AS I walked into The Plough Inn, Adrian, who was clearly a local and, even more clearly, well oiled was just leaving. He bid everyone a jovial goodnight and headed into the gloom.

This traditional village pub in Rottingdean has been on my radar for a while and as I was lucky enough to find a parking spot right outside I decided fate had intervened.

I nearly tripped over a duck on my way in but he soon waddled off and I was next greeted by a very pleasant smile from the friendly barmaid.

I had a taster of the Tribute pale ale but, given his good nature, I opted in the end for a pint of whatever Adrian had imbibed and it turned out to be an old favourite of mine, Harvey’s. Its most famous brew, Sussex Best, is a smooth, tasty, generally safe option and this one didn’t disappoint – I love the hoppy aftertaste you get with Best.

Next on my agenda was a menu and I wondered if duck would feature. In fact, another sort of animal had obviously been selected just to create the menu itself as it was leather-bound and smelled great. The problem is, the hefty new leather binding makes them difficult to manipulate and don’t even bother trying to stand them up.

By this stage another local had decided it was high time he was on his way and we were bid good evening by Terry.

Clearly a pub with a healthy smattering of locals, I was pleased the barmaid, who informed me she’d recently switched courses either to, or from, criminology and sociology and was loving it, treated everyone with exactly the same courtesy.

And then, as if to prove her allegiance, she even managed a smirk as I attached one of the specially designed lion bar mats to my nose to do my impression of a big cat. I do love a place that believes beer mats are still important (and I still haven’t seen my one-hand flipping record of 35 mats beaten).

The place is incredibly welcoming and feels like a real British pub should – right from the beams and wooden panelling to the impressive wallpaper featuring animals in frames.

But by now my 28-day aged Sussex beefburger with all the trimmings had arrived and my attention was taken. This is excellent pub grub and, for me, scored highly in all the right places – plenty of it, well-cooked without being overdone and very tasty indeed.

As I enjoyed the last mouthful a dapper looking gent came in specifically to read The Argus which had been left on the bar. OK, he did order a pint as well but his entire concentration was taken up with the paper. It wasn’t a Friday so he wasn’t reading me, but the Ed should still take note – this is a man who loves his Argus.

I might have had a flick through myself if I could have got it off him but my attention was taken instead by a dark chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream – not sure why salt has to be added to caramel all the time, very trendy, but it was delicious.

By this stage the owner of the pub had wandered in behind the bar and while he was possibly the scruffiest bar owner I’ve ever seen he seemed another jovial, pleasant individual – the flips flops and tracksuit looked well-worn but the T-shirt which read “rugby and beer, what else is there?” seemed apt.

The barmaid reckons the pub is quieter now than it’s ever been since the owner moved in upstairs, but I wasn’t sure how, or why the two facts might be linked. It must be true though, because the second barmaid, who’d since joined the fray, agreed with her and looking at her Doc Marten boots I certainly wasn’t going to argue.

Now, I know how much people love a mention of the toilets in my reviews but there isn’t much to say – the gents is painted olive green and is nicely tiled, very fragrant for a gents too. The ladies had a sign advertising two for one burgers on a Wednesday.

But, my favourite sign in the whole place, and again this harks back to a time of real pubs, was for the weekly meat raffle which is pulled at 7pm on a Friday – what a lovely touch. They are currently raising money for an extremely worthy cause, CLIC Sargent (young people with cancer).

The pub is obviously dog friendly and I stopped to pat a nice old one on my way out – perhaps it should be renamed the Dog and Duck.

The outside area, on the duck pond side of the pub, looks inviting but not the evening I was in as it was below zero – I left it to the ducks. This a real old pub with all the right values and if you’re in the area and are lucky enough to find a parking space I’d heartily recommend a visit.

The Plough Inn Vicarage Lane Rottingdean Brighton BN2 7HD

Decor: Four stars

I’m not 100 per cent sure all the beams are real, but it feels like a real pub.

Drink: Three stars

A very decent, well-kept pint of Harvey’s Sussex Best.

Price: Three stars

The Best was £4.15 and the burger £12, the brownie a further fiver.

Atmosphere: Three stars

It felt like a local, but visitors were treated with the same courtesy.

Staff: Four stars

Attentive, cheery and chatty – a pleasure to spend time with.

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