Rough and ready it may be, even a little worn around the edges, but I absolutely loved The Quadrant when I got the chance to pop in.

I wasn’t even planning on a pint but was dragged across the road by my colleague demanding a large G&T.

This is a corner bar which clearly dates back to Victorian times and several bits and pieces around the pub look as if they haven’t changed at all over the years.

I know there will be people claiming it looks tired and shabby, and even some calling for a makeover, but I seriously hope it doesn’t go this route.

Everything about the old-fashioned feel is wonderful. OK, the padding on my high stool was starting to go but I just sank into it and I swear it was the more comfortable for it.

The bearded, tattooed barman from the old country couldn’t have been more welcoming and cheery – the lilt took me back to happy times in Belfast There are some great old pics of Brighton adorning the walls even though all the wood panelling and the red/brown ceiling didn’t shed much light on them. Some might argue the place is too dark, but I think it just adds to the atmosphere.

With a double Tanqueray and tonic in her mitt my colleague settled down, or at least she did until the drummer upstairs started warming up – at this point she almost leapt out of her seat. Again, for me, having this brilliant live venue just up a rickety, winding wooden staircase simply added to the charm and appeal, and once she relaxed again she agreed.

Considering I wasn’t planning a drink at all, my selection was fairly full throttle, a pint of Lagunitas – an IPA weighing in at 6.2 per cent. Powerfully bitter in a very pleasant way there was just the right bite as it slipped down, and the head remained intact right to end of the pint.

I was even tempted to go bitter-sweet and eyed the old-fashioned pick and mix greedily, especially the old world flying saucers.

In the end I left the sweets to our new-found friend the Irish barman as he popped next door for a bag of Minstrels for his tea.

By now I’d moved to the bottom bar and this spell of unseasonably warm weather for October meant the door had been left open, allowing me to share the evening with those sitting at the bus stop, and even some of the passengers as a variety of omnibuses pulled up.

Intrigued now by the power of the drumming, I climbed the spiral wooden staircase and was greeted by a nice lady taking the cash at the gig entrance. I didn’t pop in this time, but £4 to see three bands is incredibly good value and many other folk were going in. A word of warning though, there’s definitely no crossing on these stairs, even you thin folk won’t manage it.

Back in the main bar our genial host was, as he put it, “adding the ambience” by popping a tea light on each table. I noticed his equally hirsute colleague in a green T shirt and shorts didn’t seem to have to do any work at all. Though he did at least re-direct any music lovers heading downstairs towards the toilets back up the stairs for Thursday night’s live offering.

While I’m on the subject of toilets – for once, the fellas get a better deal than the ladies.

Firstly, there’s only one cubicle for the girls, whereas the guys get three urinals and a stall. And, not only does the gents smell sweeter, it is also decked in black marble. I can only assume it hasn’t been redecorated for many, many years as there was a sticker featuring Mike Channon in his Saints kit still looking youthful.

In the bar the music was I’m The Mountain by Stoned Jesus, which isn’t great, but when it was replaced by The Bard’s Song (Blind Guardian) the barman double act dutifully sang along.

The place has sadly fallen prey to the infestation of fairy lights so many places are afflicted by and some furniture is in the falling apart category, as opposed to just tatty, but I still love it.

Some touches are great – the bourbon bottles with ears of wheat, the games and books left casually on the stairs and the barrel stools.

But it’s the staff (as always) who make or break a place and while one’s work ethnic might not have been top notch, the other fellow more than made up for it. Two more welcoming barmen you will not find. On the way out, I even found a penny, and picked it up – but I reckon I’d already been lucky finding this gem of a place, right in the heart of the hustle and bustle and bang on the bus route.

If you haven’t discovered its charm yet, head for this corner bar at the first opportunity.

The Quadrant

North Street




Decor: **** Please, please don’t change anything – keep those wannabee refurbers well away

Drink: **** A well-stocked bar with plenty of choice on offer. The IPA was perfectly served

Price: ** A double mother’s ruin with tonic was £5.85, the beer a heftier £5.80

Atmosphere: **** Some folk were in for the night, others popped in briefly – but buzzing all round

Staff: ***** Irish charm, great service – if I was looking to start a bromance…