A guide to BAME-owned businesses in Brighton
There’s never been a better time to support your local independents
Brighton is teeming with independents of all kinds, however BAME-owned businesses are underrepresented nationwide, with only five per cent of startups headed by individuals from ethnic minority communities.
Recent events surrounding the BLM movement have sparked conversation about racial inequality, including the social and systemic obstacles which may inhibit black individuals, and members of the wider BAME community, from becoming successful business owners. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the ever-growing need to support small, local businesses, as many struggle to stay afloat during lockdown. Taken together, this means that there has never been a better time to support BAME-owned independent businesses near you.
So without further ado, here are some independents in Brighton that are well worth a visit:
Food & Drinks
Breadys Delights offer a range of Jamaican cuisine served fresh from their food van, which can often be found at The Avenue, near Brighton University. According to their Facebook page, they have remained open during the pandemic, keeping locals supplied with delicious hot meals.
Located on London Road, Africa House offers a cosy space for people to meet, drink coffee and connect with Africa. Known as a popular study spot amongst students, this place serves Rwandan coffee and traditional African drinks such as Bissap and Baobab juice. Upon opening in 2018, owner Monique explained “it’s not simply a café, but a second home for all Brightonians. We want the local community to feel a part of our extended family, so our doors are open to you all”.
Founded by a classically trained chef and self-proclaimed health freak, this lovely cafe, restaurant, bakery and bar sets out to create a space with something for everyone. Serving everything from breakfast to brunch, coffee to cocktails, Dough Lover prides itself on being different to your average diner. Their menu is entirely gluten free, with many vegan and veggie options, and they make their own organic nut milk on site.
To enhance the relaxing atmosphere, they have a no laptop/tablet policy, allowing the focus to remain on the delicious food and drinks.
Taj the Grocer
This family-run business has been selling high quality produce from all over the world since 1965. Located on Western Road, this is any foodie’s paradise for fresh fruit and veg, herbs and spices and much more. They also deliver food boxes, with free next day delivery!
Poppy’s Sandwich Bar
Fancy a delicious sandwich? Pop to Poppy’s on London Road and fill your boots – regulars recommend the jerk chicken wrap.
Open since 2016 as the first Ethiopian restaurant in Brighton, Abyssinia prides itself on offering authentic, healthy and delicious cuisine. Here you can taste a huge range of dishes using spices brought over from Ethiopia, and sample traditional Ethiopian coffee. They also serve takeaway food via UberEats and Dinner2go. What’s not to love?
Yum Yum Oriental Market
Tucked in the North Laines, this place has been praised for its friendly and knowledgeable staff. With items from Vietnam, Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong, this supermarket is perfect for foodies to try new flavours with authentic taste, or simply for someone missing home.
Located on London Road, Sunbirds Deli offers delicious homemade vegan and vegetarian food. They also support other local independent businesses and artists!
Arts and Entertainment
Marlborough Pub & Theatre
This venue has an incredibly rich history, and is well-known as Brighton’s hub for all things LGBTQ+. Since the 1970s, it has been heavily associated with the queer community: Sussex Gay Liberation Front, formed by Sussex students, held meetings and parties here for many years, and in 2006, it was awarded ‘Best LGBT venue’. It has been associated with many production companies, and only recently parted ways with Marlborough Productions, a leading UK queer and intersectional performance group.
If that wasn’t enough, this place is a major stop on Brighton’s ghost walks, with a murder in 1900 reportedly leading to various poltergeist-like encounters throughout the decades.
Adaptatrap makes and sells a wide range of world instruments, specialising in West African kora, djembe and percussion. They offer repairs and lessons from their shop in the North Laines.
Socially Engaged Art Salon offers a space for exhibitions and events focusing on social and political themes such as equality, race, migration and LGBTQ communities. It was founded in 2016, in a building originally designed to house servants of the Pavilion, then moved to a larger space at the Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership Centre, close to Brighton station.
Located by the seafront on the Kings Road Arches, Artist Anon sells apparel, swimwear and accessories inspired by American vintage style, ‘with a Brighton twist‘. Operating from 2012, originally from markets and festivals, this brand aims to promote clothing made right here on the south coast.
Be sure to check out the Sussex BAME Directory for more information.