August News Letter

Hi Otley Pub Club members,


If there’s a better excuse for visiting Otley’s famous pubs (and on a Thursday night) we can’t think of one! So why not join us TONIGHT for our Yorkshire Day August social! Details below, do come along!

We hope you enjoyed the recent heatwave weather and discovering the many Otley pubs with outside space – you’d be surprised how many there are! Plus then sheltering from the rain and storms inside Otley’s famous pubs!

A special welcome to all new members. 

Here’s a brief run through what’s happening around our lovely (and famous pub) town. To date, The Bay Horse and The Rose & Crown remain closed but good news appears to be on the horizon on both fronts!


Hopefully, most of you are aware of our fantastic Premier Card membership scheme. For an annual fee of £10, you will get a membership card and access to a range of discounts from our local Pubs. Although the list does change as pubs change, we do have the following pubs all participating – and hope more will soon too!  Sterling work by our Committee (thanks Julie and Cate!) has seen the addition of Ottah’s Leah – see below 

Here’s the current list of participating pubs:

  • Stew & Oyster – Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off all drinks and food (Card holder + any party up to 6 in total)
  • Yew Tree – Offer to OPC card holders is 20% off food (Card holder + 1 and not in conjunction with the Carvery or pensioners lunch)
  • Royalty – Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off drinks at the bar (cardholder + 1). 
  • Groove Pad & Vinyl- 10% off T-shirts & vinyls
  • Ottah’s Leah- 10% discount off food and drinks 

Hopefully, as the scheme gains in popularity, more pubs will join in! 

Please be ready to either begin your OPC Premier Membership journey or if a current member, renew, this month. 

More details on getting your card will appear in next month’s newsletter. I’m sure you’ll see that your £10 membership fee can be recovered in just a couple of trips out!


Good news – Bay Horse – New River Retail/Hawthorn Leisure investing and reopening it soon

As we reported last month, we had a meeting with with New River Retail/Hawthorn Leisure about the Bay Horse (NRR bought it in a package of 500 pubs from Punch Taverns a couple of years back). 

It was a very positive meeting, with a senior representative from the company as well as the local area manager and they told us that they intend to invest in the pub, including putting the gents’ toilets inside (something which has been needed for a while). They also made clear they do want to keep the Bay Horse as a traditional pub, indeed making the most of it’s unspoiled interior and its wonderful taproom but tidying up the decor and doing repairs where needed. 

They took onboard our comments about the need for a realistic agreement with a tenant/lessee, with the pub having been closed now for a period, and about the vision for the pub as a vibrant wet-led pub, indeed a ‘micropub in a genuine historic pub building!’  

So all in all, this sounds very positive and we look forward to this progressing. They said they would keep us posted and we will keep Otley Pub Members posted when they do!

Pub Nations Project – UCI Road Cycling World Championships

There are only 7 weeks to go now until the start of the UCI Road Cycling World Championships and Otley’s Pub Nations project!  

They’re centred on Harrogate, but as the women’s and men’s elite races both come through Otley – on Saturday and Sunday September 28 and 29 – we’re making sure all Otley’s pubs will be ready to welcome riders and visitors alike. See this report in the Wharfedale Observer

Each pub will be ‘twinned’ with a top cycling nation, with that nation’s flag and bunting displayed, and the pub name translated into the national language. We tried to contact 24 national Embassies and national tourist boards for their support, and lots of them responded. Some sent us travel brochures and posters, so local visitors to the pubs could find out more about their country. Others sent us suggestions for typical drinks and food from their country that landlords might want to offer, as a way of strengthening the connection with their twinned country. Some went even further – as reported last month, the Consul General of the Czech Republic has already travelled over from Manchester to visit The Red Lion for example; and the Flanders Tourist Board, VisitFlanders, is planning a cycle ride out from Harrogate led by a famous Belgian cyclist, calling in at North Bar Social. 

So the races themselves might only take a few minutes each to pass through town, but the international feeling in Otley’s pubs will last for the whole 10 days of the UCI Championships! 

Rose & Crown – also set to reopen

We’ve been told by EI Group (Enterprise Inns as was) that a new couple are moving into Rose & Crown soon and that the pub should now be open again in a couple of weeks.  They are advertising for staff – positions available are: Full Time Chef & Bar Supervisor, Part Time Bar staff, Front of House & Part Time Kitchen Porter – please email full CV to or call 07930 199388 for more details  

So we hope the pub will be open again soon and we wish the new licensees all the best and look forward to meeting them – and hope you will support them and the pub. 

Star/Heineken – To Let Boards – clarification needed

As some of you will have seen (and some of you have reported to us) To Let boards have appeared on the White Swan, Black Bull and Whitakers. Whilst we’re aware (and have reported) that there have been discussions going on with those currently operating the pubs, we too were concerned to see these (especially as we had been led to believe that agreements were close to being signed, on the basis of revised plans from the ones we objected to.  

So we have written again to Star, who are going to meet with us to explain their ‘internal processes’ and we hope that we’ll have positive news about tenants in these pub soon. 

Star/Heineken – have told us they committed to all 6 Otley pubs they own

As we mentioned last month (separate to the above) we wrote to Star/Heineken following the news they are selling 150 pubs nationally that they bought from Punch Taverns, with five of the pubs they now own in Otley being ones they bought from Punch (White Swan, Black Bull, Whitakers, The Fleece and the Yew Tree). We had a reply from them and they have confirmed that they don’t intend to sell any of their 6 pubs in Otley (the Junction is the other one) and that they are committed to them all.  

Otley Food and Drink Festival – report 

This is a great annual event and well done to the organisers, it gets better each year.  

In the past, Otley’s pubs have felt it doesn’t properly include and celebrate them – when Otley is so famous for it’s pubs – which all serve drink and many serve food!  So we’re delighted that this year two Otley pubs featured with the Stew and Oyster offering free stew and platter samples and the Black Horse offering food and drink too. 

Our mascot Mr Pinty couldn’t make an appearance this year, with a broken back, but we hope he’ll be fixed up for 2020 when we hope to see the pubs fully integrated into this excellent event, which gets better each year!  


  • The Cross Pipes

Open from 11am and will be serving a selective menu as of this weekend. Pop in to see the daily specials or come and treat yourself to one of our fantastic drinks offers while sunning yourself in the beer garden. 

Also try the new range of Gins £4.50 a double with any mixer at the Cross Pipes.

  • North Bar Social 

The Curious Summer Social (in conjunction with The Curious Hop) outside North Bar Social on Saturday 24th August (Bank Holiday weekend) from 13:00 till late, with food music and beer.

  • Ottah’s Leah

Every Wednesday – Otley Folk Club 20:00 – 23:00
Every Thursday – Open Mike Night 20:00 – 23:00

10% discount off food and drinks for OPC Premier Card members. Up and coming events  

  • Otley Tavern

DJ/Karaoke every Friday from 20:30
Live music every Saturday from 21:00
Open Mic night last Thursday of the Month
Heineken Alcohol free on tap
Happy Hour Tuesdays till Fridays 4pm till 7pm – 50p off a pint

Stewie’s Kitchen is back up and Running Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 till 16:00    

Over the next few weeks The Otley Tavern will be closed on Mondays.  We will be making some small changes to the business to help grow even further.  

  • Groove Pad Beer & Vinyls

A regular Quiz Night, which will take place every other Wednesday at 21:00
Open Mic Night every other Tuesday
80s Disco Night Friday 2nd August at 20:00
Back to the 90s Friday 16th August at 20:30
Kwame D Saturday 24th August at 20:30
Horror Quiz Night Friday 13th September at 21:00

Otley Pub Club ‘Premier’ Membership Benefits at Groove Pad:

Groove Pad Beer and Vinyl are happy to join the scheme offering 10% off clothing and vinyls (including OPC Merchandise) on production of a Premier card.  Groove Pad stock one of each of the OPC T-shirts and hoodies for customers to order with no additional mark up and stock Otley Pub Club ‘Premier’ membership cards. Up and coming events:  

  • The Rookery

Some fantastic up and coming live music events:

Mark Morris – The Bluetones Saturday 24th August 19:00 – 23:00
The Dunwells – Thursday 26th September 19:00

  • Horse & Farrier

Thursday 1st August – for Yorkshire Day there will be a range of all Yorkshire ales available and  other special food and drinks.

A new range of summer drinks has been introduced and a new pizza menu following the addition of a new pizza over in the kitchen.

The H & F also now has  BT and Sky Sports to show all televised sports including the Ashes, golf, cycling and the start of the football season!

  • The Stew and Oyster

Saturday 24th August  –  Rum and reggae night –  with a jerk stew available on Saturday of the August BH weekend.  Sounds by DJ Lorenzo from 8pm.

The Stew will also be doing a cheese and wine evening – Date to be confirmed – watch this space!

  • The Black Horse

It’s great to see The Black Horse thriving. The stables yard has been tidied and although still in need of some major renovation, it’s quite a large outside space now with a good number of tables!

Also, great to see they’ve received a fantastic 5/5 food hygiene rating, congratulations to them! 

Plus Nathan Clark, from the Brudenell has started booking music in later starting this year, Sounds of the Sirens are on Friday 15th November

For other live music, do keep looking on their Facebook page

Finally they do now have a basic website, which they intend to upgrade, it’s here with the food menu on

* * * * * 

We really are blessed to have such great pubs and variety of events. Please check out the individual pub social media accounts for up to date information. Why not follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.? There’s lots more happening than we have listed here by the way!


We are very lucky to be on the border of three CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) branches. 

Most of Otley is in the Leeds branch area , but the Roebuck and parts of Otley north of the river are in the Harrogate and Skipton branch! We’re also very close to the Bradford branch who take a real interest in the town too!

We also have had some excellent exposure in Leeds branch New Full Measure (Supporting Real Ale & Cider in Leeds) and Bradford branch Tyke Taverner (the beer consumers’ magazine for Bradford and beyond). Both always excellent reads and available for a free read in lots of our lovely Otley pubs. NFM’s Warren Yabsley has just completed a 3 issue series on Otley pubs entitled “Out and About in Otley” – great stuff. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch them, they are available online. Go to Leeds CAMRA website, follow the link for NFM and our coverage is in issues #144-146. See you back here soon Warren!  

In July were also delighted to accept the invitation from Leeds CAMRA to attend their Pub of the Month award to the Old Cock (well done Lee, Linda and team!) and also meet with Bradford CAMRA members who (very wisely!) paid Otley a visit recently. We are awaiting report of their visit, but they seemed to have a good time – and it was great to have these visits in July. We will continue to work with them and visit Otley pubs together! 


We would like a couple more people to join the Committee, so just come to the meeting tonight – 7:15pm in the Bowling Green.

Or if you can’t make tonight, send us an email!


Otley Pub Club August Monthly Social Is tonight, Thursday 1st August. 

As usual we will be visiting three pubs starting after the Committee meeting.

This month’s pubs are:

8-8:45pm    The Bowling Green
8:45-9:30pm   The Black Bull
9:30-10:15pm  Otley Tavern

All welcome! 


Thanks to The Wharfedale Observer for this historical little snippet regarding The Red Lion: 50 Years Ago – 1969

When “Time” was called at the Red Lion in Kirkgate, Otley, on Monday, it marked the end of an 85-years connection of the Spence family with the old inn, and of a family association with the licensed trade of Otley and district that has extended well over a century. On Tuesday Mrs. Ethel Allen, on the eve of her 73rd birthday, left the inn in which she was born, where she has spent the greater part of her life, and of which her grandfather, father, mother and sister have successively held the licence since 1883. 

The full article is here

What amazing pub history we have in this town – as well as so many fantastic pubs still around and serving the community!

Have a great August and if you’re away, have a good summer, just make sure you get back to Otley and its pubs when you return!

Best wishes, 

Otley Pub Club committee

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