It’s been a busy month for moves and changes in Otley pubs! Not only did Tim and Sarah take over in Whitakers when Andy moved onwards and upwards [well, Yeadon is at the top of the hill from here], but Steve has left The Black Horse, which has been taken over seamlessly by Jess and Dave; and The Red Lion has become a Craft Union pub.

WHITAKERS – Thanks to Tim and Sarah for the re-launch party on Friday night, October 28th. Four of the committee members were down there to enjoy the free fizz, food and shots, and to join the rest of the crowd for the free entertainment. Looking forward to seeing the new food menu coming up!

RED LION – Wicraft-unionll be closing on Sunday the 13th of November for a complete overhaul, re-furbishment and re-launch as a Craft Union pub. [Nothing to do with Craft beers, or Trade Unions.] John will still be in charge, but expect really competitive drink prices and big screen sports coverage, as well as other changes when he re-opens. On Sunday the 13th there’ll be a closing party with live music from The Goodfellows, and ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’ drinks availability and offers. The refurb is expected to be completed for handover on November 30th, so expect the pub to re-emerge like a phoenix from the flames [how many times have I said that about The Red Lion in the past!] on Thursday December 1st, just in time for everyone to get used to those new low drinks prices in the run-up to Christmas!

BLACK HORSE – It would be unfair to let Steve disappear without saying what a great job he made of restoring the reputation of The Black Horse in the two and a bit years he was there. He and his manager Mark arrived a week before the Tour de France Grand Départ and worked what seemed like every hour of every day to get it back on its feet, and create a friendly but professional hotel atmosphere. Jess and Dave have now taken over, and immediately dealt smoothly with two functions already booked for their first weekend. I attended the one on Sunday, which was a meeting of the West Riding Branch of the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood [SPBW]. Over 30 people there, and the staff coped with the demand for drinks, and the delivery of a superb buffet, whilst still serving food and drinks to the customers in the bar. Well done everyone – it was much appreciated by your visitors.

Just one more thing to say about The Black Horse. Bar Room Buskers, which has been based there every Thursday night for the last few months, has temporarily ceased to exist. Of course you might still see Andrew Gilliver performing, either alone or with friends, in other places around Otley like Otta’s Leah or The Manor House, and hopefully BRB will re-appear somewhere soon.


PINTS 4 PAWS . . .

How about this for a great idea? The Animal Welfare League of Arlington [Virginia, USA] held a beer festival on October 16th where all the profits went to the AWLA. This is what they said about it –pints-4-paws

“You and your well-behaved human and canine friends will enjoy an afternoon of beer-tasting, music, food and activities. Beer enthusiasts can sample a wide variety of unique craft-brewed beer and enjoy live music, vendors’ booths and local food truck fare. Mix and mingle with adoptable AWLA dogs, play games, like bocce and cornhole [which I played at the Rooster’s Brewery open day last year in Knaresborough, and it’s addictive, believe me!], and parade your pup in a doggy costume contest.”

They even had reduced-price tickets for designated drivers [but imagine the temptation of taking home a rescue dog, once you’d had a few strong IPAs – “I LOVE YEWWW!”] Anyway, that’s one idea we might think of copying over here, if we could get someone like the Dogs Trust or Tia Rescue to be a charity partner!



You might not know that there is a family of calendars called ‘Wine Dogs’ [possibly because they only cover Australia, New Zealand and the USA]. Closer to home, you might also have missed a website called ‘Dogs in Pubs’ . It seems to have closed 2 years ago, but the last picture was from The Record Café in Bradford!

Anyway, it’s been suggested that the Pub Club might run a competition for people in Otley to take pictures of dogs in pubs around thedoginapub town, the winners of which could then be put together in a calendar for 2018 [it’s a bit late for next year now, unfortunately]. We would make sure that all the pubs were included in the calendar [maybe 2 pubs per month, plus individual ones for the top 2?] You could send all your [high-quality, not instagrammed or photoshopped] photos to us; we’d put them on a website, sorted by individual pub; and people could then vote online for their favourites. [We’d see if we could work out an offline voting system in town as well – possibly in conjunction with the local paper – and combine the results.] All the details are obviously to be worked out later [and we’re letting ourselves in for more work, I know!] but if you think it’s worth doing, or if you have any suggestions on how to improve it, let us know. [Pets in pubs, maybe, so cats and tarantulas and macaws and bearded dragons could be included? Or maybe just stick to dogs . . .]



Although the launch of ‘Half Moon: Poems about Pubs’ was a few weeks ago now, it prompted one of our members to send in this anonymous poem about a pub called ‘The George’. Not quite as cheerful as some of the ones in the Otley Word Feast publication, but see what you think. [And as I’ve said before, if you want to send me any of your own writing, I will definitely publish anything I don’t think is potentially offensive or upsetting to any of our readers – anonymously if you’d prefer.]



He came back from The George all pale and bitter.

She’d seen him on his way and thought he’d hit her,george

As he sometimes did,

When his beloved team had lost.

So she just ran and hid

Upstairs, no matter what the cost.

And there, he found her.

Said ‘what you doing, you fat stupid cow?’

And downed her –

As he often seemed to now –

With one hard slap around the face.

She knew her place,

But this time something cracked,

And – fatally – she answered back.

“If you must watch a team of losers,

Why don’t you just stay down the effin’ boozer?”


He just kicked out, he didn’t even think,

And as she rolled away, saw there was nothing there

So, though she teetered for a moment on the brink

Eventually she clattered down the stair.

At once he sobered up as she just moaned

And instantly remorseful, he cried down the phone

‘Yeah, ambulance! This is her feller –

I’d drive her there myself from home,


I’ve had 6 pints of Stella . . . ‘


He stayed outside IC all night.

He wanted to make sure she was alright –

And so was he!

So, when the room was free,

He slipped in and crouched down,

And swallowed at the frown

Upon her face.

‘I know it’s not my place

To ask . . . but did you tell?’

“Of course not! I just said I fell –

I love you, don’t I? I don’t want you put away.”

And once again he knew he’d got away

With it. He always did

‘And what about the kid?’


“I lost him – but I would have called him George.”




If only we had the time, the money, and the resources, these are just some of the possible new OPC projects we could undertake to create more interest in the pubs and the town, and maybe even bring more money into OPC itself.

  • Collaborations with Otley Library on beer talks/tastings – Farsley had Pete Bunten on ‘Beer Writers’, and Chapel Allerton and Oakwood libraries sponsored a beer-tasting with Simon Jenkins. He’s a former Beer Writer of the Year and columnist for the Yorkshire Evening Post, and was promoting his book The Great Leeds Pub Crawl.pubpass
  • Otley Pub Passport – that old chestnut. [We are definitely hoping to get that started this year.]
  • Brewery/vineyard/distillery trips – maybe in collaboration with pubs, or CAMRA, or SPBW.
  • More local political debates, like the one we organised on Brexit.
  • ‘Road to Marston Moor’ walk as a follow up to the Civil War battle re-creation. From Menston, via Farnley, to the Otley Black Bull.
  • Lost pubs of Otley walks. Every other month? Festivals and/or Bank Holidays? Maybe charge for them – including a free drink – and finish at a different pub each time?
  • Carnival float, maybe with a brewery cart and dray horses.
  • Fundraisers to allow us to put on other projects – Buttercross, raffle, boot sale, anything else?
  • Produce more OPC T-shirts for sale?
  • Otley Lost and Found – OLAF – leave found items at pubs, pick them up from a central location [perhaps for a small fee].
  • OPC Pub Quiz Team – different pub for a quiz each week?
  • Printed local newsletter to leave in pubs, like ‘The Pub Paper’, which covers the whole of upper Calderdale from Brighouse to Todmorden, including Ripponden, and seems to find plentiful advertising. [Also a beer blog at ]

Let us know what you think of any, or all, of these – or whether you have any other ideas for activities that you think would be popular. Best email address to reply to is because the Newsletter address gets clogged up with non-delivery reports and the like. Even better, let us know if you would like to run one of the projects yourself. If you see yourself as a tour guide on a coach on a North Sea Ferry to Belgian breweries for instance, get in touch!



I did tell you I’d remind you about this again before it happened [because the more people they get through the doors, the more fun for everyone, and the more money goes to local charities.] Well here it is at last.

“A pub, but only for two days.”

It’s not the Otobfley pub equivalent of Brigadoon, but the 16th Otley Beer Festival. To be held at the newly refurbished Otley Rugby Club on Pool Rd on Friday and Saturday 18th & 19th November (12am till 11pm). More than 60 beers of every style and a range of strengths are featured, from a large number of local breweries. Strongest is Kursaal Imperial Stout from Harrogate Brewery, at 7.5%, and at the opposite end of the scale is a pale beer from Bad Co brewery at Dishforth, called Slow Rider, at just 2.8%. As well as cask beer, the Festival will be hosting a keg bar from The Curious Hop and a selection of ciders. There are soft drinks available as well as food and a range of snacks. Also live music from local musicians on both evenings. All proceeds go to support local charities. This year’s main beneficiaries are Prostate Cancer UK, and the purchase and installation of a defibrillator near Cross Green. So please come and support it, and have a glass or two in a good cause. For a complete list of this year’s beers and sponsorship information visit 

It only costs £3 to get in, and for that you get a free programme and a special [non-returnable] commemorative glass. You don’t have to worry about buying your ticket in advance either – there aren’t any – just turn up whenever you like and pay at the door.



On the 4th, 5th and 6th of November, The Curious Hop in New Market will be hosting a ‘pop-up’ bar, meaning you’ll be able to buy beers from their wide selection AND drink them on the premises [as long as you sit down, curiously!] Yes, I know we maybe shouldn’t be promoting a ‘competitor’ to Otley’s traditional pubs, but they do sell a large number of beers that you can’t get in the pubs, and they do help to support and promote Otley Pub Club throughout the year. And I haven’t finished promoting ‘competitors’ yet!! .  .  .



If you’ve seen the new shop called O’Deli on New Market, opposite Chip-in Dales at the entrance to Orchard Gate shopping centre, and wondered what it was – wonder no more! They sell gorgeous cakes – mainly dairy-free and gluten-free, but with a vegan option as well – and food platters and sandwiches. Mainly to take away, but you can also sit in and have a coffee with your cake as well – and probably a chat with Kay who runs O’Deli 7 – yes 7 – days a week. I’d say the place was like a TARDIS, except it really is as small on the inside as it looks!!

So why am I talking about it at all, in a Pub Club context? Well, we’re always interested in any new licensed outlets, and O’Deli are hoping to have their alcohol licence in place on the 10th of November if everything goes according to plan. Just about all their food is sourced locally in Yorkshire; their wine will be provided by Chez Vin, about 40 yards away; and their beer by The Curious Hop, which is even closer! They’ll obviously never be a ‘pub’ in our sense of the word, and they will only be licensed up to 7:30 in the evening, so don’t expect to go late-night boozing in there! But they are a welcome addition to the Otley food and drink scene [and watch out for more news about The Stew and Oyster in future Newsletters].

– – / / – –


Because October’s meeting was the AGM, and we just stayed in one pub all night, we’ve changed the plans a bit for this month as well. We’ll just visit the other 2 pubs that would normally have been included last month. So the formal meeting will be in The Yew Tree [less than 10 minutes’ walk up the hill North of the river, on Newall Carr Road], starting at 19:15, followed by a bit of social chat and relaxation, until about 21:00. Then we’ll leave to walk back down into town, and spend some time in The Bay Horse until we all go our separate ways at the end of the night. See you there!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

31 October 2016

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