Well, the Hatter certainly got 2019 off to rip-roaring start – I’m still reeling from the quite fantastic opening offer. Still, it was a great visit and, if you haven’t done so already, I heartily recommend you get along.

The New Year is traditionally a time for reassessing, re-evaluating and reinventing, either yourself or the things you do. And this got me to thinking.

I’ve been reviewing pubs in and around this great city for a few years now and there are a good number of pubs that have gone through this assessing/evaluating/inventing process who deserve special mention for their efforts.

To date the only pub I’ve revisited is the County Oak, which incidentally moved up the ranking considerably with a second look.

Another which has reappeared in a completely different guise is The New Unity (The Branch as was) which sits on that section of the London Road known affectionately as the “Kyle Mile”.

I haven’t got in yet to see if the clientele, and accompanying smell, has changed sufficiently to warrant a rewrite.

But, I did pass one chameleon this week which has changed beyond all recognition – Daddy Longlegs in Arundel Road has been transformed from what was The New Bush.

There will be very few pub changes as dramatic as this one – it is a world apart from what it was.

It is now light, beautifully decorated, welcoming, smart, trendy and, even from the outside, looks open.

There are ceiling fans (eight or nine) ready for the summer, a heated conservatory out back, tealights on every table and stacks of those luscious-looking giant green pot plants.

Not altogether surprising when you hear it’s a project for the guy who owns the Plotting Parlour.

He opened this one on Halloween last year, exactly four years after launching the Parlour.

He clearly feels there’s a market here for jazz music, glasses hung up over the bar, furniture with floral prints, well-painted wood panelling and a more-than-decent coffee machine.

He may be right and there may well be – the fact is, all it needs is a large injection of life and the buzz, which I’m sure he is confident can be achieved.

It’s incredibly early days and the kitchen doesn’t even open properly until today, so no one could expect miracles.

Can this part of town sustain such an upmarket place? The footie fans who used to frequent pre-match aren’t likely to revisit, either for the fairy lights in the trees, the prices or the sharing cheeseboard (which, incidentally was absolutely stunning – the best £12 I’ve spent on food for Mrs P and I for a long, long time).

Neither is the music likely to do it – The Girl From Ipanema by Astrid Gilberto, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday.

Mrs P liked it, but said it was a little bit “lift music” for her – although she did admit it would only be heard in a lift in a very posh shop.

The kitchen has been franchised out and according to the barmaid will be doing “pub food with a different take”.

Ahead of today the menu just offered three sharing boards – cheese, fish or vegan. If the food is half as good as the cheeseboard it will be immense.

For drinks, of which there are a multitude on offer, certainly compared to the New Bush, I chose a pint of Maltsmiths Lager at £5 a pint. Mrs P’s medium Sauvignon Blanc, which she purred over, was £6.70.

For me there was a tad too much slow jazzzz and it reminded me of that Fast Show sketch. By the time we left the staff outnumbered the punters and one barmaid was checking gin bottles while the other sought to resurrect an ailing pot plant – if they can drag folk in fast enough this place will be great.

It’s perfectly set up to welcome and cater for disabled people, but I saw no sign of whether dogs are encouraged – perhaps they’ll let me know.

The toilets, by the way, were spick and span and mainly painted yellow, the type of yellow where you might think you were sitting in a bowl of custard.

To be frank they were a tad too chilly when we were in but if the numbers visiting increase then the body heat will rise, and you’ll perhaps be thankful for five minutes cooling off time in mellow yellow surroundings.

Interestingly they are doing everything they can to push what they see as the right location – if you read the blurb on their website it says: “Based just off Brighton seafront, near the bustling Brighton Marina” and if you look at the pictures of the place they’re stunning.

The new-look pub is even framed by the beautiful greenery across the road.

So, what’s not to like? Well, the answer is absolutely nothing, but the question still remains for me – will enough of the right sort of people venture to this part of town to deliver Daddy Longlegs the type of success it deserves? I sincerely hope so.

Those wishing to revisit my visit to the Bush, as was, can do so here: https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15100567.the-pub-spy-visits-the-new-bush-arundel-road-brighton/.

Daddy Longlegs

1 Arundel Road Brighton BN2 5TE

Decor: five stars

Transformed, this is as trendy and retro as you could possibly desire, beautifully done up

Drink: four stars

The Maltsmiths was crisp and clean and the wine equally as good – lots of choice

Price: two stars

A fiver a pint and £6.70 for medium wine is at the upper end for this part of town

Atmosphere: three stars

It’s clearly got a way to go, but has made a great start – I hope it can pull people in

Staff: four stars

Welcoming and knowledgeable, they were both very helpful and happy to chat.

You can find all my reviews on the Argus website. Email pubspy@theargus.co.uk. And, please do find me on social media – Facebook/Pubspy Argus and Twitter @PubSpyArgus