March Newsletter 2016




Spring at last! Not only the obligatory crocus flowers, but even the first honey bee I’ve seen in the garden this year. With the sun shining and the temperature in double figures in Otley over the weekend, we can really st
art to believe that the worst of the weather from the last few months is finally behind us. Time to throw off your overcoat and get down to the pub to sing karaoke; or play darts; or watch the football; and, most of all, meet your mates!



I found myself watching Sky News the other day, and they were talking to their in-house ‘health expert’ about new research results on alcohol consumption released by the Office of National Statistics. Apparently they showed that an estimated 2.5 million adults consumed more than their recommended weekly limit of 14 units in a single day. So far, so serious. But they didn’t point out that although the research data was collected in 2014, it was being directly compared with brand new guidelines that were only introduced this year. What they did highlight however, was the phrase that is rolled out every time any alcohol consumption figures are mentioned – “There is no safe level of alcohol consumption”. Again – serious stuff. But statistically that is like saying there is no safe level of driving on a motorway, or flying in an aeroplane. Misuse and abuse of alcohol is a terrible thing, but promoting partial statistics and scare tactics is neither helpful nor convincing – and as the ‘safe’ limit is driven ever further down, is likely to be completely counter-productive!

But by far the worst aspect of the Sky report [and probably others] was the ‘criminalisation’ of the language used to describe drinkers. They kept talking about the 2.5 million “hard-core” drinkers, and their “refusal to obey” Government guidelines. I’m not a tobacco smoker, but I’m beginning to understand how they felt when the same Government-inspired media pressure was being brought to bear on them. If you can’t scare someone enough to stop them or make them cut down, then make them feel so guilty that it will have the same effect. Believe me when I say I do recognise the long-term physical effects that alcohol can have. I recently lost a friend who was only 53, to complete organ failure caused by alcohol abuse, and there were 6,592 deaths attributable to alcohol in England in 2015 (Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2015. Information Centre for Health and Social Care, 2015). All I ask is to be treated like a reasonably intelligent human being!



So – having cheered you up with thoughts of impending Spring weather, then depressed you with thoughts of what alcohol can do to your body,Dales why not combine them both with a pub-themed walk in the Dales? This article by Ian Belcher in The Guardian describes his experiences while following a new Dales footpath. [Photo by Anthony Cake.]

As Ian says “few areas offer a more invigorating blend of landscape, history, culture and locally sourced cooking than the Yorkshire Dales – and the best way to enjoy all four is a good walk.” This particular walk is based on a new book in the “Inn Way” series, and runs for 61 miles over a suggested 5 days, taking in 9 Dales and 18 pubs along the way! Ian kicked off and finished in Kettlewell, stopping at Cray, Askrigg, Grinton, and West Burton on the way. But of course you can shorten the days and choose the stopping points yourself if you wish. Just get out there and enjoy it!

The whole walk is described in detail in ‘The Inn Way … To The Yorkshire Dales’, by Mark Reid (InnWay, £9.95).



You might have seen this article in The Wharfedale Observer last week, describing an evThomas Constableent that was to take place in Otley on Thursday, March 10th as part of Leeds Irish month. Well, take place it certainly di
d – with over 100 people in attendance, who heard the story of Thomas Constable and the arrival in Otley of immigrants from Ireland. The evening included performances by the band Summercross, Irish dancing, and an Irish music session. No doubt there’ll be more to come this Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day! [Photo by Jim Jack shows David Stephan, landlord of The Manor House pub – named after Thomas Constable’s old home – and Greg Mulholland MP, Honorary President of Otley Pub Club.]


OWT and MOO!

Remember ODOWTD, FOOLS and GOTHS – those acronyms from Otley Development Disgrace, Friends Of Otley Lido and Give Otley its Town Hall campaign? Well I discovered two more over this weekend, when (first) Otley Women Together [OWT] presented a weekend of events to celebrate International Women’s Day. Then when our minutes secretary visited Otley Courthouse, she encountered a (second) group called Mothers Of Otley [MOO]!



Only 7 weeks to go now until Otley’s full of lycra and chain rings; bike mechanics and elite riders; and sponsors and visitors by the tramload. Although OPC haven’t been able to organise another high-profile PR exercise to promote the pubs and the town like we did for Le Tour in 2014, we’ll still be trying to get the thousands of visitors to come through the doors of every pub in town. We’ll be on the streets handing out copies of The Ale Trail, and telling people exactly where all the pubs are, and how to find them.

For le Tour, the pubs on the main East-West road through town did most business, because they were on the direct route. The following day, the pubs North of the river did better, as people drove back from viewing the riders on the A59. On the day of Otley town centre bike races, the landlords on Bondgate are happiest, and on Victorian Fayre day the town centre pubs have their day. But on each of these occasions when some pubs are crowded, there were, and are, pubs that are only a few minutes’ walk away with plenty of room and equally nice fare on offer. We hope we’ll be able to spread the demand, and keep everyone happy!



A reminder that if you want to see more top-class cycling as part of the international triathlon event in Leeds, it takes place on Sunday June 12th starting in Roundhay Park. This is another massive sporting coup for Leeds, which takes its place in this year’s international series alongside iconic cities including Abu Dhabi, Capetown, StoBrownleesckholm, Yokohama and Edmonton. Local heroes and international triathlon superstars Jonny and Alistair Brownlee will be there, and it’s another sporting occasion not to be missed [even though it’s not in Otley!] There are even a few places still available for local amateur triathletes to compete in the morning of Sunday the 12th, on exactly the same course that the professionals will be using later in the day. If you want to be part of a unique event, you can apply here.

Or – if you’ve always fancied having a go yourself, but didn’t know how – British Triathlon and Leeds City Council have launched a new ‘Go Tri’ event for local people of all abilities to get a taste of triathlon in Roundhay Park. The event will consist of a fun, mini triathlon course with a 200m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run, and will take place on Saturday 11th June – a day before the world’s best triathletes compete in the city. Entry is just £10 and participants can sign up to the Go Tri event here.



Loads happening in Leeds this month, not just the annual Leeds beer festival at Pudsey Civic Hall [see details below]. There are the usual social events and pub visits [though none in or near Otley this month]; tap takeovers; and book signings. Time’s running out for CAMRA members to vote for the most improved pub, or nominate best community pub; best rural pub; best club; and pub of the season. Voting for pub of the year is open until Tuesday the 3rd of May. If you want to find out more, check out the CAMRA Leeds website [or just join CAMRA!]



In case anybody missed it –



Starts this ThuLEEDSBEERFEST 2016rsday, the 17th, and goes on until Saturday the 19th. As well as the usual 150+ real ales and 50+ bottled beers from Estonia to Japan, this year there’s a special theme – the 200th anniversary of the Leeds-Liverpool canal. So many of the available beers will be brewed specially with an 1816 style! If you’ve never visited this, or perhaps any, beer festival, why not give it a try? It’s completely free to CAMRA members, except for the Friday evening session, after 5pm. [So if you want to hear Summercross play, you’ll have to pay!]



Finally confirmed last week – everything is now go for the battle. Watch out for more news.



The Royalty currently has a position available for a full time chef with fresh food experience. Please e-mail all CV’s to:

The Otley Tap House have vacancies for part-time bar staff. CV to them at 66, Boroughgate, Otley LS21 1AE, or email to, or even phone 01943 466755 or 07940580342

Whitakers Looking for bar staff as and when required! Must be flexible for evenings and weekends opportunity for more hours as business grows



As I’ve said before [probably ad nauseam, sorry!] Do keep checking individual pubs’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, and their websites [and ours!] There are so many regular quizzes, beer promotions, carveries, pool or darts days, snack offers and a thousand (?) other things that go on in Otley, that you should never be at a loss for some pub activity or other, every single day of the week. Every now and again I’ll mention some of them, but generally I’ll just concentrate on the ‘special events’ Here are just some activities coming up.


Fri 25/03 @18:30, it’s Marvel vs DC night – fancy dress definitely encouraged! See Facebook for details.


It’s Spring! And if you’ve got a USP like this garden on the right, why not flaunt it?


Sat 19/03 – Frank Bough’s Cardigan

Tue 22/03 – Dave Board Rockabilly

Sat 26/03 – Street Legal

Tue 29/03

Sun 04/04 – We Ghosts

Tue 06/04 – TBC

Sat 09/04 – Motor City Blues


Thur 17/03 – St Patrick’s Day celebration. On St Patrick’s Day, of course!


Hey cycling fans! We’ll be showing the Spring Classics complete with special offers and everything you need to watch the races in comfort and luxury. You won’t even miss a moment, with your drinks brought right to your table.

The races we’re screening are:
– Milan – San Remo (Sat 19th March)
– Ghent – Wevelgem (Sun 27th March)
– Tour of Flanders (Sun 3rd April)
– Paris – Roubaix (Sun 10th April)
– Amstel Gold Race (Sun 17th April)
– Liège – Bastogne – Liège (Sun 24th April)


Thurs 17/03 – Quiz night. With it being Paddys night, there’s £1 off Draught Guinness and 50p off any Guinness Bottles, Irish Stew free to all and Prize for the winning team.


Usual great line-up of live music, and multiple big screen sports.

Fri 18/03 – 7guinness calories0s/80s charity disco for 2 fantastic causes.

Sat 19/03 – Classic Soul/R&B from Ben Loy

Sat 26/03 – Angel May


Thur 17/03 – St Paddys day Thursday!! Come celebrate with our draught Guinness only £3 a pint!!! And black velvet for only £2.95!


Mon 21/03 – We welcome Otley Board Gamers a great social group

Mon 21/03 – Community First Responders meeting, who are looking for more volunteers.


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


As ever, I might have missed things or misrepresented the facts, for which I apologise.  Thanks to all those pub landlords and staff who gave me their time and information – and remember, the more you give me, the more I can tell potential customers about!

If you no longer want to receive these newsletters and any other correspondence from Otley Pub Club, just email the return address. On the other hand, if you stop receiving our newsletters but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to , or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!



Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

14 March 2016


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