I REALISED a long time ago that however much I try to convince people that I am a hardened drinker, that I lust after the smoky atmosphere, yearn for the pinging of fruit machines, worship at bars, I am not really.

I know this because every time I walk into a new place be it friendly boozer or trendy bar rather than go straight to the bar, the first thing I do is case the joint for somewhere to sit.

And I'm not interested in just sitting in some darkened corner either.

If I am going to spend an evening gracing a pub with my presence, I want a table big enough to accommodate everyone I'm with, comfy seats and above all a good vantage point.

Indeed, this last factor is probably the most important, especially for an avid "people-spotter" like me.

The Peahen, which stands on the corner of Holywell Hill and London Road, was spot-on, with its raised plinth for maximum visibility of everyone who walked through the door.

The second thing I do when I walk into a new pub is look around for the tell-tale signs of a menu, indicating that the establishment in which I am standing will should the need arise be capable of providing me with a basket of chips, and maybe a ciabatta sandwich later in the evening.

Again, The Peahen looked as if it would pass this test with flying colours as I surveyed an appealing display of hot dishes, snacks and sandwiches on the menu. My order arrived promptly, in large proportions and perfect in every way although, granted, it would take even a particularly incompetent Can't Cook Won't Cook contestant a fair bit of effort to make a bad jacket potato with a tuna filling.

Side orders cannot be ordered by themselves though, which puts the idea of a pint and basket of chips right out of the question.

The place really does have a nice atmosphere though.