WHEN the barmaid wasn’t able to serve me because she couldn’t reach a glass on the shelf, I feared the worst.

But, to be fair, she hadn’t worked at The Druids Arms for long and was pleasant and helpful in every other way.

For the record, the cost of a pint of Gun Brewery Pale Ale and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps was £4.40. Pity I’m not a student as they had deals plastered up everywhere – vodka and a splash for £2.50 or three Jagerbombs at £6.50.

I looked around to see what interesting comments I might be able to make.

There’s nothing I could actually pinpoint that’s wrong with the place but everything is just so ordinary.

There are sparkly fairy lights adorning every window but is that really a plus?

The age range is mixed, a few oldies, a few younger and a few working guys.

Wooden tables and chairs are littered about and a couple of kegs have been turned into stools – but that’s about the most interesting thing it has.

There’s an empty blackboard, again surrounded by twinkling lights, which served as a metaphor for the whole pub – nothing really going on, not dressed very well.

Add the whiff of disinfectant that pervades and you’ve got the whole picture.

This is the most boring pub I’ve come across in Brighton by far and frankly I’d seen enough in six and a half minutes.

Then I had a remarkable stroke of luck. I walked around the corner and came across The Mitre Tavern.

Pausing to take a picture before entering a fellow swerved out the way to avoid being caught on camera.

Then he asked me if I planned to buy the place. My curiosity piqued, he explained that he’d heard someone had died, someone was in a home and “it’s probably up for sale” – anyway according to him the place is known as God’s waiting room.

So, out of the frying pan, into the fire, I thought. But, I was in for a real surprise. What a glorious little place.

The barman was friendly and knowledgeable. He served me the best pint of Harvey’s Sussex Best I’ve ever had – glorious and nutty, a real thing of beauty.

The place was pretty full of a complete range of people all having a great time – it was buzzing and everyone was happy to chat.

It’s got a proper pub carpet, proper pub furniture and is one of the most welcoming places I’ve encountered in the city so far.

There’s a little snug bar on the right – though the folk in there looked happy so I didn’t disturb them. There’s also a cosy enough little smoking area but I didn’t frequent this either.

I enjoyed a chat with the barmaid taking over from the barman and, if anything, she was even more pleasant and hospitable – what a joy.

The music was great, there was sensible chat about footie, a real wood burning stove and darts and books.

It was with a heavy heart I turned to leave the Mitre.

As I headed for the door I shoved 50p in the fruit machine and the barman wished me luck.

Miraculously I turned my investment into £64.70. But, forget the winnings, this pub is a real winner in its own right – if it is up for sale I’ll buy it.

The Druids Arms, Ditchling Road, Brighton

Decor: ★ (Out of five)

Wooden, like the atmosphere

Drink: ★★★

Plenty of choice for the students, couple of reasonable ales

Price: ★★★

£4.50 for a pint and a packet of crisps


Oh dear

Staff: ★★

Smiley but ineffective

Mitre Tavern, Baker Street, Brighton

Decor: ★★★

Just right for a local

Drink: ★★★★★

The best kept pint of Harvey’s

Price: ★★★

Cheaper than round the corner

Atmosphere: ★★★★

Friendly folk you’d want to meet

Staff: ★★★★★

Really nice, welcoming folk