I’D hardly had time to say hello to the barmaid before I discovered The Admiral has a whisky of the week and, as a result, Laphroaig was available for £2.50 – I liked this place already.

Approaching the small but well-proportioned bar I got such a lovely welcome I decided to trust the barmaid’s choice for a drink. Imagine my surprise when she suggested a Porter from the Bedlam Brewery. A very dark, pleasant little number it was too.

I turned my attention to the punters, a great mix of punky young students and working guys. The working guys had a genuine camaraderie and indulged in a fair bit of hugging and back slapping.

This is a decent, proper pub. There are no fruit machines, no pool tables, no darts, no jukeboxes, but what you do get is memorabilia plastering the walls, sensible music, comics scattered around the tables, a piano, what looked like a very old mixing desk and a small TV set up for gaming, if that’s your thing.

Birmingham City were in town so the other person behind the bar, Steve, was off fairly early to watch the Seagulls.

The pub has three huge bay windows and the locals either position themselves to look out on to the smokers dotted around at tables outside or they gather on stools around the bar.

The door was wide open and you get the occasional whiff of smoke but I didn’t even mind this.

By now I was ready for a second pint and allowed Steve to choose this time. He recommended a Bramber American Ale from the Downlands Brewery at 4.5 per cent and, while I wouldn’t want to be accused of playing favourites, the barmaid’s choice was better.

Making my way to the gents I discovered a door to the garden, which has obviously been recently renovated and deserves mention as a fair bit of work has gone into it. It wasn’t being used, so I’ve taken a snap for you to see it too.

A new arrival ordered a pint of Guinness and was directed to a socket where she could charge her phone. There’s no question good service is high on the agenda at The Admiral. One group of students were on lime and sodas, hardly a big earner for the pub, but they received exactly the same good natured service.

I’m sure there are times it can get quite “lively” in here but I got the impression it would be controlled exactly the right way and I loved the atmosphere created by the bar staff.

Yes, all in all, I enjoyed my sojourn in Elm Grove and can heartily recommend others pay a visit.

lCheers to Doug Hillman for his message about screeching young women, particularly noticed in The Long Man, Hollingbury.

I too have noticed these groups of 25 to 35-year-olds screaming at the top of their high-pitched voices. You say you think this has come across from California – I’m not able to comment where it’s come from but sadly it’s certainly arrived here. Sometimes they erupt every few minutes and you’re right, it can spoil the normal buzz of conversation, though unlike you, I’m not sure they’ve come close to giving me a heart attack.

The Admiral, 2-6 Elm Grove, Brighton

Decor: ★★★★ (out of five)

Tidy where it needs to be, wonderfully tatty where it should be

Drink: ★★★★

Plenty of choice, decent ales on tap

Price: ★★★

£3.75 for the paler pint, £4.50 for its heavier 5.0 per cent companion

Atmosphere: ★★★★★

I loved it. Decent, down-to-earth people

Staff: ★★★★

Who wouldn’t take this barmaid’s advice?

Food: N/A