A reporter walks into a bar... No, seriously - it's not a joke.

A new guide has ranked every pub in Brighton and Hove so we sent Miles Godfrey on the reporting assignment of his life to check some of them out.

I have seen the light - I know the perfect formula for a pub.

Boozers started appearing when the Romans got here. But what did they know?

It has taken centuries for us to perfect the art of the pub - an art in which Brighton can rightly claim to be world beaters.

The perfect formula for a pub goes something like this: Atmosphere + good beer + good music + friendly staff, with a dash of a nice garden = A GOOD PUB.

Not so difficult is it? But literally hundreds of pubs across Sussex, indeed across the country, get it wrong all too often.

Most can manage one of the above ingredients, some even two or three.

But few have all five.

My epiphany came about an hour into some research to find Brighton's best pub.

A new book, handily titled Brighton's Best Pubs, written by the mysteriously named Pub Jury and available in all good bookshops, claims to have discovered the best this city has to offer.

But in the name of rigorous journalism, their lofty claims needed to be put to the test.

So, stomach suitably lined, and with a keenness which would have put one of Alan Sugar's Apprentices to shame, I set off to visit the supposed best five pubs in the city.

The Dragon, in St George's Road, Kemp Town, is, according to the book, Brighton's fifth best pub.

Highly praised for its "great and varied menu", and its "amazing decor", it scored an instant hit with me.

Landlord Pete Wass, who has run The Dragon for three years, offered me a free shot of rum one of his punters had brought back from Dubrovnik.

Not one to be shy I duly downed it and ordered a beer. Lovely stuff.

The locals were friendly, if perhaps a little inebriated, Pete was friendly and the music was good.

Feeling bold and with that familiar warm fuzziness welling up inside me, I eagerly set off for Brighton's fourth best pub (according to the book).

Southover Street's The Pub With No Name is definitely a fine establishment, well loved by locals and spacious.

It was praised in the book for having an atmosphere "like a house party" and good food.

It was hardly buzzing, but then at 3pm that could be forgiven.

I chatted with a couple of lads in there after ordering a second beer.

James Tester, 28, reckons he visits the pub twice a week. He said: "I think it's the fact it's a friendly place is the main reason I come down - that and the beer obviously."

Third on my list of liquid liaisons (and yes, you guessed it, third best in the book) was The Hop Poles in Middle Street.

This is a veritable legend of pub, selling as it does, not only beer but sweets out of jars.

It has a cracking atmosphere, even during the day, a super beer garden and a wide variety of booze.

The only down side is that it is a bit pricey - £3.40 for a pint of Foster's.

Having lightened my wallet somewhat, I sat down to my frosty beverage with relish - a relish which was fast becoming lubricated with the growing amount of beer inside my belly. The book describes The Hop Poles as a "relaxed, modern pub with good beer and great food".

I didn't sample any of the grub but it did smell fantastic. I did, however, have another rum, in the name of research, obviously.

The art made out of old hubcaps lining the ceiling looked good. Mind you, everything looked pretty good at this stage.

Right, onwards and upwards.

I staggered out The Hop Poles, managing not to trip over the kerb and narrowly avoiding a passing car and got my driver (a necessity for this type of work) to whisk me up to Open House in Springfield Road.

This massive pub, rated number two in the book, is extremely friendly and has a great atmosphere.

Trying to keep as sober as I could, I chatted to bar staff, who ran me through their range of beers.

One said: "We're pretty proud of the range we've got. There's a decent number of wines too."

The rest of my time in Open House was a bit of blur but, suffice to say, I agreed with the book's rating.

I approached number one, The Basketmakers Arms, in Gloucester Road, with some trepidation.

It's so highly praised in the book I thought it could never live up to the expectations.

To be fair, it pretty much did.

Bar staff are dead friendly and the food looked and smelled amazing. Beer seemed well kept and tasty.

The best thing about this boozer is its quirkiness. And this is why Brighton pubs are the best.

Punters regularly leave little messages inside the tins which line the pub's walls, the customers here are among the most diverse you will find and even during the mid-afternoon it was packed.

The only downside? No beer garden, although it does have seating outside.

Which brings me back to my magic pub formula.

None of the above had all five of my ingredients - although most had four.

Perhaps the perfect pub doesn't exist after all. But I reckon if I was a landlord I'd give it a damn good go.

To watch Miles' video report, click here.

What are your favourite pubs in Brighton and Hove? Tell us below.