May ’22 Newsletter

Welcome to the May edition of the Otley Pub Club newsletter. And a special welcome to our new subscribers.

Looks like Spring had a false start weather-wise. After a brief period of T-shirts and shorts and outside libations, it’s back indoors with fleeces and boots, searching out the fires! Ah well, lots going on around town to keep us busy waiting for the sun to re-appear!

Hopefully you caught our Social Media postings regarding the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pub re-naming project. The idea is to have you, the great pub-going community of Otley (and beyond!) to come up with a single name, which we will adorn all our pubs with for the duration of the festivities – you know June 2nd to 5th. Well, heavy voting has taken place and your OPC committee will be announcing the winning entry soon. Thanks to all that took part.  There were some great ideas – some unprintable (!), but mostly done in good humour and respectfulness!

We’ve got the usual categories of Otley Events, Pub News, Pub Events and our “And Finally” piece – which over the months has been a miscellany of topics. We have decided to introduce a new feature starting this month which will showpiece Pub of the Month – see below. Here we go….


Otley Pub Walkers is an informal walking group, formed by people who enjoyed the Otley Pub Club ‘4 pubs walk’ in the 2021 Otley Walking Festival, and thought it would be a good idea to keep pub walking events going all year round!

Otley Pub Walkers don’t charge for any of their events, and they are open to all comers. Having been Covid-thwarted for the Easter Bonnet parade, the next planned walk around town will be “A Summer of Love” stroll around a couple of pubs date in June tbc.

You can find out more about this and any of their other events on their social media. ; ; and . Or if you’d like them to let you know directly whenever they’re planning another event, you can contact them at

Otley Live 2022
Plans well under way for what promises to be another excellent event this year. Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July 2022 – A whole weekend of live music in Otley. Currently 10 Venues and 50+ bands/artists. Be sure to block the weekend off in your diary and watch out for more details on their Facebook page:

It was a fantastic event last year. Give them a follow to keep in touch with acts, venues, times etc.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022

As above, the naming vote has taken place and we are examining the hundreds of entries. Winner to be announced soon.

Otley Carnival 18th June 2022 – 40th Anniversary year!

Not long now. Although not directly involved, we at OPC appreciate the benefits this brings to the town by way of increased footfall and obvious knock-on for the town’s retail and hospitality businesses and we are committed to supporting the Carnival by way of advertising and generally spreading the word. The Carnival Committee is formed, and plans are well under way.

Stall holders and artisans are being asked to book your stall now by emailing To confirm, the date is Saturday 18th June 1pm to 5pm from £25 per stall.

Also, if you want to be involved in the parade email

The new committee would like to express their gratitude to the outgoing Committee for all their help and guidance.

However, the new Carnival Committee are in desperate need of funds to keep this FREE event running – many people seem to think the Carnival Fairy turns up every year with a pocket full of cash – THIS IS NOT THE CASE – Nor do Leeds City Council contribute – the event can only go ahead through donations, stall-holders, collections etc. With that in mind, they have set up a Just Giving page to raise the necessary funds. Only a slow take-up at the minute, but we’re sure the wonderful Otley (and surrounding) community will step forward. Just the price of a pint or a coffee will help tremendously. Here’s the link:

Thank You

Otley Pride 2022

Despite the main event being postponed, there is great news is that the baton has been picked up this year by Tapas & Tunes. They are very proud to announce that they’re organising, running & hosting “OTLEY PRIDE 2022” in conjunction with The Rookery, Otley .. Saturday August 13th 2022

Drag Race, Comedy, Live Music, Djs, tributes & MUCH MUCH MORE !!!

Keep ‘em peeled for details & schedules in the coming weeks

Otley Victorian Fayre 2022

Yet more great news. The Victorian Fayre returns on Sunday 4th December 2022. Always a great day. Be sure to put the date in your diary!

More Dates for your diary:

Otley Show Saturday 21st May 2022

Otley Walking Festival 25thJune to 3rd July 2022

The extensive programme is out now. Check it out on-line here: , or you can pick a programme up in many pubs plus the Library, The Core, Bookshop on the Square, Otley Courthouse.

Check out the walks and remember some walks get very popular and need pre-booking:

Otley Folk Club and Festival 2022

The Otley Folk Club meet every Weds evening upstairs in the Black Horse. Singers’ nights run on alternate weeks. All welcome to participate or just listen!

And also, the fantastic Otley Folk Festival is back on the weekend of 16th-18th September. Always a great event for the town. Expect the usual concerts, street entertainment, pub sessions and sing arounds. Watch out on social media for programme of events, acts and venues to be listed shortly.


Otley’s latest freehouse – the Cross Pipes!

Ian (Wellington) of the Cross Pipes is celebrating having finally bought the freehold of the pub from Admiral Taverns, meaning that he now is the actual owner of the pub (not just the tenant) and can buy his beer and all other products free from the restraints and marked up prices of ‘the tie’ (to an  owning company)

To briefly explain, many pubs are owned by large ‘pubcos’ (e.g. Enterprise/Stonegate, Heineken/Star, Admiral etc) who operate a tied model, which means that the tenant has to buy beer and other product for much more than the normal brewer/wholesale prices, as well as paying rent (and often other costs). Some of these pubcos don’t even brew beer, so they are marking up beer they don’t even brew (unlike brewers who operate a tied model). This favours big national brands and not local independent breweries, as well as often making it difficult for the publican (the tenant) to make a living. Now Ian is free to buy his beer and all products and services from wherever he chooses. We wish Ian well and look forward to seeing/drinking directly sourced beers! 

Pub operating models

A bit of additional information on ‘the tie’ as operated by the large pubcos, it is worth understanding the different types of pub operating model. Often people think that the pub ‘landlord’ or ‘landlady’ (to use the traditional terms!) own a pub, whereas in many cases that’s not the case and the person in charge is a tenant/lessee or a manager.

Pubs generally operate as:

  • A tenanted/leased pub – where the tenant/lessee owns the tenancy or lease, but a pubco, brewery or another owner actually owns the building. The tenant/lessee pays rent and all bills, plus if tied, has to buy beer/product from the pubcos/brewery (at a much higher cost than free-of-tie prices). The tenant/lessee is the person who then employs staff, including any chefs and pays their wages. The tenant/lessee does have rights and cannot be ‘sacked’ like a manager (and can also sell on the tenancy/lease) but alas sometimes pub owners/pubcos find ways to push tenants out, including unreasonable terms/prices.  
  • A managed pub – where the pub operator employs a manager (on a salary/wage, sometimes with a performance-based element). The company then makes the overall decisions about stocking, pricing, ‘offering’ etc, but often managers have some discretion. Many managed pubs will be owned by companies, including large chains, as well as small independent chains, including small breweries, but some are owned by a commercial landlord then rented by the pub operating company. The manager is likely to interview/appoint staff, but they are then paid directly by the pub operating company.      
  • A freeholder owned and operated freehouse – this is where the person or people who actually own the building (the freehold) also operate the pub themselves and are therefore free to buy all products and services direct from and wherever they choose. 
  • A rented freehouse – where the person operating the pub doesn’t own it so pays rent to the pub owner, but can buy all products and services direct from wherever they choose. 

We have all of these in Otley!


Bay Horse
Despite the scaffolding, business as usual.
New, dominoes night every Wednesday from 7.30pm. Includes a free supper. Watch out for the announcement of a Poker night Mondays – dates and times tbc.
They’ve been doing some great charity work as always – this time for the Hug-on-a-Tray girls. Raffles, hampers etc – great stuff!

Opening hours:
Mon & Tues: 4pm to 11pm
Weds & Thurs: Midday to 11pm
Fri & Sat: Midday to “Late”
Sun: Midday to 11pm

And don’t forget the Bay Horse Courtyard Bazaar on the last Sunday of the month to coincide with the Farmers’ Market

Black Bull
Karaoke & Disco Nights every Friday and Saturday 8pm til midnight with DJ Fozzie.
Drinks offers ongoing:
House Doubles £3.50 with a “dash”, £4.50 with Premium Mixer
Double up on Premium Spirits for just £1.50 extra
Mon-Fri Happy Hour 3pm to 5pm 50p off selected drinks

Black Horse
Now offering “All Day Breakfasts” on Saturdays and Sundays (vegan and veggie options available)
Great food menu available here
And don’t forget the lovely, refurbished rooms
Big Quiz 1st Weds of the month at 8pm. Max 6 per team. Entry £1 per person. £30 bar tab for winners.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thurs: midday to 11pm
Fri & Sat: midday to 1am
Sun: 11.30am – 11pm

Also, at the BH:
“Fancy trying a new hobby? Intrigued to try Life Drawing? Then come along to the weekly #drinkanddraw at the Black Horse. Every Thursday 7-9pm Entry from 6.30pm. £7 a session. Bring your own materials. All abilities welcome!”

Also, also, Get Booking! The Queen’s Jubilee Afternoon Tea 2nd to 5th June 2022 @ £12p per person – bookings only.

Bowling Green
Enjoying the new extension? Looking great inside and out. And don’t forget to spend your CAMRA vouchers!

Cross Pipes (Otley’s newest Freehouse!)
To celebrate the new freedom, all products are permanently reduced in price:
Carling, Coors, Strongbow, John Smiths £3/pint Guinness £3.50/pt
All single (25ml) spirits & mixers (Coca Cola, lemonade, ginger beer, fresh juices, soda) £2.50. Double up (50ml) +£2.00
Choose from a wonderful range of premium gins, vodkas, whiskeys & rums
*Grey Goose Vodka – single (25ml) £3.50 – double (50ml) £6.50
All shots & Jaeger Bombs £2.50, buy 4 get 1 free

Message from Ian:
“Thank you to all our friends, family, regulars and customers who supported us over the years. We couldn’t have done it without you.
With love, Ian & Samuel Wellington”

Now open 7 days for food and drink – Yet again achieving top marks from a recent Cask Marque Audit – congrats!

Monday to Saturday 11.30am til 10.30pm (Food – Midday to 8.45pm)
Sunday 11.30am til 7.30pm (Food – Midday to 6pm)

Steak & Wine Days – all day Weds & Thurs. 2 x rump steak dinner with a bottle of house wine only £30. Saving £16.85
NEW SATURDAY OFFER, any 2 1/2lb beef burgers from the menu and 4 bottles of beer £30. Saving £9.90
FISH N FIZZ FRIDAY OFFER, 2 x fish n chips and a bottle of Prosecco only £30. Saving £12.85 Or, just a bottle of Prosecco? £13.95 all day Friday.
Call to book on 01943 514886

Groove Pad
We are taking part in “The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz” at Groove Pad Otley on the 11th May. It’s all for the charity “Shelter”
We are charging £2 per player for the quiz and having some additional fundraising games. All proceeds go to the charity. £20 Groove Pad voucher to the winning team.
The quiz starts at 8.30pm.

Our normal Quiz, which is free to enter, and has a prize of a £20 voucher will restart the following week.

Turntable Tuesdays for your classic vinyl listening.

Weds Quiz nights at 8.30pm to 10.30pm.
“Roll up roll up! All you music geeks and rock n’ roll freaks get you brains in gear and get over here! It’s the Groove Pad Wednesday Quiz Night!!” The top prize is a £20 voucher that you can use at Groove Pad to buy vinyl, beers, spirits and other assorted goodies!”

New Hours from March 9th:
Monday: 4pm – 10pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday & Thursday: 4pm – “Late”
Friday & Saturday: Midday – Midnight
Sunday: Midday – “Late”

Horse and Farrier
Food now on 7 days a week. And don’t forget the fantastic rooms!
Monday and Tuesday will be a smaller menu and full menu run for the rest of the week with a delicious Roast on Sunday.

Bar Hours:
Mon to Weds:  Midday – 10pm
Thurs to Sat: Midday – 11pm
Sunday: Midday – 10:30pm

Food times:
Mon – Thurs: Midday – 8pm
Fri & Sat: Midday – 9pm
Sun: Midday – 6pm

Open Mic night every Thursday at 8pm led by local musician, gig organiser and brewer Paul Briscoe. Everyone is welcome, either to perform or just to sit, drink and listen.

Live music continues every Tuesday and Saturday.
Plus, first Sunday afternoon of the month = acoustic sessions from 3pm 6pm
Keep your eyes on their social media as there may be last minute alterations to the booked acts:

And of course, the legendary fire!
Open from midday to 11pm every day

Another legendary fire! But still limited to weekend openings:
Fridays 16:00 – 01:00 (Open mic nights from 8.30)
Saturdays 14:00 – 01:00 (Music from 9pm)
Sundays 16:00 – 00:30.

Remember the Trad Irish music sessions are also on the 1st Sunday of the month from around 2pm. Absolutely fantastic afternoon of music – if you like fiddle, bodhran, banjo, etc

North Bar
Open from midday every day and closes at 11pm, except for Friday and Saturday (midnight) and Sunday (10pm)

Old Cock
Another legendary fire (ok, wood burning stove!) Great drink selections. Usually post daily on Fbook with changing beer options. Give them a follow:

Opening hours: 11am to 11pm

Red Lion
Under new management. Welcome to Otley folks!

Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Saturday: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:30am – 8:00pm

Rookery Bar & Venue
After the huge success of their first Comedy Night, more dates have been announced:
Tickets for the next two nights are £10 (+bf) & available below
Saturday May 7th…/the-rookery-comedy-night…
Saturday June 4th…/the-rookery-comedy-night…
Book early to avoid disappointment – it’s bound to sell-out….again!

Rose & Crown
Great Sunday lunches plus full lunch menu available all week – call Wayne on 01943 850180 or why not pop in for a look!
Keep an eye on their Facebook page:

New Al Fresco area coming soon. Work has begun on a new outdoor seating area.
Great offer from up t’hill:
2 Meals & A Bottle of Wine – £34.95 All Day, Monday to Friday. Enjoy 2 new choices from our new menu and any bottle of wine.
Yes, a lovely new menu including extensive new gluten free options

Opening Times:
Monday to Saturday: Midday to 7pm
Sunday: Midday to 6pm
Last bookings 15mins before closing time
Book your table now

Shadow Brewing
A great and interesting initiative from Ian at Shadow:
Our good friend Ian Shutt has launched “Tap Room Talks” – evenings geared to offering some company and solace to lonely people or singles who just want a chat. Alternate Wednesdays (8pm to 10pm) will be for men and women. For the ladies’ evenings, Kate is kindly hosting, so if you’re in need of some company, want to get something off your chest or just a change of scene, feel free to pop down.

Keep an eye on their Facebook page for confirmations:

Read the full Leeds Live article here:

Other than the Tap Room Talks, regular hours are: Fri & Sat 6-10pm

Tap House
Ale Club Midday to 5pm Mon to Thurs. All pints of cask ale are £2.80
Fabulous food and drink offer every Monday from midday to 9:30 pm. Any burger from the Otley Burger Co. with fries and a drink for £8.95.
Quiz Night every Tues at 8.15pm (incl Play your cards right)
1st Place – £50 Otley Burger Co Voucher
2nd Place – £20 Bar Tab
3rd Place – £15 O’Fresh Voucher
Picture Round – £10 O’Deli Voucher

Beware of older Twitter accounts for Tap House. The correct one is @OtleyTaps1 aka The Otley Taps. Older accounts are still out there. You might want to update your Twitter “Follows”. The old ones are @OtleyTap and @OtleyTapHouse – cheers!

All shots £2.50!!!
New cask ales regularly – check out for what’s on today

A couple of changes taking place at the Tav. First, they will be moving away from having a DJ every week and will be bringing in more live bands and solo vocalists. Second, they are serving food daily since the beginning of February. They have a new chef, so keep an eye out for the menu.
They also have free pool every Tuesday, from opening time till closing! Pizzas from 5.30pm starting at £7.50
Wednesday Quiz Night including the Otley Parmo £10 each including toppings and sides. Starts 5.30pm
Great drink offers – Happy Hour(s) – Mon to Fri 4pm to 7pm – 50p off beers making John Smiths £2.30 and cask ales less than £2.00
Check out events on their Facebook site:

Whitakers Arms
New, updated menu – the Steak Pie is amazing!! Home cooked food served daily 12pm-4pm (Closed all day Wednesdays)
Thursday 7.30pm (note 30mins earlier!) Quiz Night with Picture Round, General Knowledge & Music Round – £1 per person to enter & the winning team takes the Pot. Complimentary sandwiches during the interval – brilliant!

Opening hours:
Mon – Thurs: Midday to 9pm (Closed Weds)
Fri & Sat: Midday to 11pm
Sun: Midday to 6pm

Happy hour(s) – Mon to Fri 4pm to 7pm 50p off selected pints and £1 off bottles of wine – Great stuff!
Live music, plus regular karaoke/DJ nights. Keep your eyes peeled to their Facebook page:

White Swan
Watch Social Media for upcoming live acoustic sessions.
Quiz on the first Wednesday of every month, starting at 7:30pm, with Chase the Ace and Higher or Lower, £1 per person entry, with cash prizes to be won.

New food menu has launched! Kitchen open:
Friday 4-9pm
Saturday 1-9pm
Sunday 12-6pm – menu looks great!

Check it out on their Facebook site above.

Yew Tree
Coming soon is a monthly Kids Disco and there are regular DJ + Karaoke nights for the grown ups! – watch the Facebook site for more details!

The Yew Tree are massive dog lovers, and now have a new ‘doggy carvery’ every Sunday from midday to 4pm. When you eat, your best friend can eat alongside you!!! Just £1.50 per dog for meat scraps, healthy veggies and a little gravy! (All proceeds donated to Moorview Rescue).

Seniors’ lunch deal every Thursday. Main course and a drink for just £4.95. Cottage pie, scampi, chilli, lasagne plus lots more AND a selected hot or cold drink. Served Midday to 2pm

Sunday night quiz – great prizes!

But here’s a recurring plea to all the landlords in town – please drop us a line to if there’s something you want us to put in the newsletter! Although we try to share all your social media posts, we don’t sit reading Facebook and Twitter all day every day and scanning them all every month when we’re producing the news for our 700 readers takes hours. Worse than that, some of the media – even on websites – might be out of date, but we have no real way of knowing, so we might be giving out completely wrong information!
Also please note that the offers and prices are correct to the best of our knowledge. Please check with the venue whilst ordering. OPC cannot be responsible for any discrepancies.

AND FINALLY….PUB/BAR of the Month. This month:


I know the word ‘unique’ does get over-used, and The Rookery does have a number of facets that are shared by other bars in town, but it’s the combination – and some extras – that make it one of a kind.

For a start, it seems to have been built with components in the wrong places! Wall tiles on the ceiling; corrugated roof sheets [from Liverpool] on the walls; and wooden timbers [from London] on the floor of the bar and elsewhere. Then there are the unisex toilets – although 1 cubicle is allocated male, 2 are allocated female, and 2 are for anyone, so whoever’s queuing gets to grab them! And finally there’s the name and where it comes from. It’s the name of an album by Chris Helme from The Seahorses, who has performed upstairs at the bar; it was inspired by the birds in a tree in landlord Greg Silverwood’s back garden; and its rough industrial chic interior give a nod to several slum areas of London from the 17th to the 19th century that were called ‘rookeries’!

Greg has worked in and around Otley in the licensed trade off and on for over 30 years, from working in the kitchens to running his own bars at Rocca and now The Rookery, so he knows his potential customers. Rocca ran from 2008 to 2017, again providing a different venue in town at that time that attracted a mainly young crowd – many of whom now frequent The Rookery a decade later along with others aged from 18 to 80. The bar carries a large spirit range, which is their first priority along with cocktails. Next comes keg beers, lagers and ciders, and finally cask ale – of which there is always at least one, [Black Sheep Refresher when I visited].

There is a large upstairs function room with a bar that offers the same drinks as downstairs [apart from cask ale] that can be used for live music or comedy nights [and our alcohol-free beer tasting event!] It can also be hired for private parties – which are free if enough people are involved in buying drinks at the bar, and at which you can bring your own food! I also found out purely by accident that there is a rumour of a horror/cult film club starting, so watch out for that!

One final point – there is a stylish silhouette of a rook in a top hat as the iconic representative image of the bar, but if you want to find out where it came from, what its name is and why, you’ll have to call in for a drink and ask!

Otley Pub Club meet up in a different pub in Otley on the first Thursday of every month to discuss anything and everything happening in Otley and in its pubs, and everybody is welcome to join us. We start at about 7pm to discuss any semi-formal stuff, then finish with that at 8pm and spend the rest of the evening chatting about whatever comes up. We’ll usually visit 3 pubs during the evening

So, if you fancy perhaps seeing the inside of a pub that you’ve never been in; or you’ve got a burning issue about Otley’s pubs that you’ve been dying to share; or maybe if you just fancy a drink and a chat and all your mates are doing something else; check out the times below for our next meeting and you can join us at any time in any of the pubs along the way.

We’ll be in these pubs and at least one of us will be wearing something black with an obvious Otley Pub Club logo on it so we’re recognisable!

Next Social: Thursday 5th May 2022. Our first stop for the general social is at the Junction from around 8pm, then a stumble to the Old Cock (from 8.45pm) and our final port of call for the evening will be the Black Horse from 9.30pm

Well folks, that’s it for this month. Please remember, if you want to get in touch email to, or why not come along to one of our monthly socials…

Cheers for now. See you all out and about in our #FamousPubTown

The OPC Committee

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Twitter: @OtleyPubClub

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