THIS week I found myself at a loose end near the railway station so popped in to a pre-spied boozer, The Duke of Wellie. But, there was golf on the telly and it was absolutely dead (the landlady, who looked up from her mobile just long enough to explain, said it had been quiet all weekend).

So, I sauntered a bit higher up the hill to The Edinburgh, but The Eddy was even quieter – at 9.30pm the place was deserted, it was open but there wasn’t even anyone behind the bar.

As a result, this week’s review comes from the Caxton Arms in North Gardens and falling into this quirky, but cosy, little pub gave me a whole new experience.

Clearly, unlike its nearest neighbours, the Caxton is popular and there must have been a rush on as a few things were sold out completely, including the San Miguel.

I was reliably informed by barmaid Gemma that Hurlimanns is “exactly the same” – it’s not, of course, but I didn’t want to disillusion the poor lady just yet.

PubSpy’s drinking buddy took one look at the taps and immediately ordered a large Hendrick’s with elderflower tonic. Both were served as they should be, and the fishbowl of gin did look very refreshing.

In this left-hand bar, you are faced by a huge stack of board games – many of which I’d forgotten all about – though I did spot the Game Of Life.

However, out of the corner of my other eye I’d seen another long-forgotten pleasure – bar billiards, so we headed to the right-hand bar.

In here it looked like someone was moving house as all the furniture was stacked up in a pile, but I quickly realised it was much more sinister than that.

Keeping my eyes firmly on the balls and concentrating on a light touch I quickly rocketed up the scoreboard, but I was distracted by the group of 16 or so werewolves at the other end of the bar. It turns out they meet here on a Monday and pass round a selection of cards with “Ws” on them before trying to hunt someone down.

It seemed above aboard, and the wolves enjoyed their game with a beverage and a sarnie, so the Caxton is happy to have them. In fact, when one fellow was killed he kindly invited me along to his next meeting to enjoy a similar experience – not sure about that.

Having relived my youth with bar billiards I took a few moments out on the one leather sofa present to take in the atmosphere. I was surrounded by stuff and it felt a bit like I’d walked into my nan’s old house – a typewriter, assorted bottles, no end of tat in fact, but it’s homely and I liked it.

I was also royally entertained by long-legged barmaid number two, who made a number of very cheeky comments and seemed particularly interested that Pedro was having werewolf trouble with his sheep – how I yearn for the old days when everything everyone said didn’t have to be so politically correct.

By now the slightly officious fellow running the game was engaging in a lengthy discussion about whether there should be a roll call, whatever that meant, so I wandered off to check out the rest of the pub.

I’d seen a garden advertised but couldn’t for the life of me picture where it was.

In fact, there is a whole basement area at the back which can be accessed by climbing down some fire escape-type steps.

It opens up into a reasonably big seating area and is dominated by a great mural depicting many of the city’s great landmarks. There’s even a piano down here and more toilets. The lighting was great and although no one was around this particular evening I’ll bet this space is jumping some nights.

Back up the metal staircase is another small seating area right at the back of the two bars and on quieter warm evenings this is clearly the spot favoured by real locals and the bar staff – and why wouldn’t they like it? There’s even a pink flamingo in a plastic bucket.

I popped into the gents on my way back and it looks as if it’s been redecorated recently in the now traditional gun metal grey but I can report it is well maintained.

This is a quirky pub in the extreme and a rare gem, particularly as it is so close to the railway station – which is normally such a barren wasteland for decent boozers. Lovely, chatty, lively bar staff, a bar billiards table and a room with happy, if slightly geeky, folk. A perfect recipe for a fun night out. This is one firmly on my revisit list.

l I should just mention, on Thursday, June 21, there’s a fundraiser quiz for a very worthy cause, The Martlets. Starts at 7.30pm.

Caxton Arms

36 North Gardens

Brighton BN1 3LB

Decor: Four stars

Tat everywhere, just like a proper pub should be.

Drink: Four stars

Hurlimanns isn’t San Miguel but it was fine and the gin was great.

Price: Three stars

It was £4.60 for the pint and £5.50 for the gin with Fever Tree.

Atmosphere: Four stars

Even on a Monday evening there was a buzz about the place.

Staff: Five stars

Stars of the show, barmaids with the whole package – thanks ladies.

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