I promised myself a return visit to Grand Central after popping in briefly before putting a mate on a train a few weeks ago.

It was absolutely buzzing then and was again on a busy Friday night – a fair old fug had built up and the body heat in the place meant the windows were streaming.

Busy it might have been, but surely there can’t be any excuse for leaving anyone waiting to be served at the bar for more than 20 minutes.

Fortunately for me I found myself standing next to a Fijian security guard with an incredibly wide smile and plenty of time to chat. He might not have been able to speed up the service, but Lalauvaki, who was taking a few minutes, well at least 20, to enjoy a free coffee before beginning his stint on door duty, was good company.

A massive rugby fan, as so many Fijian men are, we had plenty in common and I agreed his homeland is the most beautiful in the world.

Good old Lala kept me entertained with his sharp wit while a selection of bar staff, who definitely aren’t the sharpest, faffed around behind the bar.

First one tap went, followed by another – at least two of my choices were ruled out as a result.

It looked like there was a lot of choice on offer but actually getting your hands on a pint is a nightmare.

This is the worst service I’ve experienced in Brighton and Hove since I started this column a year ago and you have to wonder if this place would even survive if it wasn’t for the location.

Finally after an interminable time, and being treated to Lala’s full family history, I was served a 5.0 per cent Sierra Nevada and pint of Nomad (4.8 per cent) for my mate.

The American Sierra Nevada was citrusy in the extreme and you can really taste the grapefruit – much like the Yanks themselves though, it was too full on for me, but I’m sure some would love it.

There’s a healthy flow of folk in and out of the pub as you would expect, which I think adds to the atmosphere and judging by the number of hugs and kisses on show this is a regular meeting spot.

On the night I was in there was a charity do going on upstairs until 1am so a number of souls looked good and lively already by the time they came in.

It seems everyone is welcome, there was even a pair of hyper-active, wiry-looking Jack Russells who were leaping between a number of favoured laps. I do like a pub which encourages dogs.

There’s clearly been some thought put into the décor and there are a number of quaint touches – I particularly liked the table which is supported by a stack of books – you’ll need to take a look yourself to see how it works.

Some parts of the pub are divided up into “olde-worlde” type wooden cubicles which allow for smaller groups to break away from the full throng of the pub.

However, one cubicle I would advise you to avoid, or at least spend as little time as possible in, is the gents.

The green and white tiled toilet is one of the smelliest I’ve encountered and the optimistically titled WhiffAway product in the urinals is certainly not living up to its name.

The night I was in the ammonia was powerful enough to make your eyes stream.

Mind you, if you were forced to close your eyes you’d still know exactly where you were.

Once again the place is full of Christmas lights or fairy lights. I don’t understand this obsession with these strings of festive bulbs but more and more places are leaving them up all year round.

Following my first experience I was wary about visiting the bar again, but luckily for me my second pint took a “mere” seven minutes to obtain and the barman did at least deign to grunt something by way of a response.

This time I tasted the Front Row but rejected it as too bland and went instead for the 5.0 per cent Espresso Stout.

Bland this one isn’t – the coffee overtones are powerful and lasting.

This is a hefty pint, much more powerful than I’d usually go for, but I loved it.

One reason for the delays seems to be the trap door to the cellar which, when it needs to be opened to change a barrel, takes up most of the bar serving area.

However, even this frustration isn’t an excuse for the rude, disinterested staff.

At first sight this one looked good to me but the service alone should put you off.

Unless I’m parched and forced to wait for a late train I won’t be back.

Grand Central – 29/30 Surrey Street, Brighton BN1 3PA

Decor: *** Some nice touches, it’s worth sneaking a peek at the private room upstairs.

Drink: *** Both pints tasted okay, once you finally got your hands on them

Price: ** Not cheap - The Sierra Nevada is £5.65, but the Espresso Stout is 10p less

Atmosphere: *** Buzzing, but I think this was solely down to the pub’s location

Staff: * The bar staff are disinterested to the point of being unacceptably rude.

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