Dronfield: A Hard-Hitting Guide to the Places That Matter

Dronfield Sports Centre

Robert Carolgees takes a look at some of Dronfield’s premier destinations and uncovers a few home truths. In the first of his spite-ridden, angst laced commentaries, Bob focuses on pubs, restaurants, gyms and supermarkets.

The Three Tuns is Dronfield’s finest public house and no amount of reasoning should influence any right thinking man to doubt this statement. The Three Tuns sits at the very top of the Dronfield pub podium and its lead has been further cemented by the Dronfield Arms’ decision to banish the superb Vault Restaurant from its lower quarters and replace it with the rather frustrating ‘Vrons’. Frustrating on several levels; first, the absence of an apostrophe in the restaurant name displays a clinical lack of grammatical accuracy – fine if you’re writing a quick post on Twitter – but for Christ’s sake, get the name of your business correct. Secondly, it’s all a little self-indulgent, naming a ‘bistro’ (note: it’s not a bistro) ‘Vrons’. Finally, it’s frustrating because the now defunct Vault was bloody marvellous.

The Coach and Horses is a long-standing feature of Dronfield’s pub scene. Located next to the home of The World’s Oldest Football Club, The C&H appears to possess all the positive attributes the discerning consumer would look for. Decent ale, a tasteful interior, chalk-board signs offering a rustic ambience and a selection of achingly middle-class bar snacks. However, the painful reality is that the C&H has a close association with the much maligned Emma Harrison – the majority shareholder and former Chairperson of the highly controversial A4E (the connection is that her husband, Jim, is the man behind Thornbridge Brewery – owners of the C&H). For this reason, any well-earned cash which is parted company with in the C&H leaves a not so best bitter taste in the mouth.

The gym in Dronfield’s impressive publically funded sports centre is an excellent facility – testament to the increasingly rare view that public money can be well spent by local authorities. Anyone familiar with this place will surely recognise (or perhaps, recognise the voices) of the two very loud ladies who seem to live on the back row bicycles of the upstairs spinning class section. The notion that a conversation in public should be kept at an acceptable volume is an alien concept to these two – instead the whole gym is subject to their tedious shouts. It’s quite apparent that these gym menaces aren’t Dronfield residents – their appearance and strong local dialect is completely at odds with what one expects someone from Dronfield to display. It’s also easy to conclude that during the odd hour that isn’t spent in the gym, both consume lard as a pursuit of leisure. Still, great gym at a friendly price.

Looking for a microcosm of Dronfield? No better example could be found than the long-established Italian eatery known as Little Italy. Only in Dronfield could an apparently rustic representation of Mediterranean cuisine be contained in a 1990s red-brick building, completely void of any character and looking like it should house a firm of Independent Financial Advisers and not an average quality but slightly overpriced Italian restaurant. According to one recent post on Twitter, if you don’t ‘know’ their half-price pizza and pasta offer on Sunday, ‘you don’t know Dronfield’.

Finally, attention must be given to Dronfield’s latest supermarket addition – Aldi. Perhaps the biggest dilemma Dronfield residents face in 2013 is the brand of carrier bag to use when shopping at Aldi. For those who are unaware, Aldi does not provide an unlimited supply of free carrier bags and the budget conscious consumer is required to bring their own, or pay for the robust and roomy Aldi branded carrier bags. Not a bad thing some may say – the reuse of carrier bags cannot be discouraged. However, which bag is used can tell us a lot about the individual. Using anecdotal and unscientific evidence, the brand of bag used by Aldi shoppers denotes the following about its user:

Aldi bag: Sane, right thinking individual. Unconcerned by brand image. Comfortable financially. Has the last laugh in the car park when the bags are loaded into a £25k car.

Sainsbury’s bag: Bright orange colour screams “I shop at Aldi for the cheap essentials but the main shop is done at a more respected outlet”

Waitrose bag: Massive twat.

Co-Op bag: Difficult to assess given that there are 54 Co-Ops in Dronfield. All 25,000 of Dronfield’s residents have at least one Co-Op bag in their possession. Further statistical analysis required.

Lidl Bag: Probably from Jordanthorpe. Or perhaps an 18-21 year old Dronfield student being ‘ironic’.


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