I WAS encouraged to visit the Jolly Brewer in an email from Patreed75 who claimed I’d be challenged to find a toilet roll and a cube of ice.

It might be just five minutes drive from The County Oak, and there’s no doubt it’s another pub for locals, but it is a million miles away in terms of atmosphere.

In dishing out abuse following my report of the Hollingbury hellhole, the locals sadly forgot what is important and what makes a great pub.

True, the Jolly Brewer is tattier, it’s smellier, it’s only got one room and it’s never going to attract as many punters, but it’s also a brilliant pub.

And, it’s all down to the guys and gals standing at the bar and working behind it – they are salt of the earth people who are just as welcoming to visitors as they are one of their own.

Anyone new walking in will have heads turning, but it was only seconds before the jukebox was blaring out local boy Rag ’n’ Bone Man.

Everyone blasted it out and I was encouraged to join in.

Red-shirted Steve explained he can’t see the point of a jukebox if it’s not cranked up.

And all this despite the fact they only buried the pub’s owner Peter just over a week ago. The wake, though, was held at sister boozer The Bear because it’s bigger.

In fact, the outlook for this great local pub could sadly be bleak. Live-in landlady Nikki (Doris to those in the know) is desperately worried about the future.

It seems 62-year-old Pete died without a will and the brewery might end up pricing the lease way out of reach of anyone

currently linked to the Jolly Brewer.

It’s particularly sad as I’m told the punters who are builders or decorators had agreed to do a good deal of the work on the cheap.

This is a pub with all the usual elements you’d expect – a fruit machine, darts, pool, a Jack Russell constantly chasing stones, Dangerous Bri Windsor’s Friday night karaoke and, the night I was in, plenty of ice – Danielle you’re a star.

Greyhounds were clearly a love of the now-deceased

Pete and there is a homage to Fire Height Dan covering one wall.

According to the lovely red-shirted Steve, who seems to know everything and everyone, if it wasn’t for a cruel injury suffered to his front leg Dan could have been the next Ballyregan Bob – enough said.

Pool is also a serious business here and the pub runs two teams.

There was a hugely competitive game going on but “Tone” said he had to get off early – whether it had anything to do with the fact his yellow was trapped behind four reds I couldn’t possibly comment.

Realising I couldn’t compete on the table I challenged Roy, a great old boy, to a game of 401. He was keen as long as I agreed to chalk.

But I think the most surreal moment during my visit was standing at the urinal and looking up to find the lovely barmaid staring at me with a smile on her face.

I found myself grinning back before returning to Roy to search in vain for an elusive double.

I hasten to add my lower half was hidden and I was looking through the window into the smoking area behind the pub – and, for the record, loo roll was available too.

Back in bar Roy finally finished things off before heading up the road to represent the Jolly Brewer in a proper match.

I shook hands with all my new found friends and headed home.

I seriously hope Nikki gets the chance to rescue the Jolly Brewer and maintain all that is best about it.

I repeat, this is a brilliant, brilliant pub and those at the County Oak should take note.

A brilliant boozer with a great atmosphere.

Jolly Brewer, 176 Ditchling Road, Brighton

Decor: ★ (out of five)

Fair enough, it’s in desperate need of an overhaul

Drink: ★★★

It’s no surprise there’s no real ale on tap

Price: ★★★

£3.85 for a pint of my go to lager isn’t bad

Atmosphere: ★★★★★

This is what makes this place, it’s got it in spades

Staff: ★★★★