chef Kenny Tutt to big flavour local fish and seafood from Crabshack, its proved an immediate hit with both locals and visitors to the seafront.
Whilst the venue has always featured a bar, things have gone up a notch this month with the opening of Skylark – a dedicated, secluded lounge just off the first floor mezzanine where guests can enjoy a menu of cocktails alongside their choice of food from the Shelter Hall kitchens.
“The name ’Skylark’ is inspired by that of a Brighton pleasure boat from the 1800s”, said Shelter Hall’s Shannon Butler. “A local Brighton character Captain Fred Collins used to patrol the harbour shouting ‘Any more for Skylark?’ and it quickly became part of the local vocabulary in the century that followed”.
The cocktail menu has been designed by head bartender Ben Thomas, who is a huge fan of the city’s thriving and diverse cocktail scene.
“There are so many talented people pushing the boundaries with unique and interesting concepts”, said Ben. “We are very excited to be a part of it”.
Ben says a lot of the thought behind the cocktail list comes from the culinary world, pulling together different flavour combinations and techniques.
“Our Thymes Square Sour developed from the idea of clarifying the cocktail using a method called milk washing, to create a visually stunning drink when layered with red wine and infusing it with thyme as a unifying flavour that pairs well with both the whiskey and wine”.
Menus will change at least seasonally so guests can currently enjoy cocktails packed with traditional winter and festive flavours.
“Both the Clementine Redcurrant Smash – utilising the Christmas dinner table must have of redcurrant jelly – and Winter Highball – with a homemade pear and star anise syrup – are great examples of how we look to use flavours associated with certain seasons in our drinks”.
Locality is fundamental not only to Shelter Hall’s kitchens but also the drinks offering with numerous local distilleries, brewers and vineyards featuring on the list.
“Having a connected and supportive community is important and at Skylark we want to do our part by offering great local products such as Unbarred Brewery's delicious Joosy pale ale or Davenport Limney Estate's crisp sparking wine, likewise with our cocktails using Lost Boys buffalo hot sauce in our Spiced Apple Smash”.
As with the rest of Shelter Hall, Skylark is exclusively table service so guests can kick back and enjoy the intimate vibes of the space.
New for winter, Shelter Hall has installed heated ‘igloos’ on their outdoor terrace. Igloos seat four to eight guests and are available to book in advance at no extra cost.
Shelter Hall, Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB