Patcham is one area of my patch that isn’t packed with pubs, so I’d been meaning to catch up with the Ladies Mile in Mackie Avenue for some time.

The front of the pub is imposing with its columns and impressive brickwork – once you weave through the smokers you’re straight through the double doors and into an art deco semi circular bar unspoiled by recent makeovers.

You won’t be in long before you realise this is a boozer which is proud to serve its community. Not that visitors receive a welcome any less warm than regulars, far from it.

The manager Paul is clearly the hub of everything, the oil in the system, the man who makes it all work – as any great barman should be.

A wide grin, a warm welcome and an immediate no-nonsense approach to everything he does, I liked him immediately.

I couldn’t help thinking there was something of the Robbie Williams about him, though if I was going to go ten rounds I’d definitely tackle Robbie and not Paul.

Now, let’s get one thing straight, there are absolutely no airs and graces about this one whatsoever – what you see is what you get and if it’s not for you then avoid the Ladies.

By and large this is a boozer for good, honest, decent working men, women who are prepared to accept this fact and for older couples who live locally and recognise a good deal on decent food.

If you don’t walk in here and realise how deeply rooted this pub is in its community then you must be from Mars.

Interestingly I was advised to visit by a reader called Bob who was less than complimentary, but while I love getting tips, as I’ve always said I will only ever report upon exactly what I find.

Waiting to be served a pint of Harvey’s Sussex Best I found myself next to a ball of fluff on the bar, I think it was a shih tzu. But whatever it was it spent the whole time sitting on the bar while its owner John either petted it or tapped away at his iPad.

I know Harveys is usually a safe bet, but this one was definitely at the top end of the scale and you could immediately tell Pete was not a man to neglect his pipes.

I left the bar dog, his owner and an old boy in a cap with a beard that was even shaggier than the dog to take a good look round.

On the left-hand side of the big curved bar is a separate area set aside for pool, darts, a couple of machines – this like the rest of the pub was packed and lively.

On the right at the back there are tables set aside and laid out for dining and there was a steady flow of folk ordering either snacks or main meals from the menu.

At this point Sporting Lisbon against Arsenal appeared across all the screens along with just enough volume to make my bench seat shake just a little.

The place was plenty warm and snug enough, but I noticed that only one of the two identical gas fires at either end of the bar was on – over which one punter was toasting his feet and rear end alternately.

Reader Bob had highlighted aroma as his number one moan about the pub but for me it just had the smell of hardworking, real people and, as the evening wore on, great food.

It’s also not a place to do things by halves – Halloween was but hours away and there were cobwebs, cottonwool and giant false spiders everywhere, not to mention a stack of costumes hanging up behind the bar.  But, and here’s the important thing, they were celebrating in style to keep kids happy and get involved with the community.

And, judging by what I could see this is also a pub and punters which take fundraising for charity really seriously – good on them.

I shifted across to Kronenbourg and was joined by Debs and Steve, who must be regulars because their pints of Fosters and Strongbow were poured before they even reached the bar.

This is a big old pub with a big old heart and its larger-than-life host is clearly what makes it tick.  There was a sign advertising a function room and I reckon any party here would be a proper party.

I’m delighted to report it has not been spoilt by being renovated, the burgundy and green theme carries through to the gents, which were as old style as the pub but clean.  Old school, real people, incredibly hard-working likeable bar staff.  Sorry Bob, I seriously rate this one and the choice language you mentioned didn’t put me off at all, real pubs need a few F and B words.

Ladies Mile Mackie Avenue, Brighton BN1 8RA

Decor: Four stars

Great art deco feel, unspoilt by any unnecessary refurbishments

Drink: Three stars

A very decent pint of Harveys and reasonable variety on offer

Price: Three stars

Perhaps a little more costly than you might expect - £4.15 the bitter, £4.75 the lager

Atmosphere: Four stars

A friendly and amiable crowd, well-led by ringmaster Robbie, I mean Paul

Staff: Five stars

The main man makes the pub, but he was well supported by a bubbly barmaid

Email me: And, please do find me on social media - Facebook/Pubspy Argus and Twitter @PubSpyArgus