. . . ‘The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote . . .’ Who remembers their Chaucer, eh? Not sure he got the weather report quite right for March 2017, but now ‘The yonge sonne hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne’ we probably will get a few more showers. But boy, has it been warm! The weekend sunshine that greeted the clocks going forward especially must have tempted a few of you to linger a little longer in some of our wonderful beer gardens than you normally would at this time of year. Let’s hope for more of it! It’s certainly exactly what will be needed if the beer garden in our first article below is to be a success!

If at this time of year you ‘long to go on pilgrimage’, you could do worse than a pub crawl round Brighton. [Yes, that one where you have to stop when you’re going South, before you drop off the bottom of England and finish up in that there EU!] I know it’s a long way to go just for a beer, but I was down there anyway, so the latest ‘beer journey’ recorded below wasn’t that much of a problem.

(You can read all the Canterbury Tales prologue in its original and ‘translated‘ forms here)



Otley is already known for the number of pubs in town, and for their wide appeal to different people. There are dog-friendly pubs; child friendly pubs; pubs with gardens for sun-worshippers; and pubs with music for those who like a lively time on a Saturday night. There are real ale pubs; pubs that do food; big pubs from national chains; and small independent pubs as well.

But coming soon there’ll be a pub that really makes Otley stand out from the crowd – a pub for naturists [that’s nudists to me and you]! Two local businessmen have applied for planning permission to convert one of the empty bank buildings in town into a bar where you can leave your clothes as well as your worries at the door.

Of course it won’t be the first time there have been nudists in a bar in Yorkshire. 5 years ago, in October 2012, naked rambler Stephen Gough [that’s him on the left] stopped off at Britain’s highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn up in the Dales. Owner of the Tan Hill, Tracy Daly, said at the time: “He came in dangling his bits as he always does and stayed the night . . . he had breakfast and was dressed for that before setting off.”(1)

Interviews have already been held for bar(e) staff at the new location, which has a tentative name of The Nu-Design Bar. Successful applicants will not only need to be comfortable being naked in front of their customers, but also in man-handling those who are well lubricated or getting a bit high, and need to be ejected.

The photo shows the first half dozen successful applicants, with the towels they’ll hand out to customers who’ve forgotten to bring their own to sit on, and aprons for those who are really desperate to cover their embarrassment! Everyone will have to be naked when they enter the bar though, to make sure there’s no chance of people just coming to stare, and there’ll be secure lockers for your clothes in the undressing room before you go in. The thing is, Otley is a small town and customers are likely to bump into their neighbours and relatives or even their old teachers from school – literally on busy nights! It could be awkward, but conversation might be made easier as eye contact is likely to be maintained for longer than usual!

The 2 entrepreneurs [who prefer to remain anonymous at the moment, but are pictured here after helping keep the bridge open during the 2016 floods] said “Obviously we’ll be upgrading the old heating system, triple-glazing the existing windows, so some of our older male customers don’t feel the effects of the cold and then disappear. We’ll also be blacking out the windows, so passers-by can’t get a sneaky peek – or maybe the shock of their lives – while they’re out doing their shopping. But the atmosphere inside the bar will be relaxed, and customers of any age, shape or size will be warmly welcomed. We’re even working on ways to open a beer garden that’s not in view of any of the offices around here, so sun worshippers can enjoy the fresh air without distracting the workers.” [You can see what a typical Otley naturist beer garden might look like, below.]

Bob Brook, the secretary of Otley Pub Club said “Although, as you know, we prefer to support the existing pubs in Otley, it’s always good to see something different – and you’ll certainly see some things here that you wouldn’t normally see in any of the other pubs in town!” He confirmed that there were no plans yet to change the name of their organisation to Otley Pube Club. He did however suggest that this might just be the start of nudist pub culture Otley, with perhaps a naked quiz league [nowhere to hide your phone to cheat]; a naked darts league [careful!]; and even naked speed dating [find out pretty much everything about a potential partner straight off!] From there, the sky’s the limit – a naked river swim for charity, a naked stretcher race, even a naturist carnival float. Pretty soon Otley could attract a whole new set of tourists by becoming the first completely naturist-friendly town in the UK. “I’m sure nudism could catch on in Otley”, Bob said. “We’re a hardy lot, and pretty liberal as well – unless we see people doing something really silly, like feeding bread to the ducks on the river!”

Andy FitzGerald, Otley Pub Club Chairman added – “Whilst this new pub may offend some sensibilities, it’s being done with discretion. This is another example of Otley being at the forefront of pub innovation and I look forward to hanging out there with other members on the opening night.

The pub will open in exactly one year’s time, serving locally-brewed beers LARDY FOOLS IPA and FIRTH STRIP ALE



I’m not a particular fan of micro pubs, but they do seem to be springing up all over the place nowadays. Still, I’m not sure whether that’s because they’re popular with punters, or with people who think they can make a few quid without all the hard work and overheads associated with a traditional pub. [And to be fair, we all know how hard that can be nowadays!] I don’t suppose I’ll know the answer to that for a few years until we see whether they last, or whether the customers or the proprietors get bored and move on. There’s an item about them from the Today programme on the BBC iPlayer [which expires on the 20th of April]. It’s on the following link, starting at 2 hours 41 minutes, and only lasts for about 4 minutes if you want to give it a listen.

I won’t tell you what I think about the item and the interviews – I’ll let you make your own mind up [but I’m sure you’ll be able to guess once you’ve heard it]. So, to end on a positive note, I do know of a nearby micro pub which is opening next week, Saturday the 8th of April at 11am, and which I’m sure will be lovely. It’s not in Otley, but in the old Greengates Post Office on the road to Bradford from Apperley Bridge, at 832 Harrogate Road. [This side of the traffic lights on the left before you get to Sainsbury’s.] It’s called The Cracker Barrel. I shall definitely call in sometime to say hello and see what it’s like – even though it’s sad and somewhat ironic that three buildings that used to serve the local community – 2 traditional pubs and the Post Office itself – had to close to make it possible, and possibly a success.



The picture alongside is from a satirical blog post.

Found out at last! These guys are not the KLF of brewing, just another wannabee rich multinational. Nothing wrong with that – as long as you admit it. Just last year the company disputed a trademarking claim from the estate of Elvis Presley, which took issue with Brewdog’s Elvis Juice beer. In a statement on the firm’s website, it said: “Here at BrewDog, we don’t take too kindly to petty pen pushers attempting to make a fast buck by discrediting our good name under the guise of copyright infringement.” Oh really. You seem not only to have learned that lesson, but now used it – twice.

The brewer, which has been a vocal critic of the behaviour of large corporations, threatened to sue a Wolverhampton pub named ‘Lone Wolf’ – the name of a BrewDog vodka. [Vodka? I thought they were a brewery!] They have also in the past raised an objection to plans by music promoter Tony Green to open a bar in Leeds called Draft Punk. That too resulted in the same ‘petty pen pushers’ attempt to discredit someone’s good name by threatening copyright infringement and massive costs that the small business couldn’t afford. Now they deny the Leeds case ever really happened, and they’ve backed down from the ‘Lone Wolf’ case, using the argument of corporate multi-millionaires everywhere – “It wasn’t us, it was our employees doing it without our knowledge.”

Well, sorry guys – but with great wealth comes great responsibility. So, you know, don’t pass the fast buck. To everyone else, if you love the beer – keep drinking it. But if you think you’re doing it as a ‘punk’ lifestyle choice, don’t. Just don’t! There are many equally good and even better beers from small local independent breweries that are much more deserving of your custom.



[Well – not very sunny when we arrived, as you can see. Just about!]

Being down in East Sussex for my son’s wedding [which was a great bash, if I do say so myself!] I took the opportunity to wander round a (very) few pubs when not involved in the formal side of things. Brighton is described as “an English seaside resort town. About an hour south of London by train, it’s a popular day-trip destination. Its broad shingle beach is backed by amusement arcades and Regency-era buildings. Brighton Pier, in the central waterfront section, opened in 1899 and now has rides and food kiosks. The town is also known for its nightlife, arts scene, shopping and festivals.” What that fails to tell you is that it should also be known for its abysmal traffic management, which means it took us an hour to get out of there on Sunday, when there was a massive gathering of motorbikes all along the sea front, as well as an antique motorbike rally coming into town as we were leaving! But that’s a moan for another time and place.

First port of call was the North Laine Brewhouse on Gloucester Place, where we all due to go for a big pre-wedding scoff the next day. So these were my first impressions, and they did change somewhat when I went back earlier in the following day. It was fairly full (of mainly under 35s) and already very noisy at 7pm. (#ThursdayisthenewFriday.) There was music playing fairly loudly, but poorly defined so all you could hear [or feel] was the thumping of the beat making everybody shout. Noise rebounding from hard floor and wall surfaces just made it worse. There were long tables and benches alongside a massive open floor space, presumably for busy standing nights – and I could imagine from looking around me at 7pm on a Thursday that it could get VERY popular. I had a nice enough over-hopped beer from the brewery’s own fairly wide range, called Hop Bomb for £4:20. The place seemed randomly over-decorated and a bit ‘young cliquey’ though the barmaid who served me was certainly efficient and friendly. I probably wouldn’t go back on my own in the evening, but I imagine it’s a great place to meet your mates.

So, on to The Prince Albert on Trafalgar Street, just a few minutes’ walk round the corner towards the station. Oh yeah, this is much more my cup of tea! There was a live US noughties-style punk band upstairs, who were playing an amazing cover of Californication by the time I left. Not such an entirely young crowd and much more mixed, with none of the hysterical screaming, shouting and giggling that
there had been in North Laine. The bar downstairs was fairly traditional, with an array of flags, Che posters and hanging hops. There was also a pretty good mix of real ale and craft and the bar staff were bonkers (in a good way) – tattoos rather than hairy caterpillar fake eyebrows! Had a pint of Juicy from the Tiny Rebel brewery in Newport – a 4.6% tropical golden ale that was worth however much it cost (I’d already stopped counting!)

I was quite sad to leave really, but I’d only got a couple of hours to myself and I wanted to try a couple more pubs on the way back to our flat [where a temporary resident parking permit cost £10 a day, so although their traffic management might be poor, their money-making acumen is strong!] Anyway, as often happens when you’re having a pint per pub, things were definitely looking up when I reached The Evening Star, again just a few minutes’ walk away. It might be close to the station, but it wasn’t full of drunks staggering to or from their train. More like real ale fans, and a definitely older, and calmer [possibly even more boring] clientele than the previous couple of pubs. Definitely a ‘proper’ pub, for enjoying conversation (of which there was a relaxed buzz at about 8:15) as well as the beer. I was certainly enjoying the conversation of the couple next to me, which was of the ‘so do you really like me? But why?’ variety. That led to them holding hands across the table before I left, so I stopped listening as I felt like a bit of a voyeur in the end [or whatever the listening version of that is!] The pint I had was all you could want from an APA, for a mere [in Brighton terms] £3:25.

Last pub that evening was the Hand in Hand in Kemptown. Again it was lovely, and again completely different! A small, street corner community pub, There were just a couple of regulars at the bar, having a conversation with the barmaid, who was also the landlady. A conversation about beer, about Brighton, about beer, about music, about bands, about tied houses  . . . and they were perfectly comfortable with my joining the conversation whenever I felt like it. I had a pint of their own Hand Brewery Irish red, called Tickler. The landlady assured me it was brewed on the premises, but I checked the size of the place from the outside when I left, and goodness knows where they found the space to put the brewery!

Part 2 coming soon.


– – / / – –



The committee meeting will be held at 19:15 as usual, this Thursday, April 6th, in The Rose and Crown, with the ‘social’ side of the evening following the meeting in there at 8-o-clock. Then we’ll move on about 20 yards round the corner to The Old Cock for 20:45, and leave there to go back past the R&C to The Junction at 21:30. It’s been that kind of year already, hasn’t it – back and forward on the same road! But none of the pubs in Otley are very far apart, so it’s not much of a problem! (Although
having said that, it’ll be a bit further to walk next month, so get your hiking boots on and build up a thirst.)



Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

01 April 2017

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