After seeing hot weather was on the way, I decided to stray from Brighton’s beaten track and singled out The Signalman in Ditchling Rise.

This pub promised a lot, with a sign outside claiming it possessed “Brighton’s best kept secret, a gigantic sunny beer garden”. On the day of my visit with Mrs PubSpy, however, the Astro-turfed courtyard was doused in a dismal drizzle, but I suppose that’s not the pub’s fault.

So, after Mrs PubSpy spent a good while pushing a door clearly marked pull, we headed inside.

The pub had living room-like levels of comfort, tastefully decorated with a welcoming feel.

Mrs PubSpy and I took two well-worn cushioned seats at a table in the corner. Unknown to her, a screen showing the Europa League final sat just above her right shoulder.

I headed to the bar to order and was met with two young barmaids dressed in the universal uniform of the hipster. Striped tops, high-waisted trousers, Doc Martens and the oh so obligatory nose ring.

As I waited to be served, a regular named Jason learned one of the barmaids was about to go on holiday and quickly scribbled down his number for her “in case she got into any sh**”.

At first I was sceptical of this manoeuvre, but as they spoke it became clear it was a genuine gesture. The same barmaid then greeted me with a disarming familiarity, “what can I get for you mate,” adding to the pub’s homely ambience.

Perhaps I was influenced by the slightly alternative feel of the place, but I opted for a pint of Gun Brewery red ale which claimed to be vegan. It had a smooth, tangy taste, with no discernible difference given its purported absence of animals.

For a moment I thought that maybe this was the moment that I, PubSpy, reformed myself into a meat-free marvel.

But a two-for-one burger sign across the bar quickly dashed this daydream. I carried my pint, and a vodka cranberry for Mrs PubSpy, back to our table and we decided to order food.

I opted for a classic beef and bacon burger, while Mrs PubSpy went for the more experimental “Dirty Bird”.

I could almost feel Kenneth Williams rolling in his grave as I bit my tongue and passed up the chance to make a joke.

The food did take some time to arrive, with Mrs PubSpy remarking that she was “not angry, just intrigued as to where the food is”. But this wait did give me the chance to pop to the toilets. The urinals were clean enough. The cubicle walls were plastered with scribblings of past pub-goers, with one felt-tip entry asking the age-old question, “ever had a w*** in a pub toilet before”.

Some traumatic flashbacks to Mad Mary at the Mad Hatter Inn followed. But, I noticed another person had taken the bait as a response scrawled in biro underneath read “always”.

The dryer, one of those Dyson Airblades with the might of a tornado, had a bright yellow “B******* to Brexit” sticker on it. I took the opportunity to muse over the recent election results as the disproportionately powerful dryer attempted to tear the skin from my fingers.

As I got back to the table, the food arrived with an apologetic side of “mac and cheese nuggets” to say sorry for the wait.

My burger did the basics well, a thick beef patty with crispy bacon and chunky cuts of cheddar cheese. Meanwhile Mrs PubSpy sang the praises of her kimchi topped chicken burger, though I was not convinced by this new age creation. The meals came with a small tub of mayo-heavy coleslaw and a generous serving of skinny fries. I’m normally more of a chunky chip man but quickly polished off the plate.

The nuggets were the real star performer. A perfect blend of breaded creaminess and richness, accompanied by a rosemary mayonnaise. With the BOGOF offer, there were no complaints as the two meals came to £14.

We stayed for the rest of the game and, though this is not a classic football pub, its two screens drew a healthy crowd of Arsenal and Chelsea faithfuls.

One vocal Gunners fan in a three piece suit (it was a cup final after all) maintained a conversation with commentator Martin Keown as if he was in the room.

At the final whistle we upped and left, satisfied with an evening of food, drink and football.

The Signalman impressed on its first visit. The pub’s comfortable and quirky character makes it the perfect place for a post-work pint.

The Signalman Ditchling Rise Brighton, BN1 4QQ

Decor: HHHHH

Worn, warm and welcoming. Exposed brick, thick wooden furniture and a surprisingly comfortable old church pew along one wall make this a good-looking pub.

Drink: HHH

My ale was well poured, with the barmaid going back for a second pull of the pump to make sure the pint filled the glass. A good selection of pale ales on tap, but could have benefited from some golden or amber options.

Price: HHHH

£8.50 for a pint and single with mixer is nothing to write home about but the two for one burger offer on Wednesdays pushes this up to a four.

Atmosphere: HHH

Relaxed and easygoing. Ideal for a mid-week visit, but I struggled to imagine it adapting to the rigours of a Saturday night.

Staff: HHHH

The pair I encountered seemed to know most of the men in the bar by name, sharing established in-jokes.

The food took some time to arrive but the apologies were sincere and the free food was well received.