IT’S Kemptown, so perhaps having a French maid in gold-studded ankle boots brandishing a feather duster leaping at you with total abandon and swearing profusely isn’t so strange.

I was hardly through the door of The Thomas Kemp before this whirling dervish, with quite appalling lipstick and hedge-backwards hair, was upon me.

It wasn’t what I’d expected when I decided to escape the bright Autumn sunshine on St George’s Road – I thought I’d get a nice quiet pint with perhaps the bonus of a sea view.

What I actually got was “Pete from Big Brother”, inset, in a wig and a plastic maid’s outfit calling me a ****.

Before I had the chance to be offended I recalled the only other thing I remember about BB’s Pete – didn’t he have Tourette’s?

I’m still not entirely clear why he was tearing about at breakneck speed jabbering like a monkey, but I think he might be shooting a short film for some forthcoming festival.

Having got beyond him I chatted to the lovely barmaid who informed me the camera crew said they’d only take 20 minutes but had already been more than an hour getting in everyone’s way.

I took the opportunity of a moment or two of sanity to order a pint of Pullman, a 4.2 per cent ale from the Hepworth Brewery. It poured dark and clear and had a very clean, balanced taste like a great traditional old English bitter.

An excellent pint with a good malty taste and a crisp bite – not that it mattered to me, but apparently, it’s gluten free too.

Inside this one is a bit of a Tardis, much bigger than you’d imagine from the front and, if the weather permits there’s even more space out back in the garden/smoking area. This is very trendily decorated with a lovely paved area. It’s all grey, white and black with old fashioned porthole seafaring murals.

On the subject of art, there are a number of offerings on the walls for sale.

Personally I wouldn’t cough up 200 notes for the colourful Indian Summer on canvas.

Much of the décor is exactly what you’d expect in a done-up pub.

Stripped wooden floors, old furniture (some like the stuff you suffered at school), flowers in bottles on each table, the inevitable fairy lights and an open fire at the back – I wasn’t sure if this ever gets lit.

Tea lights were already flickering for atmosphere and there were, inevitably, even more lights strung up outside – there is even a dodgy looking suit of armour and what looked like a small aspidistra on the bar.

When I took a seat on one of the comfy old sofas I was joined by a hairy sausage dog intent upon some fuss.

He was only slightly more hairy than his owner, who sported a grey beret, and had fortunately relieved himself at the door before coming in, the hound that is, not the owner.

Do not fear Mr Merry, all pooches are very welcome.

I only spied one TV screen in the place which, as there was nothing worth showing at the time, I’m pleased to report was switched off. Though I’m reliably informed this is a good place to watch the odd rugby game if you’re so inclined.

A selection of signs around the bar made a variety of offers – I wasn’t eating but could have had either a sausage sandwich, tuna melt or fish finger sarnie for £7.50, if I was an NHS worker I’d have got a 10 per cent discount.

There was a Saturday brunch advertised at the very civilised and acceptable time of noon until 4pm – Eggs Benedict, Florentine and Royale are all offered. Whether the £7.50 charge is acceptable I’ll leave you to decide.

To keep Mr Knight happy, I can report the whole pub and garden is on one level, though I’ve no idea how a disabled gentleman would make it to the downstairs toilet. Which was, by the way, decorated in the ever more common style of black bevelled tiles and stainless steel – presumably to discourage the taggers, which they haven’t quite managed, though they were clean and sweet smelling enough.

The staff did seem efficient, but I did notice an awful lot of huffing and puffing from the barmaid whenever she wasn’t actually serving. I don’t think she was really upset, perhaps just the sort who likes to moan a bit.

To conclude, once Pete had departed calm was restored and while there is currently scaffolding on both sides I was left in peace to enjoy my view of the sea from what is a very pleasant and welcoming boozer – one I’m happy to recommend. I’m not sure if I’ll make it into the background of Pete’s film, or whether it will be a film I’d want to appear in.

Thomas Kemp – 8 Georges Road, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1EB

Decor: HHH Okay, it’s a done-up bar, but it been done pretty well and is very welcoming.

Drink: HHHH It might be considered ‘just another bitter’, but I loved The Pullman.

Price: HHH The bitter was £4.25, I noticed a pint of Kronie was 30p more expensive.

Atmosphere: HHHH A friendly hound, whirling dervish and a good general buzz – what’s not to like.

Staff: HHHH Good service from a barmaid who clearly knows her stuff.

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