Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


APPEAL - 13 days left to Bring an Abandoned Listed Building on the Seafront Back to Life

Let's do this! Burger King is considering a move onto East Street where it will command fabulous views of Brighton Per and sea. A great location in a beautiful building but maybe the wrong occupant?

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

The grand old Grade II listed building in question is at the sea end of East Street and has remained unoccupied for the last four years. It now has the prospect of two very different futures. One is set to embrace an independent, diverse and creative Brighton. The other will offer a formulaic interior with quick and cheap food from a well-known chain.

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

The first option is a big ask and requires a massive rallying of people to back the idea. While the other already has the means, experience and momentum to roll out their plan.

So, who is it that wants to challenge this homogeneous world that we live in? It's The Bison Beer hipsters who have recently opened a little shop further down East Street. Their end game is to transform the ground floor, capacity 500 and the lower ground, capacity 800 into a pub for and by the locals.
Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

They want it to be a place that supports artists, craftsmen, micro breweries, local talent and creatives of all sorts at an independently-minded drinking establishment called The Bison Arms.

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

Nick Vardy and Jack Cregan, Bison Beer's dynamic duo have partnered with Simon Duddington from Drink in Brighton and have set up a crowdfunding initiative on Seedrs to get this ball in motion.

Initially, their plan is to transform the ground floor, while future projects would extend into the lower ground once the success of the ground floor had been achieved. Their aim is to offer a selection of craft beers and local, fresh food. With 60 micro breweries in Sussex alone there is already an established interest out there for a diverse choice.

Last week, I joined the Brighton Yelpers to find out about these plans and to try one of the Bison beers while I was there. Supping their Beast Street ipa, which had notes of elderflower and tasted great I had a chance to find about Yelp and Bison Beer in one go.

The Bison Beer shop had a very bright and inviting feel to it and on either side were rows and rows of bottled beers and obscure ales. They've got so many you could have a different one each day of the year. At the end closest to the front door they had a very welcoming bench, made, we were told with reclaimed timber from Brighton Pier. On the black board at the back were bright yellow messages and illustrations in their signature style.

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

I had been invited out for beer and pizza by Sophie Ru Paul, Yelp's local event organiser, who explained how Yelp works. It's an online platform that provides reviews of restaurants and shops. Anyone can become a Yelp reviewer and once you've done a few you'll also get invited to events at local businesses to try out food and drink and find out more about the company hosting the event.

At this event the guys from Bison Beer wanted us to spread the word about their crowdfunding project if we wanted to and as I totally back their plan I was keen to do just that. They've got lots of ideas and will be holding other events you can go along to. There's also a dedicated website to bring you the latest news called The Bison Arms .

Jack and Nick told us they are hoping to partner with local chefs in the kitchen, set up their own micro brewery and hear from creatives at the design stage of the project.

Bison Beer, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

With less than two weeks of their crowdfunding campaign left they have already reached 68% of their target of £99,999.

Whether you love the idea of keeping Brighton a place where individuality and creativity can flourish or you like the sound of this independent drinking establishment, this is a campaign to get behind.

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