SOMETIMES, all you want to do is sit down with a pint and watch some random sports action.

OK, you could argue that sitting down in your front room with a few cans is a more pleasant (not to mention cheaper) option.

But personally, I believe there are times when only the pub will do.

A passing visit to the Five Bells recently reinforced my belief that pubs should be more like a front room. A place where you can sit down on your own and take stock of life over a nice pint of ale and not be bothered by anyone.

Even for a man in my position, I still feel it slightly strange going to a pub on my own. I know it's a perfectly reasonable, and some would say noble, pursuit that many people enjoy.

But still in this day and age, there are some pubs you really don't want to go into alone. There are many reasons for this. The pub may be unfriendly, or impersonal. Or it may be a loud sociable place where the notion of having a “quiet pint” doesn't exist.

However, none of the above can be said about the Five Bells on Bromley Common.

My visit one weekday evening was a pleasant and relaxed affair. The barman served me my pint with the minimum of fuss and I found a nice spot to watch the TV.

The pub is quite a cosy place - hence my likening it to a front room. Although it's by no means a small place, it doesn't suffer from the feeling of impersonality that some larger places can have.

I couldn't really tell if this was the clientele, the service or just my beer talking, but I felt genuinely relaxed in the Five Bells much more so than a lot of other places I have been to recently.

I'd go so far as to say that all the ingredients for a decent traditional night down the pub do seem to be in place here. With so many hellish portals in the nearby town centre just a stone's throw away, I well recommend you make the short trek to visit this thoroughly decent boozer.

And if you make it a daytime visit in the warmer months, so much the better: the plethora of hanging baskets at the front are truly stunning.