WHEN there’s no music or TV in a pub, that’s when the big issues get discussed.

Had I come to The Alma a couple of months later, minds would have drifted back to the trivia of the Premiership, but thankfully it is the off-season and there are bigger fish to fry.

“We’d all love it if it was real wouldn’t we?” a slurring Phil Daniels caricature said, piquing my interest. “But it’s like aliens isn’t it?”

The bearded guy opposite put his bitter back on the table and fixed him with a stare.

“Yeah, but the thing is,” he said. “Aliens are real.”

Phil recoiled: “You think?”

Since I had my own conversation to get back to, I lost track but I was dragged back by the slurry one: “The government thinks we’re stupid. That’s why they do cover ups like Roswell.

They don’t want us asking questions.”

In a nutshell, that’s what I loved about this pub.

Those likely lads were opposite, a middle aged couple on the bench seat beside, a pair of pensioners diagonally and some businessmen in suits around the bar.

The lounge bar felt remarkably like a Victorian waiting room – there was plenty of wood and leather and heavy floral curtains.

If the decor was old, it would feel dowdy, but The Alma is immaculate inside and out, with art deco lampshades and a big corner fireplace adding some character.

But don’t think this is one of those posh, too-smart-for-its-own-good pubs – it isn’t.

What you get is a nice, no frills, clean and simple barroom. Bring your own atmosphere - and people do.

The bar is long though the range of drinks is relatively short. A gentle, motherly woman behind the bar served me a Magners and a J20 for my driver for £5.60, which I didn’t think was unreasonable.

And then we sat, chatted, had a good time and craftily tuned into the conversation around us.

Who needs a TV?

The Alma, Alma Road, Sidcup

How it rated:

Decor **** Clean, atmospheric, Victorian

Drink ** Not an extensive range

Price *** About right

Atmosphere **** With no TV or music, it is what you make it

Staff ***** Motherly