If you go to Church Street by train, your first inkling that it is different to other shopping strips will take place right on platform one of Middle Brighton station. La Stazia cafe, unlike the greasy stalls which populate busy train stations, serves gourmet sandwiches, soup, tea and coffee. The most compact cafe I've ever encountered, there are a few chairs and tables for patrons scattered around the platform's alcove.
Trendy eateries characterise the shopping strip, with no bland menus in sight. Right on the corner at 1 Church Street is The Pantry, which serves a sumptuous breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pick your time to dine at The Pantry, as tables fill up fast. More than just a restaurant, The Pantry runs regular cooking shows, in which food preparation is taken to the stage, with the culinary delights being demonstrated being the exact same dishes on the five-course menu served. The funky Groove Train restaurant is also a popular choice, with its unique interior and diverse menu which includes pizza, pasta, noodles, souvlaki, seafood and plenty more. A little further down the shopping strip is quirky Mediterranean restaurant White Rabbit and upmarket bar and restaurant Half Moon.
Luxury clothing stores thrive on Church Street, with Laura Ashley, Guess and Edward Meller being favourites of the Brighton set. Look out for Bob's Shoe Store, which is retro-inspired in decor, but carries on-trend footwear that's often just a bit quirky. Even kids can be adorned in finely cut garments-Buckets and Spades for Kids, which is in Carpenter Street just off Church Street, stocks designer clothing for children. As the name suggests, there are some simple toys on sale amongst all that junior DKNY, but expect to pay premium prices. Despite the emphasis on designer, there are a few chain stores, including Sportsgirl, Witchery, Gaz Man and Country Road.
There are a couple of quirky shops that have found their niche on Church Street. The Beanery, which sells everything required to make an amazing coffee including coffee machines, fair-trade coffee beans, cleaning items and giftware. At Mind Games you'll find games from the era before computers, with the store dedicated to puzzles and board games. Visit Sheil Abbey in Carpenter Street to peruse their gorgeous metal creations with practical uses, including bottle stoppers and coasters.