Having done the whole Valentine's Day cheesy restaurant thing time and time over, my boyfriend and I decided to combine eating with gambling at the dogs this year.
There was still just enough cheese to make it special, with heart-shaped helium balloons and confetti, and a loud red Valentines menu with hearts and flowers splashed all over it.
The food was good, with three courses to chomp on, but the real fun was in the betting. We sat in the glass-fronted Skyline restaurant with a clear view of the track whilst munching and drinking, and only had to get up to smoke and use the toilet.
Every few minutes between races various waitresses and bar staff scurry to your table to bring you more food and beer, and you don't even have to get up to bet, as they come and take your bets for each race too, and bring back your winnings!
Minimum bets are 50p - £1 so you don't have to go mad and if you experiment with the reverse forecast and triple bets, you'll be surprised how much you bag if you win.
We paid a little extra for our night as it was Valentine's Day, but usually it's £17.50 for the three-course meal in the restaurant. It's worth checking out the Six Pack deal too, £10 gets you admission, racecard, two drinks, £1 jackpot bet, a basket meal and re-admission for another night.
And, if you're lucky enough to win a few races you'll make your money back in no time.
This is one of the biggest greyhound stadiums in the country and for that reason alone a reason to visit. They have a good restaurant which overlooks the track and they come to take bets from your table if you wish. The food is good quality and value for money with a wide variety of choices to please all.
This is based around the fact that you gamble and for those avidly opposed do not be put off. minimum bets start from 50p or you can always watch others get excited as the dogs bolt for the line. I have been here for a birthday meal, which set up the night with a few drinks and good fun had by all we were all in the mood to go out.
In this set up it is not the winning it's the taking part and from experience never pay too much attention to the form and just go for names or numbers.
One great offer the have is called 'the 6 pack'. This includes; entrance, two drinks, something with chips, a free bet and free entry next time, for £10 only! Call up in advance to get this.
It is never a cheap night out but well worth spending a little bit extra on the odd occasion.
The Brighton and Hove Dogs really is a brilliant night out and doesn't have to be too expensive at all - depending on your gambling self control.
Entrance on a Saturday (the best day) is only £6 or you can buy something called a 'six pack' which entitles you to free entrance, two free drinks, a basket meal, a £1 jackpot bet and re-admission for one for £12! Not bad eh!
The basket meals, if I'm honest are never going to raise a positive comment from Michael Winner but the burgers are ok and if you choose, there is the skyline restaurant upstairs serving a la carte food.
Now, to the important bit - the betting! I very rarely win money but that's probably due to the fact I bet with the bookies at the track-side. You can pop to the tote windows and bet 50p each way on a dog but that's not as exciting as strolling up to someone with a name like 'Honest' Dave, and handing over £5 (minimum bet with these chaps) and saying 'number 2 dog - on the nose guv'.
What's that, you say you're going to watch some Greyhound racing? Do some gambling? Eat some bad food? Drink some cheap booze? Sounds like you're going on a staff party. Otherwise I can't think of why you'd want to spend you're hard earned money in a place as depressing and soulless as this. I visited recently for this very reason. I got free entry, a free meal and a free £1 bet, which I inevitably lost. So, having endured the crusty food and lack of wins, my co-workers and I trudged to a nearby pub where the night really began.
Despite my snobbish attitude I can see why plenty of people find this a fun night out but it's just not for me. If you like to indulge in such fineries as good atmosphere, quality entertainment and decent drinks then you won't enjoy a night at the dogs. It says a lot about our culture that such an average/ borderline depressing experience is seen as "a good laugh." It is your company, not the establishment that decides whether your night is good or bad.
This was my first and so far only experience at a greyhound track. At the behest of a friend a few of us decided to make the 15 minute walk up from poet's corner.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how entertained I was. Perhaps because I'd just read some Roald Dahl short stories about a dude who tried to cheat at a greyhound track. Either way it was a lot of fun and the crowd very into it.
My first experience was fun enough that we brought my then girlfriend's dad to check it out when he came to visit.
The thing with this pace is the fact that no matter your argument you can't deny the fact that your company will decide how good your night is, not the facilities or the atmosphere. If you like gambling and eating food of no discernable quality then I see no reason why you shouldn't visit. I once went here for a staff party. Suffice to say the night really got going when we left for the pub.
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