WHEN I walked into the Duke of Wellington, just up the hill from Brighton Station, it reminded me of a scene from An American Werewolf in London.

In that film two American students walk into a pub on the Yorkshire Moors called the Slaughtered Lamb.

As they open the door, the two men see a joyful pub full of laughter but when the locals see them it suddenly turns silent.

In my memory the pool ball on the pool table stopped rolling, a dart missed the board and fell to the floor and everybody turned to look seriously at the newcomers as the song on the jukebox ground to a halt.

OK, the Duke of Wellington was not anywhere near that bad.

A couple of people looked up at us and I was probably being paranoid but it did feel like the Manic Street Preachers song that was playing suddenly went quiet.

A couple of student types look at us a bit warily.

And the barmaid seemed a little serious when she took my order for a pint of Doom Bar and a Coke.

But then I realised I was wrong and she was actually warm and welcoming, just like the pub turned out to be.

The bar seemed to still have some sort of Halloween bunting up, which was not a great look.

But on closer inspection it was advertising chilli cheesy chunky chips.

The pool room behind the bar had a line of ripped seat covers and with the pool table cover leant against the wall it felt a bit like a community hall.

The unvarnished plywood style wooden door for the disabled toilet wasn’t a very snazzy look either.

The old Xpelair type fans in the walls finished off the look.

But this is all slightly irrelevant because the Duke of Wellington gets all the important things right.

It is a proper pub. It may serve pies with chips but it doesn’t really want to, one suspects.

It had a lovely looking bunch of locals in when I was there.

It’s a boozer, a place to have a drink. You are not going to be served sushi on a wooden plank or a piece of slate. Or dazzled by the “small plates” menu – just a fancy way of selling you not much food.

I was transported back to the pubs of my youth where my dad used to take me.

As on this occasion we would head off in search of a good pool table as I saw myself as a bit of a Jimmy White.

We would enter a smoke-filled room with plenty of hearty laughter and all the contenders would have their eye on taking on the best locals on the green baize.

Those were the days you might say.

They had their negatives – dads staying out and spending all their money getting drunk.

People smoking themselves into an early grave.

Bring on the gastro-pub era you might say. But no.

There’s definitely still room for great pubs like the Duke of Wellington, which is a lot smarter than I gave it credit for earlier in this piece.

It is impeccably clean with very good toilets.

When I went upstairs to the loo I had a nose in at what looked like a small function room or tiny theatre with a stage – what they hold in there must be interesting, I thought.

And there is a good looking beer garden with a covered area so you smokers don’t have to stand out the front bringing the area down.

Although to be fair I never saw a single smoker.

All that was missing, sorry if I missed it, was the wall display of packets of peanuts, with a buxom lady revealing herself further with every packet sold.

Those displays had quite an impression on the teenage PubSpy.

So hats off to the Duke of Wellington, and sorry for the misleading start to this PubSpy.

Incidentally my pint of Doom Bar was crisp and tasty, full of flavour.

And after that I tried the Pravha pilsner, by Staropramen. Again a perfect pint.

It turned out to be nothing like the Slaughtered Lamb.

The Duke of Wellington

Upper Gloucester Road


Decor Two stars

It’s not as smart as some pubs, maybe needs a little TLC. Drink Four stars

Not a massive choice of beers and lagers but perfectly adequate.

Price Three stars

Doom Bar was £3.95 Pravha £4.50.

Atmosphere Three stars

It was a quiet night but weekends must be great.

Staff Four stars