All shipshape and Bristol fashion – this is a place which believes things should be done properly.

It’s certainly got a style all its own but is another one which struggles with its name.

I will call it The Bristol Bar, but it must have been the Bristol Arms at some point and judging by the interior I assume it was perhaps the bar for a now long-gone fancy hotel.

Approaching down Paston Place from the Royal Sussex County Hospital I wasn’t impressed at first as I was greeted by a few tatty seats just off the road. However, first impressions can be deceiving and once through the door I was greeted by a much grander, more opulent vision.

The nautical theme surrounds you immediately, even the wood panelling has the feel of a luxurious cabin from an age when they knew how to build steamships. There’s even wood panelling on the ceiling.

I was greeted by a muscular barman with a very neat short back and sides and an even neater pair of tailored shorts. I won’t share Mrs PubSpy’s full version of his attributes here (maybe on Facebook) but let’s just say he was highly attentive and very welcoming.

It was another of these long, hot evenings we’re all enjoying so I was strictly on the lager and Mrs P on the fruity cider, a Pravha and a Kopparberg – not particularly cheap but delivered to our table with considerable style.

Everything about the bar harks back to an age when people had more time on their hands and cared about things being done well, even the lazily-turning ceiling fan and the large green vegetation will remind you of the Raj.

Large, wide front windows offer a panoramic view across the car park and beyond that to the sea over Madeira Terrace, which funnily enough I was reminded off again in the gents.

All white, immaculate and sweet smelling, as you would expect in such surroundings, there was no graffiti, stickers or anything else unpleasant in the toilets. There was, however, a well-crafted sign which read: “These are not public loos, they are for our customers. So… If you have just popped in to use the loo we’d appreciate your donation to the Save Madeira Terrace campaign. The box is on the bar. Thank you.”

Back in the bar I was fascinated to see barman number two going round all the tables and lighting up brand new white church candles – this was done on the stroke of 9pm. It may have been coincidence or it maybe owners Simon and Alan think things work better like clockwork.

The atmosphere in the place was good natured and very jovial, the two barman certainly seemed to enjoy a good bond.

Maybe this is because Si and Al make it very clear all tips go 100 per cent directly to the staff.

We weren’t in to eat but I must say the menu looked excellent, as did all the plates coming out of the hatch alongside the bar. Again, the food’s not cheap but it’s a beautifully designed menu proudly announcing everything is home made.

When it comes to the Sunday lunch menu it starts at noon til it’s gone – which again is a great testament to the quality and I suspect they regularly sell out.

So, everything about the Bristol seems spick and span and almost too good to be true – and maybe that’s the point.

If you check the website the owners are just a little too specific about what isn’t allowed. Children are, but they must be really well behaved and only sit in certain places at certain times. Dogs must be just as well behaved. Heaven forbid if you’re in a large group and there are certainly no hen parties or stag parties allowed. Feather boas and fancy dress are actively discouraged and Proud Cabaret customers are not allowed in if they’re dressed for the club. The dress code is described as smart/casual but it was still felt necessary to be specific about tops – incidentally both sexes must wear them at all times, even in the hottest weather.

All of which just rang a slight alarm bell with me, but it wasn’t until I called The Bristol Bar to check on the price of a Pravha for my report that I had my concerns confirmed.

During the first call the phone was slammed down on me, when I rang back and politely requested the cost of a pint I was aggressively informed: “It’s none of your business” – then the phone slammed down again.

All of which takes some of the gloss off this particular venue for me. I can understand the owners being keen to maintain standards, but there is no need to be so rude – particularly as I’d been even more polite than usual. You can have all the flash candles you like, an umbrella rack behind the door and a giant dog’s water bowl, even a ship’s figurehead – but if it comes at the price of impoliteness then all it’s all window dressing.

The Bristol Bar Paston Place Brighton BN2 1HA

Decor: Four Stars

Everything’s very nautical, but no one’s allowed to be naughty in here.

Drink: Three stars

Well served and chilled to a good temperature.

Price: Two stars

A bottle of Kopparberg was £5 and (unconfirmed) a pint of Pravha £5.60.

Atmosphere: Three stars

It achieves the upmarket feel it is clearly seeking.

Staff: Four stars

Very efficient and pleasant, the barmen work well together.

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