Thundersnow? It’ll never happen! In fact in this post-Christmas feasting, post-New Year celebrating, post-sales spending period, it seems as though not very much is happening at all. A bit of wind, a few millimetres of snow, and even very little ice. Maybe that’s why so many groups try to jump on the ‘let’s make up a word with ANUARY in it!’ bandwagon. The most well-known [and possibly first?] was DRY JANUARY – which isn’t even a single word! Surely they could have put a bit more thought into it! Promoted by Alcohol Concern, and now being followed up with a crowdfunding appeal for a project called ‘Dry January and beyond’.

Of course, we know some people and groups won’t be happy until everyone has stopped drinking alcohol altogether [except wine of course, and brandy – neither of which surprisingly ever seem to come under the anti-alcohol spotlight in the way that beers and ‘cheap’ spirits seem to!] They have their point of view, and of course they’re completely entitled to it. In the opposite corner, [mainly] independent breweries, beers, bars and bottle shops hitched a very similar ride with TRYANUARY – which of course we’re much happier with [and not just because it’s a snappy one-word effort]! That campaign encourages individuals to take on a one month mission to explore strange new beers, to seek out new tastes and new breweries, to boldly go where they’ve never gone before! Helps keep the pubs open and the landlords free from penury.

But surely it’s time for campaigns that are a bit more inventive. One Otley landlord is in Tenerife at the moment, making me think the time is ripe for the travel industry to adopt the slogan TANUARY, “don’t let winter get you down, and don’t frown, get brown!” And with the popularity of programmes like Bake-Off and Master Chef, how about FLANUARY? You could stay in to avoid the thundersnow, and make at least one sweet and one savoury flan a week – avoiding the old favourites like quiche Lorraine and custard tarts. And finally my own favourite WOTANUARY – praise an old Norse/Germanic god every Wednesday [Wodensdag], or have competitions to see
who can remember the most obscure evil machines from early Dr Who episodes [Will Operating Thought ANalogue!]

BTW – although several characters might have said “Doctor Who?” when asking about the Doctor’s name, WOTAN remains the only entity that has ever actually referred to him by that full name! [According to Tardis Data Core.]



 I remember writing a few months back about pouches that were a bit like teabags, that you could add to a pint of cheap, ordinary lager to turn it into something with more of a ‘craft’ flavour to it [whatever that might mean]. Well now they’ve come up with something more like Nespresso pods in Australia, that once again can be used to flavour lager. [I get a distinct feeling here, that these two articles say more about some lagers than they do about the products being added to them!]


Anyway, the pods come in five natural flavours: Pink grapefruit, honey, lime, raspberry and apple, and if that hasn’t already made Aussie lager drinkers run for a chunder bucket, they are infused into a contemporary lager via a pod system, then poured from a single tap “for a refreshing twist on beer”. Apparently the system was developed in response to consumer demand for increased variety in beer styles and flavours, as well as publicans seeking to offer something different. Perhaps the least likely aspect of this whole story is that the Marketing Manager for the new product is called Richard Oppy(!), and you can see an interview with him here.

“With so many options for entertainment, pubs need to provide new and different experiences for consumers in order to compete,” Oppy says.

“The innovation by CUB provides some excitement and theatre for drinkers, while delivering a brew which is essentially made for people looking for something different or trying beer for the first time.“



66 year old David Mitchell from Devon died recently, after apparently accepting a bet to eat 4 pickled eggs in a minute. Despite attempts to resuscitate him after he was choking on the eggs, Mr Mitchell died while still in the pub. The Devon assistant coroner warned anyone tempted to try a similar contest to “think very carefully before doing so.” There might also be implications for the management and staff in pubs, as they have to maintain their duties under Health and Safety legislation with regard to the welfare of their customers at all times. So if an incident like this happened in full view of the bar, with the knowledge of staff and management, questions might be asked in that respect.

Sadly it isn’t the only case of death by pickled eggs either! According to The Exeter Express and Echo, a former Royal Marine, Gary Sims, 55, died in 2013 after choking on three pickled eggs in a pub challenge, and in 2015 a 14-year-old girl died after gorging on pickled eggs in a late night binge. Facebook still has a pickled egg challenge page, but there doesn’t seem to have been anything posted on it since August 2016 [Mr Mitchell died in September] Bizarrely, the final status accompanying a video says “Another pub failure!! Dropping like flies!!!”



Good music and good causes make this event doubly appealing. A musical fundraising night will be held at Korks Wine Bar on Bondgate in Otley next weekend. Keiran La Fox will perform on Saturday 21 Jan, supported by Lia Stephan and followed by DJs Steve Sheard and Luka Taylor. Doors open at 8pm and tickets can be bought in advance from the Yorkshire Runner shop on Bondgate for £5, or on the night for £7.

All proceeds will be shared equally between Martin House Children’s Hospice; Handicapped Children Pilgrimage Trust 198 Otley Group; and the St Vincent de Paul Society.



I’m off to San Antonio Texas next month, so I’ll have to get used to tipping in restaurants in excess of what passes for the ‘norm’ here [about 10% usually]. Here, the AA have recently published the results of a survey about concerns with tipping, after questioning over 19,000 restaurant-goers. The results show that there is confusion around how much to tip, how to tip and ambiguity about who gets the money left as a tip. More detailed results and comments are available in Caterer, Licensee, Hotelier, amongst a number of other places online.

But I have a question or two of my own, concerning pubs – When you eat in a pub, do you always tip? If you’re having a meal in a ‘gastropub’ I guess you would, but what about a standard meat and 2 veg, pudding and custard in an ordinary lounge bar? Or then again, how about pie and chips at your bar table? And what is the tip actually for? If you just get drinks delivered to your table, but no food, would you still tip the person who brings them? Sometimes people will ask the bar staff to ‘have one themselves’, happy that they probably just put the money aside for later, rather than having a drink. However, I will never forget the time I stood at a bar in a London hotel, watched the pint being pulled and passed about 2 feet across the bar to me, only to be charged an extra 10% ‘service’ charge! Needless to say, it was my one and only drink there. Ever!



It was announced last week that the new Chair of the APP ‘Save the Pub’ Group is Toby Perkins, the Labour MP for Chesterfield. The three vice-chairs are Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion; Charlotte Leslie, Conservative MP for Bristol North West; and Louise Haig, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley. Otley Pub Club’s President Greg Mulholland, the LibDem MP for Leeds North West, who set up the All Party group in 2009 and has chaired it ever since, will now concentrate more on his role as chair of the British Pub Confederation. The Confederation’s main issues are problems relating to the pubs’ code, and the ongoing lack of protection for pubs against predatory purchasing. CAMRA Chairman Colin Valentine welcomed Perkins to his new role and praised his previous experience as Shadow pubs minister. Valentine also thanked outgoing Chair Mulholland for all his hard work campaigning for pubs over the last 7 years.



Is another newsletter I’ve just subscribed to, with the strapline – ‘News from the UK beer scene’. But alongside today’s headline stories about 42 pubs in Devon gaining ACV status; a Birmingham pub that’s been converted into an Indian street food court; and an article by Victoria Coren Mitchell questioning the methodology behind an academic paper called “Functional Benefits of (Modest) Alcohol Consumption”, there is more than aletalk and alenews.

The picture below, for instance comes from Worldwide Breast Cancer’s ‘Know Your Lemons’ campaign for breast cancer awareness. Please go to their page for a clearer image, and for more details about the campaign. Sharing their post[s] on Facebook will help more people recognise the symptoms, and will be far more useful than sharing a picture of a lovely pink heart!

[BTW – if you would like to read the academic paper mentioned above, the article from ‘Adaptive Human Behaviour and Physiology’ is online here.]

The survey data suggest that respondents who have a ‘local’ that they visit on a regular basis are more socially engaged, feel more contented in their lives, and are more likely to trust other members of their community – but then Otley Pub Club knew that already, didn’t we? That’s the reason we’re here, after all – to save ALL our locals.



The Morning Advertiser has reported that Victoria Road Pub Management Ltd has lost 18 pubs, following a High Court Order issued in November last year. The pubs were all handed back to their landlords, and they include The New Inn just over The Chevin from Otley – right next door to St Oswald’s Church in Towngate, Guiseley. I don’t know whether that one is still open and trading, but I’ll have a look the next time I go over. Another pub in their portfolio was The City Gent, in the old Penny Bank building at the top end of North Parade in Bradford. With that area of the City beginning to be revitalised, it will be a shame if one of the pubs has to close. It does go to show though, that all is still by no means well as far as the pub trade is concerned.



Now, I never will forgive Leicester for stealing the remains of our king, which rightfully belong back in God’s Own County, but at least [according to the Leicester Mercury] getting a haircut or a shave in the city has just become more inviting. The latest franchised branch of Everyman barbers has just opened there, and managing Director Neil Gilronan says “We’ll serve a nice cold beer or maybe even a glass of whisky, which goes down a damn sight better than tea or coffee.” [But you can still get a free tea or coffee instead – if you want!]



.  .  .  this time from the Scottish Licensed Trade Association [SLTA], who are not happy with the brewing giant’s takeover of a large number of Punch Tavern’s pubs. Although it will only increase Heineken’s share of pubs in Scotland from 2% to 6%, SLTA Chief Exec Paul Waterson claimed that Heineken, with brands including Amstel, Sol and Strongbow cider, would stifle drinkers’ options on which brands of beers and other drinks were available. Interestingly, after the landlords expressed their initial “grave concerns” last year a response was published by the managing director of Heineken Star Pubs and Bars, Lawson Mountstevens, which didn’t seem to mention wet trade at all. He quoted “providing a consistently excellent experience for customers . . .  a further £2 million of investment for our Scottish pubs (in 2016) . . . (ensuring) that licensees can significantly improve their food offer . . . and generating multiple income streams for our licensees”. So apart from various lagers and ciders, you’ll soon be able to buy Murphy’s stout and Deuchars IPA and not much more, in another 4% of Scottish pubs.



People still play Pokemon Go, and I might have mentioned last year that some of Otley’s pubs were gyms or Pokestops. According to the website https://www.pokemongomap.info/ these are the current pubs involved, and there are loads more non-pub locations in and around town.


Cross Pipes



Rose and Crown


White Swan [archway]

Black Bull


Yeoman [yes!]

Summercross [yes! Tour de France mural.]



[Sorry I wasn’t able to get out around the pubs this week, so had to just scrounge what I could from other sources.]


Has a new menu starting in February, why not call up there and give it a try?


Quiz every Tuesday & Sunday.

Free [yes, free!] food Friday.

Always looking to hold local charity fundraisers at the pub – bingo, horse racing and karaoke can all be supplied free.

Then there’s the Yew Tree challenge, with its 18oz burger – dare you!!


No news, but I have got a photo of their lovely archway [Pokestop!] sign in the sun. HOWEVER, you can just see they seem to have
left their Christmas lights up after 12th night, which [no matter how nice they were] means “the goblins can get through the keyhole and spill the milk, crack the china and let the rats and mice into the larder”.


In case you’d heard rumours, and/or were wondering why The Fleece was closed, here’s a message from their Facebook page on Friday 13 January:

“Hi all! Just to make you all aware, we’re going to be closed for a few days whilst a handover and some changes take place (Plenty of familiar faces remaining!) were hoping to be back in business around the middle of next [i.e. this] week. Thankyou all so much for your loyalty and continued support…!! Watch this space, We will keep you informed and upto date….
All our love, Heather, Nicola and all the fantastic crew here @ The Fleece… xXx”


John is hoping to start a regular ‘oldies’ afternoon and early evening, where there will be piano music [if he can get hold of a pianist]; dancing, maybe; bingo; and whatever else a more mature clientele might fancy – pub skittles; shove ha’penny; maybe dominoes? [I was in there last Monday when there was a dominoes match; a darts match; people playing pool; AND the Leeds United game live on TV on 6 screens! – all far too crowded and exciting for ‘oldies’ like me. So maybe a quieter afternoon session would suit me better . . . ]


Don’t miss the return of Saul NEXT month, on Friday 17 Feb, and some other old favourites up to the end of THIS month, shown on the photo alongside.


Some people were asking why the doors were closed and the lights off for a day or so shortly after New Year. We understand they had a “minor operational difficulty” and when we called in there last Wednesday [11 Jan] everything was running as normal again, so why not call in and show them your support?


Quiz on Sundays; Manor Sessions (2 acts)on Thursdays; open mic Fridays; coming soon Manor bingo on Tuesdays; and live music Saturdays! This Thursday 19 Jan from 8:30pm it’s The Bad Dad Band and Peculiar Blue. Open mic spots also available. Also St Patrick’s day coming soon, get that green ready!


This Thursday 19 Jan, as announced on their Facebook page: “We are introducing Hop House 13 to our selection on font, for those that don’t know it’s a lager by Guinness and it’s very quaffable.”
“So next Thursday night we have a quiz on with free hot dogs…. but and here is the twist, the guy from Guinness ( Dave) is in the bar from 7 till 8 and would like to buy anybody a pint of hophouse 13 ( or 2 ) to try it and see what you think. So please come along and help us launch this great drink from Guinness for FREE … see you there. I’ll be the one at the front of the queue!!!!!!”


While posting the Junction’s take on Dry January alongside, I would also like to share the thanks from Inspire – Equine Therapy Foundation, for the sum of £566 raised for them during 2016 by The Junction. Well done!



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 one pub account in town so far –


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


First – I do apologise for any mistakes and/or omissions I might have made while writing, editing and proof-reading the above.  Second – 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 – 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

16 January 2017



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