I've secretly fallen in love with another pub.

I didn't mean to. It was just a quiet pint at first but now I can't stop myself. I keep finding myself making excuses to go back for more.

It's only in the village up the road. I go there by myself; to enjoy a quiet hour on my own in the corner with a drink, while the locals chat around the open fire.

I smile and share pleasantries with them, but they don't know me. I like being the outsider here: welcome, but not yet part of the community.

I could return and introduce my friends to the pub I but I'm not ready for that. I'm enjoying it this way: my little secret.

We met by chance. It was professional at first. I just needed somewhere to do some work for an hour or so. The Wi-Fi is so goddam good.

The beer's great too, and the snacks. One pint is never enough.

But it's the little things that I've really fallen for.

There's four different charity boxes on the bar, all local causes - this pub really cares. The pub dog welcomes all who step over the threshold with a sniff before settling back in the same spot.

The staff are welcoming without standing on ceremony. They flirt and take the mick in equal measure. Yesterday they topped-up my pint after it had up settled a little shy, without me saying a word.

 

 

It's full of laughter too. The warm, half-cut kind. It reminds me of the rugby clubhouses I was dragged to as a child.

When a local leaves this place, the entire pub says goodbye.

A sign on the door says there's a 'zero tolerance' drugs policy and anyone failing to adhere to that will be given a lifetime ban. I love that strictness. Don't blow it.

There's no second chances here.

Another sign on the wall celebrates: "Grandad. The Man. The Myth. The Legend."

Grandad's not underneath the sign. He might be underneath the ground for all I know. I think I'd like Grandad though. He sounds like fun.

There's a dartboard too and genuinely old photos of how the village – this village – used to look. A couple of tankards hang above the bar. The furniture is slightly shabby. Not shabby-chic, just shabby.

There's a bigger pub a stone's thrown away, but there's something about this place. This is the one the locals come to. The other one brings them in from further afield, like you're supposed to these days.

People speak honestly with each other here. The conversations cover everything from life at home to the stories in the parish newsletter or the national heavies. Different views are respected.

Sometimes it's hard to know what makes you fall so hard. But I know what it is that I like about this place.

This pub is authentic. This pub is unapologetic.

I'm coming back for more.