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The Corona Arms is a virtual pub where all are welcome and the drinks are free (well, sort of)

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Anna Brech
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Virtual pub

Fancy a pint in the era of coronavirus? Pop by your friendly neighbourhood local, aka The Corona Arms. The setting may be virtual but the community is very much real…

In many ways, The Corona Arms is the perfect pub. There are no last orders, no sweaty queues to the bar and you can wander in dressed in your PJs without anyone batting an eyelid. 

The only catch is, it’s not real. At least, not in a physical sense. But that doesn’t make it any less like soup for the soul. 

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The Corona Arms, a virtual online pub, was started this week by a group of friends in Leeds. 

Pub “landlord” Emily Huyton hit on the idea as a means of bringing people together, and maintaining a sense of normality during this period of surreal lockdown. 

“Over the last week or so it’s certainly felt as though the world as we know it has been grinding to a halt,” Huyton told the Yorkshire Evening Post

“The Corona Arms was born with a small group of us but once we shared it on social we were inundated with people asking to join us too.”

The Corona Arms is open every evening from 6pm on a Zoom video link, and anyone is welcome to pop by for a drink and a chat. You simply need to check out their Instagram and comment on one of the posts to express your interest. You’ll then be DM’d a link before the fun begins.

As an added bonus, the pub also hosts a virtual quiz night every Tuesday evening, with all funds going to Leeds-based homeless and addiction charity St George’s Crypt

“In these really strange times it’s important for people to keep in touch with each other so people don’t feel alone. It’s also important to have fun,” one regular, Gabriella Smith, told the Post. 

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The Corona Arms even has its own rather apt tagline: “Where everybody knows your name… and they’re always glad you STAYED INDOORS.”

Naturally, drinks at The Corona Arms are bring your own, but that has the added advantage that you can mix up whatever you fancy – without running the gauntlet of a sceptical bartender. Want a glass of rosé with gummy bears in? The world is your oyster. Fancy a round of snakebite mixed up in the sink for old time’s sake? Go for it.

On a more profound level, The Corona Arms is playing a small yet vital role in combating loneliness. At a point where many of us are not only physically alone, but also deeply worried about the state of the world, a virtual pint could be just the tonic we all need.

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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