I remember taking the kids on a few holidays in the UK at February half-term, when there’s been snow on the ground and icy temperatures, before the first signs of Spring appeared. OK, the nights have been a bit chilly this past week, but it’s been short-sleeved walking weather during the days! I know a lot of people say jokingly “We could do with some of that global warming” [when they really mean climate collapse], but honestly – what happened to winter? Still, at least the reservoirs are dragging themselves back to some sense of normality.

Anyway, all the *anuaries are over for another year, but still people won’t stop trying to come up with new names and new campaigns. Febrewery seemed like quite a good one to me when I wrote about it last year. There are now so many breweries on our doorstep in West Yorkshire, that it’s quite easy to visit a brewery tap and taste the beers at their best. Public transport [or the lack of it] from Otley being what it is, most brewery journeys will involve a trip into Leeds first, and with the number of breweries there you might find yourself tempted to look no further! But maybe this coming weekend you could consider Fernandes Brewery in Wakefield [taken over by Ossett Brewery in 2017, but retaining the name] as there’s something special going on in town! [See WAKEY-WAKEY article below.] I had a pint of their Black Voodoo in The Junction recently, and it was great! [Just spotted this article in the T&A as well, about Haworth Steam Brewery, and Ridgeside brewery in Keighley.]

So what next – #Februdairy? They tried that last year, as a dairy industry fightback against the promotion of #veganuary but, as you can see if you search the hashtag on Twitter, it was effectively swamped by the vegan lobby. There’s still a bit of dairy promotion around – but certainly DON’T search if you find the sight of animals being mistreated disturbing. Maybe we should try some alternatives ourselves – how about #Februhairy, where everyone lets all their body hair grow as a thumbed nose to the ‘beauty’ industry, and posts a photo of their naked body while donating to charity? Beats the ice-bucket ‘challenge’, which wasn’t a challenge at all. #Februmarry, where the wedding industry tries to persuade people not to wait until the summer months, but spread their cash throughout the year? Or my own favourite – #Februferry, where we all make up a fake company with no actual boats and claim a contract with the Government for shifting goods over the Channel after a no-deal Brexit!


We’ll just leave this up here .  .  .

      .  .  .  still only a fiver .  .  .

       .  .  .  buy them at The Curious Hop .  .  .

 .  .  and still valid to the end of July if you buy one now. Go on, go on, go on!


And – talking about The Curious Hop, did you know you can now drink any of the 500 beers on offer, on the premises in New Market, whenever they’re open? The Hop now has a full on sales licence, meaning you can just go in and sit down for a glass or two of their draft offerings if you want. Or, if you’re waiting for a takeaway pizza or curry to be ready at one of the town’s restaurants, you can crack open a bottle or a can while you’re deciding what to take home and drink with your meal! [Leaves OPC with another problem though – this is definitely not a ‘pub’ as we know them. It doesn’t meet the criteria for membership of the micropub association. But it is quite definitely a ‘microbar’. So should it be considered as part of Otley Pub Club or not?


There is just one snag – you have to do it naked! This article from The Sheffield Star [be careful – it does contain pictures of bare flesh!] explains how a naturist cleaning company in London is seeking cleaners all over the UK. You can still earn £25 an hour, even if you do the work in a full uniform, but you will still be doing it in the home of naturists who will themselves probably be wandering around the house naked. So if any of the pubs in Otley are considering going fully naturist to appeal to a new clientèle [remember our Newsletter April Fool story back in 2017?] you now know where to go for a cleaner, even if they’re a bit pricey. And just to set your minds at rest that there’s nothing at all prurient about this, the article says that “bosses stress that there’s nothing smutty about it – and that there is absolutely no sexual element either.” [And no evidence of #Februhairy!]


I mentioned Fernandes Brewery in the introduction, and this weekend it’s the Wakefield Festival of Food Drink and Rhubarb. Fernandes brewer Steve Hutchinson usually brews a special beer for the event, and don’t be surprised if it has a rhubarb connection! Being a Wakey lad myself, I’ll be going over for the Festival, and as I’ve run out of one of my favourite drinks – Rhucello – I’ll no doubt be bringing some of that back with me!

You can find out more about the festival on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. You might think I shouldn’t be promoting events elsewhere, but I would like to think that other publications in other towns do the same for Otley’s annual festivals as well. After all, if we expect visitors to come here to see what we’ve got to offer, the least we can do is reciprocate now and then!

AND REMEMBER – when someone with an incomprehensible Welsh, Durham or Cockney accent on The One Show tells you that the Rhubarb Triangle is between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford – IT ISN’T! It’s much more specific than that – it’s the 9 square miles between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell. So there.


And talking about promoting other places, here I go talking about that there Leeds again! Leeds list seem to have just realised that you don’t actually have to spend £4:95 on 2/3rds of a pint to get a reasonable drink. One of their latest articles is all about a ‘cheap and cheerful’ pub crawl around Leeds city centre. I must admit, I’ve drunk in all the pubs they mention – and may well do again, so I have no hesitation in sharing! Mind you, they do include The North Bar, where the cheapest drink is £3:40 a pint. For that much, you can get two and a half pints of Sam Smith’s mild at The Angel! So we know which one’s cheapest – which is most cheerful? [And you can get a pie with your pint for 6 quid at The Hop.]


Yes, I know – I had to look twice as well, but that’s The Guardian for you! In an article in the ‘Feast’ supplement last Saturday [online here] Tom Hunt was extolling the virtues of using beer when cooking. [I might use it while cooking, but generally to pour down my throat so that I forget how much I hate cooking!] That’s all well and good, and the article is accompanied by a recipe for beer batter [and a photo of beer-battered tofu – obviously – it is The Guardian after all.] But what I really couldn’t get my head around was the suggestion of adding “a touch of old or stale beer” to your food. It was when he then said “store any beer LEFTOVERS in the fridge’ that I completely failed to understand what he meant!


Talking of The Guardian, if you fancy a longer read about something a lot more meaningful than most of the trivia I put in front of you, you might fancy an article by Olivier van Beemen about whether Heineken has broken its promises in Africa. van Beemen is a Dutch investigative journalist specialising in Africa, and the author of Heineken in Africa: A Multinational Unleashed (Hearst, 2019). This article is adapted from that book, and shows that although the Dutch beer giant likes to boast about the benefits it brings to Africa, revelations about low pay and sexual harassment might paint a different picture altogether.

Heineken has 165 breweries in more than 70 countries, and has operated in Africa since the 1930s. Van Beemen admits that at first sight, working for Heineken in Africa doesn’t look that bad, with training courses, promotion, and company cars and other perks all available. But then examine workplace safety; the disparity between local entry-level workers salaries and that of ex-pat Dutch management; and especially the potentially dangerous sexual situation that the ‘beer promotion girls’ have to face; and things don’t look so rosy. Probably not that much different from the story of many post-colonial industrial and commercial giant corporations, but like I said – worth a ‘long read’ if you’re interested.


Not quite as difficult a question to answer without incriminating yourself as the old favourite “when did you stop beating your wife?” and only cropping up here because of the latest announcement from legendary Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards. He’s quoted in an article in the NME as saying “Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is.” Describing the temptation to smoke, he added: “Quitting heroin is like hell, but it’s a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you’ve always done it. I just pick ’em up and light ’em up without thinking about it.” Allegedly, he had cut back on his drinking over the whole of 2018, and although he was quoted in an earlier NME article as saying “It was time to quit” and “I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it” he also admitted to still having “a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer”. So he’s probably cut back to about my level now – and you just wonder whether he’s “quit” heroin in the same way. At least he admits he’ll still be hanging about outside the stage door with a fag in his mouth now and then.


Did you know that an organisation called The Outer North-West [Leeds] Community Committee can provide funds to organisations that can deliver fun activities after school, on weekends, and during school holidays – particularly in the summer? Last year they funded some great activities for young people, including a chance to learn to sail with Yeadon Sailing Centre, Yoga sessions, Theatre and Children’s Orchestra and Multi Skill camp with Leeds Rhino Foundation. The Committee are again looking for exciting and engaging providers of similar activities, and applications for funding have to be returned before 5pm on Friday March 8th. This a great chance for your organisation to introduce your activities to a whole new generation, and to get financial help doing it. if you would like any further information please contact Communitycommiteefunding@leeds.gov.uk  via email or via telephone on 0113 37 85808 or find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/LCCOuterNW.


Otley-based company apollo 3D are building the World’s first explorable 3D town – and yes,  it’s Otley! The completed 3D Experience will be a fantastic way of encouraging visitors to the historic market town and surrounding area. So far they have ‘3D captured’ 15 pubs – which we especially like, because you can have a virtual ‘walk through’ the interiors and see what they’re like before you even cross the threshold! But there are also 2 restaurants, various offices and businesses. Accompanying the internal 3D walkthrough there will eventually be ‘3D from a drone’ to capture the streets, and a superb navigational experience. You can find the full list of businesses with 3D and explore them from their Facebook page at Otley 3D


We’re very excited that Otley Town Partnership have said they’re interested in working with us on a project aiming to attract tourists to Otley during the UCI Championships in September. Some initial discussions have taken place within OPC, and the plans are very ambitious for the time available. We’ll tell you more soon [but not too soon – we don’t want other places stealing our ideas!]


As you know, we decided to send out an all members email about the release of the prospectus from LS21 – the community company attempting to raise sufficient money to deliver their vision for The Black Horse. Although we knew this newsletter would be following it only a few days later, and we don’t usually like to fill your inbox unnecessarily, we were also aware that – as this article says in the Wharfedale Observer – “the clock is ticking”.  LS21 need financial commitments from community members, partners, and contributors as soon as possible. I’ve copied the email from our Chairman here because it says everything that needs to be said, and because that will keep it available to be read on our website until the moratorium period ends.

Otley Pub Club was founded to preserve the pubs of Otley and to make sure that they continue to operate in the best interests of the people of Otley. As you probably know, The Black Horse freehold is up for sale. A local community group, LS21, has formed with the idea to buy it and renovate it into a community venue with a pub, restaurant, hotel rooms and a music venue. Their plan is very exciting and they have asked me if I would share their ideas. The prospectus for investors and donors is available at https://www.ls21.org.uk/. If you are interested in the plan, please have a look. There is also information on how to become part of the first community owned pub in Otley through investing or donating.

While the pub club supports community bids to own and improve pubs, we are not offering financial advice nor are making any recommendations as to invest or not. Please consult financial professionals before making investment decisions.


You might remember that The Rose & Crown was re-named The Ian McMillan on August 1st last year, after the poet, playwright, journalist and broadcaster from Darfield. Sadly, the R&C tenants decided to leave, so the pub was empty and closed up on Yorkshire Day, and Ian couldn’t visit us. But he did promise he’d try to get back and perform in Otley sometime. True to his word, he is appearing at Otley Courthouse with musician and composer Luke Carver Goss, this Friday Feb 22nd at 7:30pm. There were only (literally) a handful of tickets left when I heard from his agent last week, so you might be unlucky – but it’s worth checking for the chance of sharing a “hilarious night of words, music & breath-taking comedy, featuring songs, stories and a musical created out of thin air!”


Most pubs in town seem to be just stoking up the fires and waiting for February to pass. The usual suspects for music and TV are still delivering, and there are loads of quizzes and open mic nights. Best option if you’re looking for something to do on a particular night, and there doesn’t seem to be anything here, is to check the social media links below nearer the time. [There’s always something to do in an Otley pub – even if it’s only drink great beer and (don’t?) talk about Brexit!]


  • DJ vinyl night on the third Wednesday of every month [20 Feb]


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  • Looking for something different for that someone special, why not give them a Groove Pad gift voucher.  Now available in store.
  • Tuesdays Open mike night from 8:00pm
  • Sundays live music from 2:00pm Rock Salt Acoustic, Sun 24/02
  • Wednesday Feb 20th hosting a charity music quiz in aid of Martin House in association with Hels Bels photography.  Teams of 4, all participants receive free pizza and the tickets are £12.50 per team.  Winning team will receive £40 in Groove Pad gift vouchers.
  • Guinness has been added to their range.
  • Meet the Brewer –  Saltaire Brewery – Wednesday 6th March at 19:00
  • Groove Pad Beer and Vinyl’s were named as 1 of 20 top new pubs in Britain, so they have extended their drinks offer until the end of February  All hand pulled Ales £2.95 and ginuary is now in February, Premium Gins from £3.50 including mixer
  • Offer to OPC Premier card holders is 10% off clothing and vinyls on production of the card.  They will also be stocking one of each of the OPC T-shirts/hoodies for customers to order through them, as well as stocking the Premier cards themselves!


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  • Otley’s newest bar and venue, right on the main street in Kirkgate.
  • Saturday Feb 23rd @ 19:30 – Joe Palooka’s Juke Joint
  • Thursday Feb 28th @ 19:00 – The Dunwells Live at the Rookery.


– Every second Wednesday Irish Session at 8:30
– Every Thursday, the Manor Sessions, featured band + open mic slots.
– every Friday is the Manor House official open mic night starting 8:30
– every Saturday live music
– every Sunday at 8:30 the Manor quiz with play your cards right, cash prize and 1 gallon of beer for quiz winners.
– first Sunday of the month Irish music session at 2pm
– Musicians welcome to jam, practice and play all week!
– get ready for St Patrick’s day March the 17th! Music starting at 2pm until close, the Irish Raisers, Irish dancing and lots of the black stuff!


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  • On Monday February 4th this message appeared on facebook from the landlord of The Tap House – “So it’s with an heavy heart that because of the selfish act of some people we have had to close The Otley Tap House. We are currently talking to interested parties about taking it over.
    Jenny and myself would like to thank the people of Otley for giving us a great 5 years of trade and we’d like to think friendship.
    We built the bar from scratch and without your support it would not have been possible.
    We would like to give huge thanks to those who worked for us with integrityand honesty especially Danny Sumner and Julie Hatton who worked for us for a long time and know they are as upset as we are. 
    All the best and let’s hope the Taps is up and running again soon.
    All the best and god bless. Jenny and Kev.x”
  • Then, just 5 days later, this message appeared on The Otley Tap House Facebook page – “We are happy to announce that the Otley Tap House is to Re-open this evening around 7pm!!
    Lets keep this well established, Independent Otley pub with lots of characters on the pub scene for years to come!” I haven’t had a chance to go down and see the new landlord yet, so I can’t tell you any more than that, but I’ll share the details as soon as I have them.


  • Boxing – Degale vs Eubank, Saturday Feb 23rd
  • Love Your Local – Help your local support their favourite charity. Pick up a newsletter and loyalty card at the bar.


  • Open every evening from 7pm, and was looking really good when we held our January meeting there. As soon as everything’s ready in the kitchens, they’ll be opening from midday with food, and we’ll let you know as soon as that happens.
  • There was a minor catastrophe over the weekend of 9/10 Feb, when damage to drainage pipes caused during refurbishment meant that the dishwasher outlet flooded the bar area. All fixed now and open as usual.


  • Quiz every Tuesday from 8pm: Only £1 per team, free supper, cash prizes!
  • Open mic night every Thursday, starting Feb 28th with host Billy Mitchell. Free drink for all performers.
  • Rock n Roll Bingo coming soon on Sunday afternoons


  • Quiz every Thursday
  • DJ every Friday
  • DJ every Saturday too!


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  • On February the 7th the photo alongside appeared on local social media, and despite my having been talking to them just the previous week, I had no inkling that this was about to happen. It’s very sad to see The Bay Horse in trouble yet again, and we’re really sorry to see Malwina leaving. But it’s been like this ever since New River took ownership of the pub from Punch. Otley Pub Club will be contacting the company to see if there’s any way we can come to a mutually satisfying agreement about it. One that will keep New River happy in a financial sense, but will allow a new tenant to settle in and be able to make a reasonable living from what should be a thriving pub. It’s one of the gems in Otley’s historic pub crown, and deserves better!


  • ?
  • The existing offer to OPC card holders should still be 10% off food AND off room bookings, but please do check with staff onsite before committing to expenditure, in case anything’s changed!


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  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off all drinks and food (Card holder + any party up to 6 in total.) Stew and a pint is about £11 – buy 5 of those and you get your fiver for your Premier card back in one sitting!


  • Showing all the 6 Nations rugby internationals, and providing a special menu to go with them.
  • Look out for a promotion for their regulars who bring their dogs – wait for it- ” A round of a paws!”
  • Offer to OPC card holders has been withdrawn by Market Town Taverns, as they have their own loyalty card starting this year. So why not ask for one of them when you go in?


  • Look out for their new menu coming out soon .
  • Sundays Quiz has new prizes . Race Car experiences , Computer Tablets , comedy tickets etc .
  • Saturday 2nd March next Karoake  night
  • Friday 8th March Charity Race night.
  • Mothers day Sunday 31st March. Early booking advised. Carvery £8.95 with free gift for mum!
  • Offer to OPC card holders is 20% off food (Card holder + 1 and not in conjunction with the Carvery or pensioners lunch)

JUNCTION (#keepingmusicliveandfree)

  • Tuesday 19/02 Gypsy Bill
  • Saturday 23/02 Howling Jonny and the Devil’s Rejects
  • Tuesday 26/02 Hail Bails
  • Thursday 28/02 Open mic 8pm onwards
  • Check the facebook page regularly for updates on music and quizzes! And don’t forget it’s 50p off a pint on Mondays!!


  • We’ve had an initial discussion with Geoff, the new landlord at The Fleece, and he’s willing to continue an offer to OPC card holders. We’ll let you know what that offer is as soon as they are agreed.


  • Thursday 7th March – Steak & Wine Night: sharing board of 3 steaks , 3 sauces , Twice cooked beef dripping chips and side salad with a bottle of house red or white £50 per couple
  • Sunday 31st March – Mothers Day: Now taking bookings early, as it is the busiest day of the year.


  • No special changes or events during the next 4 weeks, but it’s been [almost] warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the view over the past few days of sunshine! And it will soon be spring, so get your walking boots out and have a weekend stroll to the top of the Chevin!
  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off drinks at the bar [cardholder + 1]. Buy a card for a fiver, and after about 17 pints you’re in profit!











































Otley Pub Club

Stew and Oyster

Groove Pad Beer and Vinyls

The Rookery Bar and Venue

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –

Finally, my usual apologies for errors and/or omissions. 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. On the other hand, 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 right away. Thanks!

Bob Brook

OPC Newsletter Editor


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