Popular with promoters, sneered at by punters, this is one of the top venues in the city for mid-sized bands; bands that have outgrown The Green Door Store and The Hope, but who aren’t yet primed for the commercial heights of The Corn Exchange or The Dome. And this is a shame, because it’s one of the worst venues in town.
There’s one very specific reason for this: the bottleneck you get stuck in when you first arrive. If you get there a touch late, forget about getting anywhere near the artists you’ve come to see. It’s just not possible to push your way through, such is the density of the crowd before you. And don’t even think about going to the bar if you’re lucky enough to be wedged in near the front.
If the place is not too busy, then none of this is an issue and you will have a perfectly idyllic night, with a good-sized stage, a decent sound system and plenty of elbow room. The problem is, The Haunt is always busy, and they seem to let far more people through the door than they should.
For some, the lack of bar access might be a blessing in disguise, because The Haunt has the dubious honour of being the only place that’s ever served me a beer so rank I had to throw it away. A warm, flat can of Oranjeboom it was, and I still shudder at the memory. Like tepid piss spiked with amyl nitrate. Only worse.
Lastly, I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but there’s a bar upstairs. It’s not much use for watching the band unless you get a spot right on the balcony, but you can use it if you want to avoid the queues at the main bar. Nobody seems to know it’s there.
10 Pool Valley
Brighton BN1 1NJ