I’d been meaning to check out The Joker pub for a very long time but never quite made it, probably because of its location, towards the end of London Road. After hearing such good things about their award winning Buffalo Wings (a new found obsession of mine), I thought it was time to give these guys ago and put them to The Hunger Laine test.
Top 5 tips before visiting The Joker on #WingWednesday
- Do NOT wear white clothing
- Do NOT over estimate your spice/heat tolerance
- Do NOT bring someone here on a 1st date
- Do NOT forget about the blue cheese dip
- Do NOT leave any wings in those baskets
The Joker had a pretty heavy and much needed makeover towards the end of 2014. Since the refurbishment, it has now become a trendy Brighton venue serving a good selection of Ales, American food favourites (spicy chicken wings, burgers, salt beef sandwiches) and it hosts regular live music nights in the upstairs venue, The Devil’s Disco.
It was 6pm on a Wednesday so I wasn’t expecting a huge crowd of people however there were 4/5 tables of people eating inside and a fair number of people boozing outside. The interior is typically reflective of Brighton’s ever-evolving pub scene – cool, dark and full of quirky wall art and other eclectic pieces of furniture. Like many of its neighbouring pubs, the kitchen is a separate franchised business, London born street food/truck kitchen The Orange Buffalo. A recurring trend of London brands/kitchens/bars making their way down to Brighton… At least they are a selection of London’s cooler offerings.
As far as food goes, they have a deal or discount for every day of the week and if it wasn’t for following these guys on Instagram, I could well have missed out on Wednesday’s treat…. their famous Wings. This deal includes 3 for 2 on baskets of chicken wings with 5 levels of spice to choose from. You can start mild with BBQ or go as hot as Viper, for the real chilli hot-heads out there– scotch bonnets, naga chilli and even MORE chilli extract – not for me, ta.
I’m not someone who likes spice but recently I’ve been trying to stop being such a big baby. I went with BBQ (mild), Original (medium) and Woof Woof (hot) just to be a little adventurous.
One thing that isn’t lacking with these wings is sauce. Each basket was smothered with flavour. BBQ wasn’t really my thing but I think it was needed just to cool down the palette. Woof Woof was definitely pushing my limits but it was just about manageable and I’d say this has got to be their most popular flavour. For me, the original basket was just right, the perfect amount of tangy, spicy wings with plenty of blue cheese dip and crunchy pieces of celery to soften the blow.
Oh, and expect a LOT of mess. Now you see why each table gets at least one full roll of kitchen paper.
If I had to criticise anything, the chicken wings themselves were not the best quality. I’ve definitely had meatier wings but the sauce DID make up for it. The service is relaxed and the atmosphere was a little cold but I believe this is most probably reflective of the time of day/day of the week we visited.
All in all, for the price we paid and the amount of tasty wings we had, it was a pretty decent mid-week treat and not too pricey at £14 for all 3 baskets. If you’ve not been already, I’d recommend you take a trip to The Joker and experience the spice for yourselves.
The Hunger Laine