(What’s on in the pubs up to Father’s Day, do I hear you ask? Go right to the end to find out!)

In last month’s introduction I said the weather was supposed to pick up, and it certainly didn’t let us down! I’ve been out walking all over the countryside around here, as well as having a quick trip up Pen-y-Ghent, over the past month and I just feel lucky that my time is my own so I can do that whenever I like. For those of you whose only opportunities to get out there are at weekends or Bank Holidays, I was so pleased that the weather was unbeatable over the holiday weekend.  I also talked about daffodils and crocuses last month and finished by saying ‘not to mention Spring lambs’. Yes, I know it’s a cliché, but I will never, ever tire of seeing them as I go out walking at this time of year. 

So I had to share with you a couple that I met while I was out! Cute posers, or what?



We launched our ‘Premier’ card at the beer tasting event on May the 3rd and sold the first 16 memberships that night! The card costs a mere £10, and we already have offers from four pubs in town that mean you could soon easily save more than that. The cards are currently only on sale at The Curious Hop in Newmarket in Otley, but we hope they’ll soon be available online from our website as well. This year’s cards don’t expire until the end of July 2019 either, so you get a couple of extra months for your money if you buy now! Currently benefits are available at STEW & OYSTER, THE BLACK HORSE HOTEL, THE YEW TREE and THE FLEECE. Full details are included with the individual pub updates at the end of this newsletter. When you use the card, could you please say you are a cardholder before ordering, and confirm the savings on offer. This is something completely new both for us and for the pubs, so we want to make sure we get it right without any confusion or mistakes. As you know, staff turnover in the hospitality industry can be huge, and sometimes new personnel don’t know every offer that might be available.



Yorkshire is famous for many things, not least its scenery, warm welcome, great food and good pubs. Now, Welcome to Yorkshire, in association with the Yorkshire Post, is giving you the chance to vote for your favourite Yorkshire pub. Whether it’s a traditional country pub, a historic tavern, or a city centre pub – they want to know. So have your say and tell them why your local should win their Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub 2018 award. Your votes will help decide a top 30 list of pubs which will feature in their 2018 Ale Trail. You can vote through their website [but I obviously can’t, as we support all our great pubs equally – without fear or favour!!]
Then a shortlist from the first round of votes will go through to the second round of voting where they will stand a chance of becoming Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub for 2018. The first round of voting closes this week on 17th May and the pubs that make it through to the second round of voting will be announced through the Welcome To Yorkshire Twitter account so make sure you get your votes in soon! The winning pub and runners up will be announced at the Welcome to Yorkshire stand at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show.



If you’re interested in these BBC awards [and in a farming area like Wharfedale, there is bound to be some interest] you might like to listen to the Food Programme at [you’ll probably need to login to BBC iPlayer]. Of particular interest to me was the discussion starting at 20 minutes into the programme about the three shortlisted drinks producers. Two of these were breweries, and their signature beer offers are completely different from each other. The first is Burning Sky brewery, whose Saison à la Provision is 6.5%, and the second is Big Drop Brew Co. who specialise in very low alcohol beers that are all below 0.5% [BTW – the last section of that URL is not associated with me in any way!]



Well, it came – and then it went. Then it came back again later that day – and it went again. But still it wasn’t done – it came back again two days later! I personally thought the atmosphere was weird early on Friday morning in town. There were very few people out shopping [and there was of course no street market] and it felt as though it was a Saturday, so it was difficult to remember that those of us not in the first flush of youth were either at work or at school! But about half an hour before the women’s race was expected, the pavements started to fill up, and the atmosphere changed. Children from St Joseph’s were standing on the corner of Manor Square singing, and when the pre-race cars and bikes came through with horns and sirens, the excitement started to build.

By the time the men came through later in the day, more people had managed to escape from work and join those already sitting outside pubs on the route, and there was a bit more of a holiday atmosphere – which was repeated on Sunday when they came back in the opposite direction! Fortunately the weather was as good as it could possibly be for an early May Bank Holiday, which meant the Otley crowds once again got several mentions on TV and the town [together with Ilkley – pah!] was called the heartland of Yorkshire cycling. One aspect of the day that I really liked, was the way most people stayed at the roadside until the very last rider came through – and shouted even more encouragement to all the ‘stragglers’ than they did to the leaders and the peloton!

I know that when a major event like this comes through the town it splits local opinion on a whole spectrum between the ‘love its’ and the ‘loathe its’. You probably love it if – you don’t have to be at work; you’re a cycling fan; you love seeing crowds of visitors and tourists come to town; or you just love seeing Otley shown off at its best on TV across the world. I guess you hate it if – You have to get to an urgent appointment and the roads are closed; you’re a market stallholder who’s losing business; you just want to get to and from work or get your shopping done; or you just don’t like the crowds and noise and general disruption to ‘normal’ life. So everyone w


ill be keeping their fingers crossed for completely different reasons when the routes of the World Cycling Championships in September 2019 are announced; when we hear whether there will be more days of the TdY next year [including a possible time trial stage]; and when the Spanish Grand Tour – La Vuelta – decides whether or not to start in Yorkshire in the years to come!

If you want to know which side of the argument I’m on, the photos above taken from the TV coverage are of me behind a Yorkshire flag outside The Old Grammar School when the women came through! Loving it and shouting my (some would say big) head off! [Shame the crowd obliterated the Chippendale 300 banner on the fence in front of TC’s statue.]



You might remember that last month I mentioned the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Association, who can help agricultural workers in financial hardship by providing grants for immediate domestic and household expenses. This month I found out that there is an organisation that can help workers in the hospitality sector in a similar way. Farmers have had a very rough winter and, as you well know from reading these newsletters, pubs have had a hard time now for years!

Hospitality Action offers vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within the entire hospitality sector in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.

They support people…

  • Suffering from life altering illnesses
  • Experiencing poverty, bereavement and domestic violence
  • Retired from the industry who may be isolated

The money they raise goes towards…

  • Grants for essential items including food, equipment and central heating
  • Supporting our often isolated and lonely retired hospitality workers
  • Running educational seminars advising catering students of the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse

You can find out more about what they do, and what services they offer, on their website.



I find it absolutely unbelievable how quickly the weeks pass, and how the next ‘big thing’ is suddenly happening in Otley. The Summer really kicks off with the Otley Show [although some years it really feels a lot more like the tail-end of Winter than of Spring!] The oldest one-day agricultural show in the country will be back for the 209th time next Saturday, the 19th of May. Otley Show has grown to become one of the most important agricultural shows in the North for livestock and handicraft exhibitors to compete in, including a wide range of competitions for children. It is a great day out for all the family with many attractions and events planned throughout the day. It’s open from 8.00am until 7.30pm at The Showground, Bridge End, Otley, LS21 2AA. [And although entries for Rabbits closed on 7th May, dog entries will be taken on the day of the show!] Loads more interesting information about the Show, its history and what’s on this year at



Next on the list of events and celebrations this month is the month-long series of events in town to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of ‘Otley’s Famous Son’ Thomas Chippendale. He was the finest cabinet-maker of his [and probably any other] generation, and despite the Southern Glitterati claiming for some time that he came from Gloucestershire, it’s now accepted that Otley was indeed his home town. [BTW – Did you also see the bit of ‘land art’ that I helped to paint next to the showground over the river, when it appeared on TV as the tours passed through?]

SATURDAY JUNE 2ND The celebrations kick off with a birthday party in the old Prince Henry’s Grammar School building, now the Stew & Oyster pub, which still stands in the same location where Thomas is believed to have studied. There will be Chippend’Ale – a traditional draft ale from local Otley brewer Paul Briscoe as a tribute to the great man and his furniture. [Check out the mahogany colour!] There’ll also be a Chippendale stew, only available on the day, period folk music, an 18th century quiz and much more. [Maybe even ‘birthday cake’!] Come and enjoy a light-hearted celebration in honour of Chippendale’s birth. [We couldn’t find a record of his actual birth date, so this is a guess, from the date of his christening!]

TUESDAY JUNE 5TH On the actual date of Chippendale’s baptism, recorded in Otley All Saints Church register’ there will be a programme of 18th century ‘Musick for a Summer Evening’, performed by local artists in the church itself.

THURSDAY JUNE 14TH There will be an evening of antiques valuation inspired by the popular BBC TV programme, again in All Saints Church. Called ‘Junk or Jewel – What’s in your Attic?’ it invites you to dig out your heirlooms for a free valuation by Hartley’s Auctioneers and Valuers of Ilkley.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY JUNE 22ND AND 23RD Otley Courthouse will host a couple of expert lectures about Chippendale and his work from Dr Adam Bowett and James Lomax of the Chippendale Society on Friday evening. On Saturday evening there will be a talk by Jack Metcalfe, who is one of the leading experts in reproduction Chippendale furniture. It will focus on the tools, techniques and timbers used by Chippendale and his craft workshop. Earlier in the day, there will be a chance for the whole family to be involved, watching 3D models of Chippendale furniture being made, viewing the exhibition of work produced by local schoolchildren, inspired by the work of Chippendale; and maybe looking out for the special Chippendale chocolate coins made by local chocolatiers at Patisserie Viennoise.

THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE OF JUNE There is still more! An exhibition about Chippendale’s life all month in All Saints Church; An exhibition of photographs of Chippendale furniture upstairs in Stew & Oyster – which are all available to purchase; a specially commissioned  flower bed in tribute to Chippendale in Wharfemeadows Park; a self-guided walking map showing locations associated with Chippendale’s early life, and buildings from the time that are still in town; guided walks in Otley Walking Festival; a float in the carnival; 18th century dances from Wayzgoose Border Morris troupe; and more! There really will be something for everyone to enjoy, and our thanks go to Lawrence Ross from Otley Town Partnership and all his team for making it happen. Let’s show the nation, and the world once again that Otley not only knows how to put on a show, but also how to enjoy itself! Details of all the events taking place during June are on the Visit Otley website. There is also a free exhibition of Chippendale furniture at Leeds City Museum, but only until Saturday, June 9th. It’s really worth visiting if you can make it before then.



Right in the middle of the next month of celebrations comes the Carnival. This year, as well as the usual involvement from the town’s schoolchildren, the dance and music troupes and the entertainment on the showground at the end, there will be two other things to look out for. The Chippendale float mentioned above will contain members of Otley Town Council dressed in 18th century period costume. Don’t forget that town councillors in Chippendale’s time will have been treated with the ultimate decorum and respect – so I hope you will do the same for our current incumbents! There will also be our own Otley Pub Club contribution. Thanks originally to David Stephan at The Manor House, which is a Thwaites pub, we have arranged for the Thwaites dray and shire horses to take part in the parade down to the showground. [No following the parade with a bucket and shovel for the benefit of your garden, please!]




Don’t forget dad’s day on Sunday June 17th! We all agree that mums deserve a treat now and again, and Mother’s Day is rightly seen as a way of rewarding them for all the hard work they put into raising and caring for the family. But dads have needs too! [Yeah, OK, in my case it’s generally for beer, but if you want to stick some food in front of me as well, that’s always welcome!] So why not book yourselves a meal at one of Otley’s pubs, or just go and sit in a beer garden in the sun and enjoy a drink or two. [YES, it will definitely be sunny!] And this year, Otley Pub Club can even help with the cost of events like this – see details of our ‘Premier’ membership card below, which can give you huge savings on food and drink in some of the pubs in town. [and we’ll always be looking to add more!



Following on from our beer tasting masterclass, here’s a really useful set of answers from Wishbone brewery last year about different types of kegs and carbonations methods, as well as why the ‘same’ beer might cost more from a keg than in its traditional cask-conditioned form. Even if you still believe that cask-conditioned [from the wood?] is best, it helps to know your Keykegs from your Ecokegs, and your carbonation from added sugar versus external CO2 added direct to the keg.



There were 20 of us at the beer tasting and food pairing evening organised by our Chairman, Matt Hardin and delivered by expert beer sommelier Annabel Smith from BeerBelle consultancy. If a good beer sommelier is someone who can “communicate information about beer in an engaging and informative way, and inspire non beer drinkers to explore the versatility and diversity of beer”, then it’s no surprise to learn that Annabel was declared the Imbibe personality of the year 2017. Her delivery was informal but informative, detailed but not boring, expansive but understandable. Yet those who attended were able to receive all her wisdom, and to ask questions about anything beer-related for over 2 hours – and all for the measly price of £5, which probably didn’t even cover the cost of the beer they were tasting!

I think everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed it [with apologies to the non-meat eaters who unfortunately missed out on three of the food pairings] and I know I certainly did. Our thanks go not only to Annabel herself, but also to The Horse & Farrier, for the use of the room; the bar staff for putting up with the extra work and our sometimes confused requests; and to Market Town Taverns for sponsoring some of the beers. I have to tell you that we will never be able to offer such an event at such a low price again, and that those who did manage to attend got a real bargain! Otley Pub Club wanted to use this as a trial event, to test the demand and help us to decide whether to put on similar events in future. I’ll let you know how the discussion goes at the next meeting. [The photo is of Annabel with the audience in the palm of her hands! You can find out more about her and her work on her website.]



BAILDON – Myself and Fitzy [OPC ex-Chairman] braved the walk to the Baildon Beer Festival on Saturday the 5th of May, and it was well worth the trip! The weather was beautiful, Esholt village was crammed with drinkers sitting outside the Woolpack, Bradford Golf Club course was almost as busy, and the woods we passed through were absolutely full of bluebells and early wild garlic. [Interesting mixture of aromas there!] As a bonus, the walk follows one section of The Welcome Way footpath, so it’s extremely well marked and even easier to follow with the aid of TWW book. We sat in the sun outside the Moravian Church Hall, there was an excellent choice of beers, a very friendly atmosphere and even free food – for voluntary contributions. Sadly, I enjoyed the beer just a bit too much and tried to taste too many, so it was fortunate we had a chauffeur coming to pick us up rather  than having to walk the 8 miles back home! I shall certainly be going back next year, and I would recommend it to anyone – especially if you don’t like the big, soulless barn-type atmospheres of some festivals. Just keep reading these newsletters – you know I’ll let you know in advance when it’s going to be on!

HALIFAX, THE THREE PIGEONS – Having learned my lesson from Baildon Beer Festival, I took it a bit easier when I visited Halifax last week. I went to a few pubs in town, but began at a beer festival sponsored by Ossett Brewery, that was being held in the beautifully restored Three Pigeons Pub. Again this was everything a beer festival should be – a good range of well-kept beers in a beautiful pub, served by friendly staff and within walking distance of a railway station. What’s more, they had a very sensible pricing system – every beer was £3 a pint, £1:50 a half or £1 a third. You can’t get much better than that. So, many thanks to Ossett Brewery for that. As they say – “With (it being) spread out over three days, you can see that there is a huge amount of planning goes into each event, but this also gives you a full opportunity to taste what’s on offer, and as well as tasting new beers you might also take a liking to a new pub venue you’ve never visited before. So it’s definitely worth the effort.” And if you’ve never visited The Three Pigeons, you must! My own photos don’t do it justice, and although the Ossett Brewery website shows you a bit of the place, you can only do it justice by seeing it in the flesh!

LEEDS CAMRA – This one’s coming up in a couple of weeks’ time, so you can begin to prepare for it in plenty of time. It’s on from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th of June, this time in the new location of Leeds Beckett University, opp Dry Dock pub (it’s a boat) on Woodhouse Lane. Just a 4 min walk from Merrion Centre and Millennium Square, and 12 mins from the train station. This is the cost: Thu 11-4 Free, 5-11 £3; Fri 11-4 £3, 5-11 £5; Sat 11-11 £5. CAMRA members and students with ID £3 discount. This, as you can imagine, is not one of the smaller festivals on offer, with over 100 cask ales, a large craft beer section and a wide range of continental beers as well. You [obviously] don’t have to be a CAMRA member to go [it’s just cheaper for us – except on Thursday afternoon!] So if you want to try a load of new brews [and remember you can buy them in thirds of a pint] this is the one for you.



Well they only went and did it at Twickenham against Tribute Devon One leaders South Molton – winning the RFU Junior Vase final by 32 points to 21!  Lots of fans followed the team to London on organised coaches, with early morning Tweets before the 11-

o-clock kick-off showing them enjoying a pre-match drink on the way. For those who couldn’t make the trip, the match was shown live on a free to view sports channel in some of the town’s pubs. Despite Otliensians having a healthy lead at half time, it was cut to just 3 points until 10 minutes from time, when the match was settled. As a celebration of the win, The Otley Tavern [who are one of the team’s sponsors] will be welcoming them – and everyone else – to the Tavern on Newmarket at 2pm next Sunday, May 20th. There’ll be beer, there’ll be live music [and there’ll be me] – see you there!



We usually only include here anything special going on over the next month. If a pub’s not mentioned, don’t worry – it [probably!] hasn’t closed, and the regular weekly quiz, open mic or whatever will still be on. We’re constantly updating our website to try to include all those regular events so you can check them out at any time. Information changes all the time, so you can never be 100% sure, but we’ll do our best.



You might have guessed from the sign that’s appeared outside the pub that Ian and Sue are finally heading off for a well-deserved retirement. The number of hours a week they have put into that pub have been phenomenal, and they will be sadly missed – both by their regular midday food customers and their weekend late night crowd. I’ve spoken to the Ei [was Enterprise Inns] Regional Manager about the future of the pub, but of course he couldn’t tell me anything until they are handed back the keys on June the 8th. Sue has often bent my ear about how their sales have suffered – both drink and food – ever since Wetherspoons moved in next door, and I’m sure she and Ian will be glad to be finally rid of the constant stress. I’ll certainly miss them when they’re gone, but we look forward to supporting whoever takes on one of the traditional old pubs of Otley in whatever way we can.



  • Buy one get one free on burgers
  • 2 meals for £12 from the menu
  • OAP specials – 2 courses £5.95, main with soup or ice cream; soup and sandwiches £5:90
  • NB – these food offers are for everyone, NOT OPC card holders


  • Bar now closed all day Mondays.
  • Otley Folk Club upstairs every Wednesday evening.
  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off food (Card holder + 1: Thurs, Fri, Sat 12 – 2:30 and 5 – 8 and Sun 12 – 3. ALSO 10% off any room bookings – especially useful if you have friends or relatives coming to stay in Otley!)


  • Guinness on draft now
  • Sky Sports on 2 screens. All major sports. If your game isn’t on just ask!
  • Regular bottle deals.


  • Lowlands Beer Festival continuing to the end of April, with beers from Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Spring cycling classics going down well on the bigger Tele downstairs.


  • Saturday May 19th Flashback
  • Saturday May 26th Andy’s Garage Band
  • DJ every Friday
  • Quiz every Thursday


  • Sat 2nd of June, Thomas Chippendale’s 300th Birthday Party. Details in Newsletter above.
  • Gin tasting 25 April. 8 gins for £25 snacks included. Check facebook page or call in for details.
  • Remember breakfast is available from 0900
  • Friday is pie day
  • Quiz night Thursday
  • Tuesday morning baby & toddler social
  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off all drinks and food (Card holder + any party up to 6 in total.)


  • Speed Quiz using your own mobile (app downloaded). Note the new day and time – moved to Sunday evenings at 6pm
  • Goodfellows live music now prior to quiz on Sunday from 4pm
  • Wednesdays, free pool
  • Thursdays, Karaoke
  • Full strength Stella now on (still only 4.8%!)
  • Pool league on Wednesdays
  • Thursday afternoon ‘club’ entertainment being re-introduced.


  • Every Thursday night starting on May 31st, a brand new live music night hosted by the renowned Cleve Freckleton with his band “Chunky Butt Funky”


  • Last Thursday every month is Up The Junction open mic/jam night, hosted by Rory Hall. Everyone is welcome to perform, from 8:30pm
  • Don’t forget to check the facebook page regularly [link below] for the latest news on live music, drinks offers and more.


  • The new manager will be introducing new cocktails every week and showcasing a different gin every Friday


  • Ace of Spades Jackpot game every Wednesday at 7:00 PM
  • Quiz Night every Tuesday at 9:00 PM
  • Andy A and Dave V (singer/songwriters) 26 May 8:00 PM
  • Weekend of 25-27 May The New gin menu starts and there are special offers on gin


  • Mondays Board games night
  • Tuesday Quiz. Win beer vouchers
  • Thursday & Friday Pensioners lunch £4.95 inc tea/coffee/draft soft drink.
  • Friday Spend £20 on food get a free bottle of wine
  • Saturday ( 1st of the month) Karaoke
  • Sunday Carvery and another quiz with a beer voucher prize
  • Offer to OPC card holders is 20% off food ( Card holder + 1 and not in conjunction with the Carvery or pensioners lunch)


  • Every Tuesday from 9:00 PM on, there is a folk play along upstairs.
  • Other details on Twitter or Facebook


  • Open mic night 1st Sunday every month
  • Special menu for Father’s Day – book in advance to avoid disappointment!
  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off food ( Card holder + family and not on Sundays or Bank Holidays or in conjunction with any other offer.)


  • Irish Sessions every Sunday from 9:00 PM
  • Open Mic Night every Friday from 8:30 PM
  • Jackson Lake and Matt Sturgess 17/5  from 8:00 PM
  • Peculiar Bloke 19/5 from 9:00 PM
  • Amy Griffiths 24/5 from 8:00 PM
  • Nigel Rae and Tricky One 31/5 from 8:00 PM
  • Steve Chapman-Smith 9/6 from 9:00 PM


  • Now open every Monday through the Summer, with 6 handpulls and over 70 different gins!
  • 26 May Music on the terrace weather permitting artist tbc (said to be Joe Gallagher)
  • 21 June Royal Ascot Ladies Day in the big Marquee. Always popular!
  • Bookings being taken for Father’s Day, Sunday June 17th


  • Celebration of Old Otliensians winning the RFU Junior Vase at Twickenham. With live music in the pub from 14:00 on Sunday May 20th. Come and show them your appreciation of a great success, while having fun [and a beer].
  • Still the only Otley pub to guarantee live music every Friday and Saturday night. Check the facebook page for more!
  • Popular Rock’n’Roll night back on Thursday May 31st at 8pm, local band playing all the hits


FACEBOOK  (We thought it was time we added our own link!)

[JDWetherspoon have closed all individual pub Facebook accounts, so remember any page you see for The Bowling Green will be unofficial.]





















TWITTER (Including us!)

[JDWetherspoon have also closed all individual pub official Twitter accounts]



















AND INSTAGRAM! (With added OPC!)

[JDWetherspoon have also closed all individual pub official Instagram accounts]

Otley Pub Club


Stew and Oyster

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


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 – , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list right away. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary


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