Sea change: Mothership Group’s bar and music venue Patterns in Brighton

Patterns Brighton

Mothership Group has transformed Brighton’s former Audio club into new bar and music venue Patterns

It was the end of an era in Brighton when seafront club Audio closed in February after 30 years. Despite its success, owner John Holland felt it was time to move on, selling it to Mothership Group, operator of east London venues The Book Club, Queen of Hoxton and Stories. It has now been reborn as Patterns, maintaining the site’s heritage as a destination for cutting-edge music but giving it a revamp alongside a new food and drink offering.

Mothership Group’s creative director Heather Pistor set out to create a concept that would work from lunchtime through to late-night partying, seven days a week. She worked closely with designers Shai Akram and Andrew Haythornthwaite to create a coherent look across the club, bar and south-facing sea-view terrace.

On the ground floor, the new interior highlights the building’s original Art Deco features, complemented by a nod towards Bauhaus design through geometric shapes. This is combined with earthy tones from the use of natural materials plus coloured glass and convex mirrors dotted around the space. A new hand-built DJ booth has been designed by Bad Habits and installed by Penguin Media Solutions, powered by a bespoke Ohm PA. Adding to the “warm and inviting” ambience, the outside terrace has also been given a colourful, stylish rejuvenation.

Patterns Brighton

Down in the basement, Patterns offers a more music-led experience, with a programme of world-class DJs and live acts on a weekly basis, exploring the realms of house, techno and future-facing electronic. It has a tough act to follow, with Audio and its previous incarnations of Escape Club and Ted Potters Music Bar hosting top bands and DJs such as Daft Punk, The Stone Roses, The Chemical Brothers, Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold. To support its ambitions, Mothership Group has invested heavily in upgrading to a top-of-the-range L’Acoustics clubbing sound system as well as improving accessibility and facilities throughout. “The dream is to create a thriving social hub for drinking, dancing, hanging out with friends but most of all a place for forward-thinking music,” Heather says.

Audio was also well-known for its talented bartenders, serving up cocktails in its bar Above Audio. Patterns aims to maintain this reputation for drinks, with menus devised by Heather and Mothership Group’s training and HR director Aoife Halliday. With an emphasis on seasonality, its summer menu lists traditional-style “shrubs” – homemade fruit, vinegar and spice-based drinks topped with alcohol and soda. Options include pink grapefruit with El Jimador tequila, blackberry and lavender with Bols Genever, raspberry with Hendrick’s Gin, and strawberry and star anise with Velho Barreiro cachaça, as well as blueberry and thyme with Russian Standard vodka topped with prosecco instead of soda.

Patterns Brighton

While the bar team can make any of the classics, the menu lists some of the most popular, from an Old Fashioned and a Negroni through to a Bramble, Cosmopolitan and Caipirinha. A signature drink is the Michelada – a one-litre stein of lager spiced up with an in-house chilli mix, lime, and a “secret” ingredient to create a beery take on a Bloody Mary.

Alongside wines and an extensive spirits selection, beers famous and less well-known are available, including a broad range on draught from Amstel, Krušovice and Murphy’s to Dark Star Brewing’s Hophead, Sierra Nevada pale ale and King Beer’s Unity IPA. Beer is also available in growlers from Brighton’s Bison Beer. The bottled and canned selection is just as eclectic, from Warsteiner and Heineken lagers to King Beer’s Lovers Rock black lager, Brighton Bier pale ale, Naked Beer porter, Fourpure Pale Ale and 13 Guns from Thwaites’ Crafty Dan plus canned cider Caple Rd.

As well as stocking local brewers, Patterns is tapping into Brighton and Hove’s street food scene through guest slots for local specialists. But from midday to 8pm every day, there is a barbecue offering burgers, from an Aberdeen Angus beef burger or a chorizo and beef burger through to a halloumi and portobello mushroom burger, all available with extras such as crispy pancetta and Monterey Jack cheese.

Trading from midday seven days a week, it is open to 3am on Thursdays, to 4am Fridays and Saturdays and to 1am the rest of the week. During the quieter – and less sunny – winter months, it will open at 5pm. Breathing new life into the late-night venue, it fulfils a long-held ambition for London-based Mothership Group to find the perfect site in Brighton, says commercial director Jon Ross who founded the business with Andy Maddocks in 2008. “There’s been a lot of change on the nightlife scene recently, and we’re confident that we can bring a fun, engaging space for Brighton’s locals and visitors alike.”

Patterns, 10 Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1TL
Tel: 01273 894777

Patterns Brighton

Behind the scenes
Interior design: Heather Pistor, Shai Akram and Andrew Haythornthwaite Design Studio
Main contractor: Detail Building Contractors
Neon lighting: Andy Doig, Fishtail Neon Studios
Terrazzo bar tops and table bases: Diespeker & Co
Seating: Aine Sheehan Upholstery
Bespoke gates, railings, table tops, toilet cubicles: Iron Designs
Electrical contractor: First Avenue Electrical Projects
Basement sound system: L’Acoustics
DJ booth: Bad Habits, Penguin Media Solutions

Patterns Brighton

Originally published in the August 2015 print edition of Bar magazine.

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