As a righteous student, I hated J. D.
Witherspoons. They seemed to be symptomatic of a mainstream take-over which I
now see was just niavity. The Coronet is a conversion of an Art Deco cinema,
but it's best to visit before you get all culturally superior. Witherspoons are
a 'pub chain,' but their brand of capitalism ain't new: the original cinema no
doubt operated on the same money-making principles. They're the same principles
that drive the Moustache Bar or Boujis. Witherpoon simply champions working
class drinking values. Legend has it that he based his chain on George Orwell's
ideal pub: "Draught stout, open fires, cheap meals, motherly barmaids and no
radio." The Coronet sticks to this template, but throws in period interiors and
pickled, verbose locals. The Ale selection is impressive, and you'll struggle
to find a pint of anything over £2. Many readers might be choking on their £4
pint of Staro at the idea of supporting a ghastly Witherspoon's, but it's their
loss. The locals talk and sing to you, and you can spend hours just marvelling
at the old theatre architecture. Can't wait for Mr J. D. to buy Jaguar Shoes.