I’LL lay my cards on the table straight away.

I love The Basketmakers and have been before – Google it if you like. There are many reasons and my latest trip did not disappoint.

This place hasn’t changed since it was a popular haunt for Argus workers at the old North Road offices before the paper moved to Hollingbury (and came back to town).

In fact, after ordering a pint of Fuller’s London Pride and taking a sip of the crisp, tasty beer, I took in the surroundings and had a bit of a daydream.

It was the 1980s and the sun was streaming through the gap in the curtains, so you could see the dust in those sun rays and cigarette smoke filled the air.

My dad had given me my usual lemonade and lime and my knees were still covered in mud from Sunday morning football.

I look back and it was at that moment, eating a packet of Walkers roast chicken flavoured crisps, that my love of pubs began.

It wasn’t The Basketmakers, but it might well have been. And it could have been now if it wasn’t for the cigarette ban.

I love the way the walls are painted a creamy, yellowy brown, as if that cigarette smoke was still around.

Sticking on the cigarette theme, the pub still has those delightful little tobacco tins nailed to the wall, where boozers can leave little messages.

Unfortunately the first one I picked up had a bit of a racy message about how good a woman – whose name I shall leave out – is particularly skilled at a certain leisure activity.

I tried a different box and was delighted to read a more high-brow offering, with some famous quotes, though I’m sorry they have not stuck in the mind like the first one has.

At the big table in the window was a group of – I’ll be kind – middle-aged gents enjoying some banter. One of them was a Chris Hughton lookalike.

If it had been the Seagulls manager he wouldn’t have been impressed by the guy at the bar wearing an old Manchester City top.

I’ve got a message for you mate – bad timing in Brighton after the FA Cup semi final and if you are going to wear a top from when Georgi Kinkladze was your best (only good) player then it is only cool if it’s your own top from back in the day really. Unless it’s a proper vintage Brazil shirt maybe. A ropey looking old City away top from when they were rubbish at Maine Road and Definitely Maybe had just come out doesn’t cut it for me pal.

My favourite drinker of the night was North Laine hippy next to me who was meeting her friend there and they had been texting each other for about 20 minutes before they realised they had both in fact arrived and had been about four tables away for all that time.

I went for a pint of Peroni next, and the pricing is the only thing I can call them out on – £5.90 is a bit of an eye-watering price for a pint for many. I’ll be back on the London Pride next time, at £4.40.

It was another great pint though, enjoyed after a trip to the “traditional” toilets, where you have to dry your hands on a beer towel resting on top of the (presumably) broken hand dryer.

Incidentally the food is great at the Basketmakers. I mean really good. It seems to retain its proper pub feel while still being a very good place to go for a meal.

I’ve had a great monkfish, mussels and prawns dish there and this time my steak was cracking, with an amazing peppercorn sauce.

I’ll be back again soon.

By the way they young man and woman behind the bar were an absolute joy to be served by, and the people in there drinking all seemed very welcoming and friendly when we were there. So this place is maybe my favourite at the minute.

Until next week at least. Please don’t change.

The Basketmakers Arms

Gloucester Road


Decor: Five stars

It could be any time in the last 40 years - perfect.

Drink: Four stars

Very good choice - Mrs PubSpy enjoyed the wine too

Price: Three stars

Not the cheapest but worth it I’d say

Atmosphere: Five stars

One of those places which only needs a few people to feel like it’s buzzing

Staff: Five stars

Only two there but they were all over it.

You can find all my reviews on the Argus website: www.theargus.co.uk/leisure/pubspy/

Email me: pubspy@theargus.co.uk

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