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Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore… 

Words by Samantha Harman

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new LGBTQ+ venue in town, Arcobaleno, (which means rainbow in Italian). The multi faceted cafe, bar and event space is situated on St George’s Road in Kemp Town, slightly socially distanced from the main drag (pardon the pun) of the other long standing Brighton venues, but not so far you’d need a cab. 

As we all know, I love a drink or two so in the aid of research for the Pride issue of Discover, I decided to trot along with a friend to sample the menu, inspect the premises and meet the team.  

The Wizard of Oz theme is evident from the moment you walk through the doors. For a start, there are rainbows everywhere and Oz paraphernalia, including the iconic Ruby Slippers, a ‘No Place Like Home’ neon sign and Cowardly Lion coat hooks. The venue sells itself as a queer space to be safe and be seen, where you can meet likeminded members of the community and spark serendipitous meetings. 

I certainly did have my own serendipitous meeting with some of the delicious cocktails on the Oz themed menu which was curated by Tatiana, a former YouTube creator who used to teach her subscribers how to make amazing drinks. She has clearly worked her mixology magic at Arcobaleno. There are eight cocktails on offer and three mocktails which have names such as, Emerald City, Scarecrow and Dorothy.  

My friend and I enjoyed our drinks Al Fresco in the secluded outside garden, this is definitely the go-to place for low key fun and privacy. 

To start, I chose a Cowardly Lion which features Amaretto, Angostura Bitters and lemon. Tallulah certainly knows how to use a shaker as this sour had the best crown of foam I’ve seen in a while  – I even asked for tips. The drink was garnished with two lemon ears and a corn tail, served in a chunky rocks glass. Fun, witty and perfectly balanced. 

Up next I selected a Witch of the West, green, mean and horribly delicious. This time served in a coupe glass and consisting of cucumber, basil, gin, Midori and lemon. The drink was refreshing and well presented with a fresh basil leaf. 

A tour of the venue with the lovely owner revealed a comfortable meeting space downstairs with its own bar and the drag room complete with Hollywood style mirror. In my experience, it’s rare that the girls on the scene have such a private well lit space to transform.

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate Pride away from the hectic main street party, then ensure you head along to Arcobaleno. On Pride Saturday, brunch is served from 10.30am, then you can party into the night with a plethora of entertainment including drag performers, contortionists, singers, burlesque, and DJs. On Pride Sunday, it’s Giggle Gaggle comedy night, the perfect way to close what promises to be the best Pride weekend since 2019.

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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