BACK in 2017, in one of my early PubSpy reviews for The Argus, I took a trip to The Dorset Bar and Kitchen and was not too flattering in my review.

Despite what some may think, most of my reviews are positive, but this was one of those trips where I made it obvious that I could not wait to get out.

As I’ve done before, I decided to return and give it a second chance.

What a mistake to make. It is still not really a pub I would describe as one for the locals.

From the outside it looks great but inside the drinking area gets all the cold air from the door and the focus really seems to be on the cavernous dining area. I love the Marina but on the inside it feels more like it belongs down there, if you know what I mean. More like a chain restaurant. The food may be fantastic, but I was only out for drinks so didn’t give it a try this time round.

It felt like the staff were doing me and my drinking associates a favour when we ordered to be honest. I was, however, entertained by the amount of crisps the barmaid was managing to get into her mouth as she devoured a packet.

The Moretti was a bit sweet... probably a bad choice on a chilly night. The Crafty Blonde pale ale was a nice fresh and tasty pint though and the Kronenbourg went straight down. The Brixton was a nice pint too, I’m told.

We were still not enamoured by the pub though and we wanted to have a good catch up over a few beers.

One of my drinking pals started saying how nice The Heart and Hand looked across the road.

He remarked on the “proper pub” look with its green tiled exterior and branded windows.

The Dorset looks good too though so we didn’t get our hopes up too much as we headed across North Road.

But as soon as we walked in it felt a million times better.

No meals, just snacks as far as we could tell. It was a pub for drinking.

And the barman is my new favourite in the city without a doubt. Our visit was a few weeks ago so I hope he is still there.

He had a great floral shirt and was on top form, telling us all about his aspirations to become an actor.

I think he will do well whatever he chooses in life as he has a great attitude. He was up for a good laugh and helped keep us entertained and drinking... perfect barman. I’m sure he can handle any trouble too, when he came out from behind the bar he looked about seven foot tall.

By the way the drink was bang on.

I was on Amstel but I’m told the Kronenbourg and Punk IPA hit the spot too.

Another reason to bed in for the night was the free jukebox.

I was in my element and the PubSpy did give into the urge to dance when The Stooges came on.

I’ve added an extra picture of the jukebox this week so that you can see just how great the choices are.

Long live The Heart and Hand... the rest of my evening was pretty much taken over by said jukebox.

It is indeed a “proper pub”.