After a man was told he could not dine at a fast-food restaurant in Bexhill because he was not wearing any shoes, The Argus decided to investigate whether Brighton’s eateries are more foot friendly than their easterly cousins.

James Graham was told by staff at McDonald’s in Ravenside Retail Park to put his shoes and socks on when he popped in for a quick bite to eat – or otherwise he had to leave.

The barefoot punter, who is set to run in the London Marathon this year, chose to live a shoeless lifestyle after the death of his wife in 2013, and said he was “astounded” at the restaurant’s rule.

But does Bexhill’s sole-less policy stretch to Brighton? Reporter Zac Sherratt whipped off his trainers to find out.

My first stop was McDonald’s on Western Road, where I expected to be turfed out by staff in an instant. But after what felt like the longest walk from the entrance to the till, all that awaited was bemusement from puzzled guests, a few giggles, and some sneaky photographs.

The Argus: Reporter Zac Sherratt investigatesReporter Zac Sherratt investigates (Image: The Argus)

Perhaps staff had seen stranger things in a city centre McDonald’s than a man with no shoes? Who knows.

What’s certain, however, is that I have never more eagerly anticipated a meal like the Chicken Mayo Burger awaiting me. The longest 15 minutes of my life.

But I am pleased to report that I made it out from the restaurant without a stern talking to from staff or a manager, and avoided mushing any stray fries into my toes. A success.

Next on the list was KFC, also on Western Road, which was equally as packed with lunchtime diners as the restaurant before, all seemingly stunned at the sight of someone queueing for a Bargain Bucket with no footwear.

As before, eyes were darting about with people pointing out the shoeless man to their friends, while one person simply asked: “Why would you do that?”

For hard-hitting research purposes, of course.

The Argus: The Argus investigates whether a burger can be bought in Brighton by people who reject footwearThe Argus investigates whether a burger can be bought in Brighton by people who reject footwear (Image: The Argus)

Staff at KFC, however, had clocked my pale size nines, and I feared this was the moment I would be hauled outside.

But no, the response from one worker was: “Would you like a bag?”

I assumed this was for my chicken.

READ MORE: McDonald's Bexhill tell man he must wear shoes in restaurant

Continuing my quest along Western Road I popped into a personal favourite, Greggs, fearing I could land myself on the barred list at my Saturday morning staple.

Gazing upon the sandwiches and salads, kidding myself of a healthy alternative, I played it safe and chose four sausage rolls.

Shoeless or otherwise, Greggs staff really are the best, taking time to discuss allergens and dietary requirements despite a huge queue behind me and my obvious podiatry predicament.

I left, pastries in hand and beaming from ear to ear, as Argus photographer Andrew Gardner and I ventured to North Street.

I should say at this point, I am a Devon boy, so potentially biased. As we all know, of course, Devonians only wear shoes on special occasions, and we spend the rest of our time walking through muddy fields.

But with no countryside in sight, Burger King made for a good alternative – a Whopper meal the remedy.

The Argus: Staff at Popeyes were very happy to help despite the lack of footwearStaff at Popeyes were very happy to help despite the lack of footwear (Image: The Argus)

We sat by the door and enjoyed our meal with smirks and chortles from the tables opposite. Though one disgruntled guest did move away from us. It’s a surprise it took until the fourth restaurant to provoke that reaction. I had expected to empty each place we visited.

And then, filled with burgers, it was time to visit the last destination on our list.

I had been meaning to try out Popeyes since it opened, but can say I had not expected it to be in this way – with cigarette ash and chewing gum welded to my now-aching feet.

But the friendly staff at Brighton’s newest chicken eatery did not seem to care. Instead helping me to order, finding me a great table in the window, and wishing me an enjoyable meal.

And so after an initially tense time traipsing through Brighton with no shoes or socks, and preparing for the jeers of onlookers, I can confirm that our city is one that accepts you and your feet as they are.

If you’re looking for a day out where you can leave the shoes at home, then Brighton is the place for you.