I thought I’d just point that out, in case you’d been to a National Trust property and taken part in a Cadbury’s egg hunt, and because it didn’t actually say EASTER egg hunt, you might have completely forgotten what time of year it was! Eventually the NT website said “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts this Easter”, after being condemned b y the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of York, amongst others, even though all their posters, their advertising, and their webpages had already mentioned Easter dozens of times.

But as the Guardian Online said – Not all bishops are choosing to become embroiled in the row. In Wiltshire, the bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, told the Guardian on Friday that there were much more important issues in the world to discuss than the title of the National Trust’s bunny hunts.

“I’d rather talk about something that mattered, like the stupidity of the US in thinking that because they are strongest they can step outside the conventions of war, and that violence will bring about a peaceful order,” he said.

“Key messages this week: love one another as Christ has loved us; violence breeds violence; death is not the last word; in the end love always wins.”

Naturally, OUR key message is the same this weekend as it is every other week (and I don’t mean this to trivialise the argument above) – come to Otley, visit one or more of our pubs, and enjoy yourself! Better still, to remind yourself that it IS Easter, take a walk up to Surprise View on top of the Chevin and see the traditional cross that’s been erected by volunteers from the town. Then either nip across the road to The Royalty, or come back down into town and have a drink!



Remember how un-sunny
Brighton was, when I arrived for the first day of my mini-pub journey round town? Well, it was so nice the next day that not only was I forced to take a new photo from the same location, but also a lovely sea-sidey one of seagulls playing crazy golf. [Though I might have lied about the seagulls.]

At the end of Pt 1 I was in the Hand in Hand in Kemptown. You’d never know when you’re in Brighton that pubs are still allegedly closing across England at a rate of about 20 a week! There seemed to be one open on just about every street corner when I was walking into town from the East, just one road back from the seafront, and the same was true in The Lanes and further north. And I was welcomed in all the ones I went in – not a single glimpse of any stuck-up Southern nonsense that some Yorkshire folk might expect when they go that far South, nor any of the disdain or astronomical prices that you might be faced with in London.

I was back in North Laine again after lunch the next day for a meal with Saturday’s wedding party. Big menu with everything from roast chicken or beef madras to vegan burgers or tortilla wraps, and a wide range of beers to wash it down. Much more restrained atmosphere at 2 on a Friday than 7 on a Thursday, with the only slight disturbance being someone having spread their coats and kitbags over our reserved seats! [It still did rather make me think of a Wetherspoons for the craft beer crowd.] Started with a single hopped New Zealand Pale Ale called Motueku. I’m not always a fan of NZ hops, so I’m glad I had a pint – I was beginning to like it by the end! Followed that with a Yippee Ki Yay, which looked like an amber ale but tasted like a smoky brown, and was pretty damn good!

Moved on after the meal to BRIGHTON ROCKS – tucked away up a side street called Rock Place off Marine Parade and calls itself “Kemp Town(sic)’s Hidden Secret”. In spite of the fact that a secret is probably, by its very nature, hidden, and ignoring their advertising including ‘quirky’ cocktail waiters and having a ‘cheeky’ lunch time (sic) bevy, both of which make me want to vomit (sick), I quite liked the place! Of course, I did visit during the afternoon, and the ambience was more like a cafe than a pub, so when the cocktail crowd get in later it might not appeal to me so much! (I never did ask why they had the ‘quirky’ jaws and Día de los Muertos mask.) Lots of keg on, but there was no real ale when I visited. The bar staff were as friendly as they had been everywhere, and they do nice coffees [so I was told]. I had a Motorhead Road Crew APA from Cameron’s, which tasted nice enough but was way too cold to enjoy properly when it was only 10 degrees outside [despite the sun]. They also had a properly individual playlist behind the bar – although it did seem to be all Irish-themed for Paddy’s Day the next day, so it could’ve just been programmed. From Cranberries through Script to Snow Patrol and more.

On Saturday – what with the wedding being 20 miles out of town in Framfield – we had to visit the village pub [if only so we had somewhere to park the car!] The Hare and Hounds was exactly what you would expect a traditional village pub opposite the church to be! With traditional Harvey’s bitter, un-sparkled and headless, to go with it. Perfect! It was always my favourite beer when I lived in Hastings, and I still appreciate it now, some 25 years later.

And finally .  .  .  we spent the evening back in Brighton, at Coalition, which is down on the beach, right in the centre of town. We had the whole of the upstairs to ourselves [although after us oldies had left, I believe a wandering stag party were allowed to join the festivities – what with it being a (not particularly cheap) cash bar, and all.] I was back on the Dark Star APA, which didn’t seem as good as it had been in the Evening Star, but then I only had 2 or 3 before heading back for our last Airbnb night in Brighton. [Since publishing Pt1 of the journey, I was told by a reader that next time I should try to visit “The Watchmakers” in Hove, just down from the Railway Station. He says it’s a great friendly real ale bar, so if you’re heading that way, you can add that to your list of recommendations!]



.  .  .  please take a look at this article about the Bevendean community pub on the Moulsecoomb estate to the North East of Brighton. Once a run-down pub with a bad reputation, it has now won the prestigious Brighton and Hove ‘Best Business in the Community’ award this year and made it to the finals of the Great British Pub Awards as one of the best community pubs in the UK. They’ve had “retired bus drivers and community workers and midwives on (their) management committee”; 70 different community groups have used the pub over the past year; and basically they’ve proved what we keep saying – that a properly run pub, out of the hands of property development companies, can be the true beating heart and soul of a community.



It’s not only in the UK that the number of small breweries is increasing. Figures for the end of 2016 showed 5,234 ‘Craft’ breweries in the US, and 67 ‘other’ breweries. And yet they still only represent 12.3% by volume market share. Despite an increase in craft output of 1.4 million barrels, 1.2 million barrels were also lost by small breweries being taken over by the big boys! Let’s hope the small independent sector is not fighting a losing battle (or just hoping to get popular enough to sell out and cash in!) – over there, and over here. [Info from The Brewers Journal]



You might not be a member of CAMRA; you might not even want to join; or maybe even, like Groucho Marx, you don’t want to belong to any club that will have people like you as a member! However, you might still like walking through the countryside and grabbing a beer or two on the way, so how about this item from the latest Leeds CAMRA newsletter –

Sunday Stroll Social – Sun 7th May – 1:00

Otley to Guiseley Circuit, meet at The Junction, Bondgate, Otley

A steady-paced walk (~7 miles) taking in Otley Chevin and a number of great places for beer.

Ascend the Chevin, a fair ascent but worth it for the amazing views, followed by a meander down to Guiseley Factory Workers’ Club (~2.30). A swift pint and a stroll through the countryside brings you to The Royalty. Then it’s all downhill to The Old Cock (~6.00).

Feel free to join en-route whether it’s just for a pint or for the rest of the walk. Plus, a thirst will have been worked up for a couple of beers in Otley at the end.

As I like both beer AND walking [not necessarily in that order] I would join them myself – if I weren’t going to be in Helsinki, via Tallinn, at the time! [Watch out for beer journey #5!]



Also live in Leeds CAMRA right now is the voting for pubs of the year. Their newsletter says

“Do you know somewhere worthy of winning an “XXX of the Year” award? Then simply vote online by 11:59pm on 1st May or at the meeting (on May the 8th), N.B. there are two rounds of voting so please read carefully the form details.”


Community Pub

Rural Pub

Most Improved Pub


The Junction, The
Old Cock and The Royalty are all on the short lists, so if you’re a CAMRA member, get voting for your favourites right now!



I know I often write about the health benefits of, or problems caused by, alcohol – sometimes light-heartedly – but one area that probably causes more concern than most is around pregnancy and breastfeeding. So I thought I’d just share a link to the Drinkaware website, so that you could see their advice for yourself.



According to the CAMRA website, its vision is: “to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.” Furthermore “CAMRA believes well-run pubs, whether in rural or urban areas, play a critical social role in UK culture as the centres of community life. CAMRA supports the traditional pub as the best place in which to enjoy real ale . . .” But some leading campaigners believe CAMRA HQ is failing publicans & pubs by ignoring the failure of the Pubs Code and the Pubs Code Adjudicator. This article on ‘The Pub Champion’s’ website explains the reasoning behind that belief.



Last time, I said I was still trying to see if we could get Thwaites to bring their shire horse team over in June 2018. I have now confirmed that they are indeed free on the date of the carnival next year. So subject to providing a bit more information on parking, unloading, cobbled surfaces and the like, everything is good to go!




Yes, having been open on Easter Monday, it will now be open every Monday until the Autumn.


Ongoing negotiations about the details of refurbishment and re-opening have meant that the sign in the front window has had to stay there longer than intended! Wayne assures me that an announcement will be coming soon, followed by a grand re-opening – with him still in charge behind the bar.


Jess from The Black Horse has taken over the lease from Punch Taverns. [And in case you were wondering about Tim and Sarah, they are moving to Burley in Wharfedale – but not in the pub trade.]


Naturally, with Jess moving on to Whitakers, someone has had to take over the lease here from Enterprise Inns! I haven’t met the new landlord[s] yet, but believe they are from Skipton and have a successful background in hotel management. More when I have it.


Here’s what was going on last Wednesday. Tony being awarded the Leeds CAMRA pub of the month award for March.


Yes, I know it’s a bit surprising to be talking about a ‘dead’ Otley pub, but don’t get too excited – it’s not rising from the grave, as a pub at least. I wrote to the owners of the pub, Tate Oils, at the beginning of the year, to try to find out what plans they had for the building. When I didn’t receive a reply, I emailed again at the beginning of March. Once again they didn’t reply. So a fortnight ago I took a copy of the emails into the office and explained who I was, and why I was interested. Still no reply – but now an application is on the Leeds planning website to convert the building for residential use.

Not sure about phrases in the application like “This large public house has been vacant AND UNLETTABLE for several years” [Has anyone actually seen it being widely advertised as a pub all the time it has been closed – apart from a dingy sign in one window saying ‘available for a number of uses’?] Or “It is accepted that the re-opening as a public house is now extinct and commercial/office developments have been considered, but demand is not viable.” ‘Accepted’ and ‘considered’ by whom apart from the building’s owners, exactly? When I spoke to a representative from Dacre’s estate agents last year, for instance, they implied that they weren’t even being allowed into the building, so how they could let the property for any purpose under those restrictions is difficult to understand.

But, we are where we are, and of course it’s entirely up to the owners to proceed how they wish, and the planning application is now in the pipeline. Just keeping you up to date!



As these pages are the responsibility of the individual pubs, I can’t guarantee they’ll be up-to-date, I’m afraid – but where they are, the information is likely to be much more current and comprehensive than my monthly newsletter! It’s worthwhile checking with the one you fancy going to, just to make sure nothing’s changed.






















As with Facebook, some of these might not be up to date, but if you follow them you’re likely to get timely updates on what’s going on between our newsletters.
















Although I think there’s only two pub accounts in town so far – [but OPC now have an Instagram account as well, at otley_pub_club. Trouble is, we’re all so old and non-tech savvy, that we don’t really know how to use it to its best advantage! Anybody who’d like to take it on, please get in touch!]


Stew and Oyster


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


Finally – I do apologise for any mistakes and/or omissions I might have made while writing, editing and proof-reading the above [and for the shortage of info this month. It’s Easter (see intro if you’re not sure) and we volunteers need a rest too.]  And – If you are receiving these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club by email, but you no longer want them, just email the return address and let me know. Third – if you stop receiving our newsletters in future but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Remember this email address for the future – secretary@otleypubclub.co.uk , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

18 April 2017

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