Let's not beat around the bush. This is the real reason people flock to the hotel from far and wide. The bistro is packed every night of the week and for good reason. The setting is one of the best in Brighton: lofty ceilings, a central leather banquette with mini murals on its pillars, a plethora of wine-related memorabilia, paintings and photos and smartly laid tables on an ageing wooden floor. There is a real buzz about the place with the sound of laughter, clattering of crockery and glasses, but above all of contentment and satisfaction. Our meat was cooked to perfection and the accompaniments bursting with flavour. The butternut squash risotto, which was one of the best we've had, was a little on the heavy side so is probably best taken as a starter. And the wine, chosen for us by waiters who really know their stuff, spot on. The menu is full of mouth-watering propositions and to be honest we had a hard time deciding. But what is sure is that the products used of a very high quality and the results a triumph. The wine list the most comprehensive in Brighton, with more countries represented than any other restaurant in the city. There is also a simple classics menu available which features well done, basic dishes (although still more adventurous than what you'd find in most restaurants) as well as a du Vin menu which offers three basic mains plus a glass of wine for just £10.95. The lunch menu features some of the same dishes as the evening menu plus others such as braised endive and buffalo mozzarella to start and Bridge farm boiled salt beef for mains. Alternatively, the pub next door, which serves beer from Sussex breweries and a range of British wines, offers typical pub food at lunch time, to be served in either the main room or the Captain's table lounge just across the corridor. Our favourite part of the hotel though is the bar which is physically and idealistically at the centre of things. Of course you are welcome to eat and drink here during the day, but it is at night when things really take off. The bar attracts a mixed crowd of locals and tourists as well as guests, of course, and unlike in London or other big capital cities, there is no hint of snobbery despite the specialist nature of the wines. The bar itself, with its exposed brickwork, mock seagulls flying overhead and mural by Gary Myatt, is a cosy, intimate space which has inviting worn leather seating, soft lighting and gallery upstairs with outdoor terrace. Aside from the endless list of wines and whiskies available, you can enjoy one of the cocktails from the innovative list, served by the award-winning barmen with an infectious love for their profession. For those cigar aficionados out there, make sure you have a poke around the small room just next to the bar which holds the hotel's collection of Cuban, Nicaraguan and Dominican Republic cigars. And even if you are not a smoker, we are sure you'll appreciate the craftsmanship of the cigars and their humidors all the same. This is truly one of the best places to be in Brighton of an evening so even if you don't choose to stay at the hotel, make sure you pop in for a drink during your break.