WITH a bitter wind howling through The Lanes and a positively Dickensian feel to Brighton on Friday night, I hankered for the warmth of a glowing log fire.

It was the kind of night when a nice hearty ale in a good old English pub was going to be just perfect.

I remembered almost a year ago heading into The Bath Arms and enjoying the blazing pile so I headed back in to warm up and see if the place was as good as I remember.

I asked for a Spitfire and settled in near the window, ignoring the depressing view of the now closed Choccywoccydoodah outside the beautiful old windows.

Instead I enjoyed the fantastic array of pictures of old characters, who looked either royal or religious.

The interior and exterior of The Bath Arms remains a joy. There was no television in sight.

I loved the big old bath on display in the cosy room at the back.

At first the barmaid seemed positively grumpy. When I had ordered she looked like she was going to tell me off.

She had a lovely big pair of boots and trousers half way up her calf in what seems to be a popular trend – not yet taken on by myself, I may add.

By the time she had handed over my pint a smile had started to emerge and when she spoke to me she seemed very nice.

The barman, on later rounds, was equally pleasant and informative on drinks.

The Spitfire was really nice. Very smooth.

It was the perfect drink to do a little people watching.

And this is where The Bath Arms really comes into its own.

As another barman informed me, the place gets really busy at the start and end of the night.

A group of workers came in. They were clearly either on an office do of some kind, maybe too early for a Christmas do though, surely.

I could tell it was a works do as a slightly older member of the troupe got the first few rounds in.

They were all in good spirits and I could tell he thought he was as cool and as young as his colleagues.

I noticed they were on an excellent range of booze. Red and white wine for the ladies, as Al Murray The Pub Landlord would say.

There was Guinness, Kronenbourg, a double Jack Daniel’s, Kraken rum and Coke too.

The strong red-haired lad on the Jack Daniel’s looked like he could be from up north, out on a cold night in a T-shirt with his muscles rippling like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But when I heard him regaling his work pals with the story of how he met his girlfriend, and his plans to make a nude calendar, I realised from his fantastic accent that he was a West Country boy. He sounded like a country bumpkin, just like the older guy in fact.

After the third round the older one left but the young party crowd carried on.

If anything, I know when I’m beat, so I decided to head over to the hip joint known as Cease And Desist and see if I could learn a thing or two from the youngsters.

After stumbling my way through the rain-soaked Lanes, I opened the door of the pub and entered an alien world.

Young people in trendy clothes?

Retro video game consoles?

A sofa laden with partygoers’ bags and coats?

I had entered the hedonistic heart of Brighton.

Out of my depth, I walked over to the jolly barman and asked him what he had.

“I can give you three cans of Hophouse for £9,” he said.

Never having haggled for a pint before, I accepted the man’s offer like a bewildered tourist in a Moroccan bazaar.

I soon learned why the tipple was so cheap – it was the pub’s penultimate night before it closed.

It certainly made the night sadder, though the beer went down well.