OTLEY PUB CLUB
MAY NEWSLETTER 2017
AS USUAL, I HAVE INCLUDED A NUMBER OF HYPERLINKS IN THE BODY OF THIS NEWSLETTER. AS I’VE SAID IN THE PAST, I CAN NEVER COMPLETELY GUARANTEE THAT ANY LINK WILL WORK, OR THAT IT WILL BE 100% FREE OF SPYWARE, MALWARE OR VIRUSES. ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT I’VE TRIED ALL THE LINKS ON MY PERSONAL COMPUTER TO MAKE SURE THEY WORK, WITH NO ILL EFFECTS. HOWEVER, I UNDERSTAND SOME OF YOU MIGHT BE EXTRA WARY, FOLLOWING THE RECENT RANSOM ATTACKS ON THE NHS AMONGST OTHERS. IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO FOLLOW THE LINKS IT MIGHT LESSEN YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE NEWSLETTER, BUT YOU COULD ALWAYS HOVER OVER THE LINK, COPY THE MAIN WEB ADDRESS INTO YOUR PREFERRED SEARCH ENGINE, AND FIND THE SPECIFIC PAGE THAT WAY IF YOU WISH. STAY SAFE!
IT’S EASTER! MAYDAY! SPRING BANK HOLIDAY!
Wow, this year seems to be flying by already! Otley Show this Saturday; Spring Bank Holiday the weekend after; then we’re into June with the carnival, the walking festival and the town centre bike races. And maybe – just maybe – the boats will be back on the river before the end of the summer, but we’re not banking on the oars being in the rowlocks just yet. The brand new posters showing all Otley’s annual events are up around town; the pub gardens have been full on a couple of reasonably warm and sunny weekends; and now it’s started to rain. Summer’s on the way!
MAKE SURE YOU VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION!!
To vote in the General Election on 8 June, you need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May. You don’t need to register again if you’ve already registered. It takes about 5 minutes online at the GOV.UK website. Don’t think your vote won’t make a difference – when put together, they all do. If this is the first time you’re eligible to vote, it’s even more important to make your voice heard. If you know young people who have never registered, for whatever reason, persuade them as well. We know from the EU referendum just how important numbers can be – make this a truly democratic vote by getting as big a proportion of the eligible public to make their mark. We’ve said we don’t want to be part of Europe, now let’s all say what kind of future we want . . . . . . . OK (apolitical) political message done!
A BEER JOURNEY #5 – SUNNY GULF OF FINLAND Pt 1
Off on my travels again – no wonder I never have time to visit all the pubs in Otley to collect information for the newsletter. This time I spent a couple of days in Tallinn in Estonia, took a ferry over to Helsinki for the weekend, then went back to Tallinn for another couple of days before coming home. But this is not a travel magazine, so I’ll just say I thought Tallinn was wonderful, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a city break for a few days. For a start the airport is only a €5 to €10 taxi ride into town; the old town is especially beautiful; and prices there are reasonable but not really cheap – unlike the ‘Old Thomas Alcohol and Tobacco Shop’ just round the corner from our Airbnb, where virtually every bottle of beer of any size seemed to be €1.10!
I must admit most of the beer I drank was local, pale, and lager-style from the Saku brewery, about 15Km out of Tallinn – and lots of it not in pubs, like the first Saku Originaal I had with a curry in the SPICE RISTORAN at Mündi 4/Pikk 14. Reasonably-priced; good quality food including vegetarian and vegan; great service; tucked away in a cosy basement, but with tables on the street if the temperature allows you to be tempted out! [One of the locals said the ‘winter-ish’ weather was lasting longer than usual, but we had sunny skies and temperatures in the teens most of the time.]
I did visit a couple of places in the Old Town with on-site breweries though. The first was the massive BEER HOUSE on Dunkri, which has a wide range of beers from Pilsner to the dark ‘Dunkles Extra’. Since their website says “The true fans of foamy drink consider Dunkles as the top of the beer brewing masterclass”, that was the one I had to have – and it was all they promised. They do offer a tasting service as well, made up of a quarter-litre of each of 7 different beers! The pub was nowhere near full when we visited during the day, but has massive capacity with large tables and benches everywhere. So when it’s packed with revellers ‘tasting’ 1.75 litres of beer, I imagine it gets quite lively [although the strongest is only 5.3%]. The gents toilets also have very low-level washbasins in the top of barrels, which I just hope are always used for their original purpose when the place gets busy!
The second brewery/bar was the BREWERY OLLEKLUBI back on Pikk. Much more of a traditional sports bar than anything else, with TV screens in all rooms. They do brew a range of 5 beers though – Pilsner, Honey, Wheat, Velvet and Dark. I had the Velvet, which was an imperial double red ale at 4.6% and which was pretty good. The bar was still overfull of chrome pumps though, selling the big brands – Heineken, Stella, Hoegaarden and the rest. From the look of the website [as well as something about the place itself] it looks as though they are targeting the Russian market.
I couldn’t really face another Irish pub abroad, so we didn’t call in at Mad Murphy’s or The Dubliner – but I’m sure they’re very authentic, and they have websites if you want to check them out before visiting. I preferred to check out the supermarkets [SWIDT?] and Old Thomas, and take home beers like Baltika #5 Gold from St Petersburg; Saku Rock; Must Nunn from Karksi in Southern Estonia; and the lovely Virmalised IPA from Pohjala brewery on the outskirts of Tallinn. More soon.
WELL DONE, OWF and POEMS ABOUT PUBS!
Our friends at Otley Word Feast Press must be feeling pretty proud of themselves, after their poetry anthology “Half Moon: Poems About Pubs” was runner-up in a National competition this month. You can see the full list of results of the Saboteur Awards at –
I make no apology for repeating below what their website says about the book, as we’re feeling a bit proud ourselves, for collaborating on the launch of the book last year, and for helping OWF Press to promote it by distributing poems on beermats. If you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, the book is still for sale here on the OWF website, and it makes a great present for anyone you know who likes pubs, beer or poetry, or better still all three!
“Care for a glass of cider that’s been used to scrub a pig? Or perhaps you’ll be celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with a long draught from the West Coast of Ireland? You can do either of these with this collection of poems from some of the best poets writing today. These poems will make you laugh. They’ll make you cry. They’ll make you thirsty. And at least one of them will teach you words for being drunk you’ve never heard before. Real poetry for real pub lovers!”
A FREE PINT IS ALWAYS WELCOME!
Punch Taverns regular free pint offer, running from 12 – 29 May. Heineken, Stella or a bottle of Rekorderlig absolutely free. See website for details.
SMOKING IN BEER GARDENS
The Royal Society for Public Health has set out a manifesto of policy recommendations it believes political parties campaigning for next month’s UK general election should commit to, in order to improve and protect the public’s health. It includes extending the ban on smoking to beer gardens, and minimum unit pricing for alcohol. The first might affect pubs’ custom, as it would presumably cover any outside location adjacent to a pub. [Although if someone just happened to be standing having a fag in the street outside a pub, how could the landlord be held responsible for that? And if you’ve ever tried to get into a hospital doorway where smoking is ‘banned’ in the grounds, you’ll know how difficult such a ban is to police. I’ve seen people on wheelchairs and crutches and even with mobile drips in their arms, smoking right next to the NO SMOKING signs, with nobody able or willing to stop them! Full RSPH ‘manifesto’ is on their website
VEGAN BEER – AND FOOTBALL!
Since they started using a centrifuge to clarify their beer in December 2016, the vast majority of beer produced at Magic Rock is now vegan-friendly. The exception to this is the cask beer that still gets isinglass added upon racking (to satisfy local preference for super clarity) and any beers which contain non-vegan ingredients, for example the use of heather honey in Cross-Pollination. They are just one of the many traditional and craft breweries moving towards more vegetarian- and vegan-friendly brews – and it’s not just a ‘hipster’ lifestyle choice on their part. Like all other businesses, breweries have to make a profit, so they have to know what their customers want, and how much they’re willing to pay for it.
But there is an underlying message about the value that more and more people are putting on the life and welfare of animals. As Dr Who (yes, I’m quoting Dr Who) said a couple of weeks ago “Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you put on a life, an unimportant life, a life without privilege. That’s what defines an age – that’s what defines a species!” And furthermore – “Hungry can look a lot like evil from the wrong end of the cutlery. Do you think your bacon sandwich loves you back?” Just as a local example, when I was collecting information at The Horse and Farrier this week, there were only about half a dozen people in the bar in mid-afternoon. I don’t eat meat, and 3 other [much younger] customers at the bar were discussing with the landlord which beers were vegan. The market might still be small – but it’s growing!
And of course it’s not just beer that’s changing. Our second-favourite pastime is football [OK, I’m ignoring sex, but that doesn’t usually involve meat-eating . . . .OK, just get that image out of your mind right now!] and one of our newest League football clubs in Division 2 is Forest Green Rovers, from Nailsworth in Gloucestershire. Not only is Nailsworth the smallest-ever community to host a football league club [with a population of fewer than 6,000 souls at the 2011 census!], it is also the first football league club to be 100% vegan. That doesn’t mean veganism is enforced on the players outside the ground [how could it be, really?] and veganism isn’t about forcing anyone to do anything – despite the attitude of some of its more forceful proponents! The club became 100% vegan at the end of 2015. No animal products of any description are on sale anywhere in the club. You can’t even get cow’s milk in your tea any more. For a rural farming community that’s quite a bold step. Maybe their supporters, along with those visiting from more urban communities like Accrington, Crewe and Grimsby, will gain a new appreciation of meatless pies.
Finally in this bit, just a couple of extra bits of veggie news.
- It’s currently vegetarian week in the UK – 15 to 21 May. Magic Rock are also having a vegan month, featuring several events at their brewery tap in Huddersfield, which you can find out about on their blog. The brewery is only about 10 minutes’ walk from Huddersfield rail station, so it’s easy to get there on Saturday the 3rd of June for the vegan food and drink festival from midday to 9pm.
- When I was in Tallinn I went to the [Trip Advisor-voted] second best restaurant in town, out of 752. It’s called Vegan Restoran V and is completely vegan – and completely wonderful.
PUB THEATRE IN OTLEY, ANYONE?
This article in The Guardian talks about a possible resurgence of pub theatre – “in tiny function rooms, stuffed with seats and painted slapdash black”. It’s mainly about London, but we’ve got function rooms in Otley pubs – does anybody fancy giving it a go? It was great to see Otley Mummers performing outside The Junction and North Bar Social on May Day. Maybe the next step is to get performances INside the pubs. We’ve thought in the past about having performances of classic plays, or even parts of them, in pub gardens – and with summer coming round again that’s always a possibility too. So if anyone from the Mummers or Otley Players [or indeed anyone else] would like us to collaborate with them in the same way we did with Otley Word Feast Press, all you have to do is get in touch with us and tell us about your ideas and proposals.
SAME OLD 21ST CENTURY PUB STORY!
One large pub over 150 years old [in Caverswall] has been temporarily saved by supporters under an ACV, to stop it being bulldozed for ‘development’, but they need to raise £245,000 before they can even begin to refurbish and reopen it. At the same time, an old cabman’s shelter on Nottingham railway station could open as a micropub. [And yes, I know they’re in completely different locations, but I’m talking generically here.]
Now you might say ‘so what?’ Not only do the numbers of pubs stay the same, but the micropub will be in private freehold hands, have a good range of beers and make a profit. The old pub used to be owned by Enterprise, and was allowed to run into the ground. Presumably nobody wanted to go there, and the landlord couldn’t make it profitable no matter how they tried. So surely everybody wins? Well not really. Forgetting the matter of community history, shared stories, familiarity and a hundred other things lost when a community asset is destroyed, there are a number of major issues with swapping our pub heritage for a row of shops.
- The loss of a ‘community’ asset is first and foremost. Pubs are traditionally at the very heart of the community they serve. In rural villages they are often right next to the church; in towns they are generally in busy main streets, or in residential suburbs where ‘regulars’ can easily walk to and from their ‘local’ – hence the name. Micropubs are increasingly in random locations like taxi offices or signal boxes or lock keeper’s huts, which might be well away from any permanent local clientele.
- The lack of permanence is second. Sure, a micropub might be popular and profitable now, but what happens when the current trend dies, and punters want more than a couple of tables and benches and a four foot bar for their evening out? And from the opposite side, what happens when the ex-city gent who’s bought a cheap shop and is making a healthy profit on his free of tie beer by opening for just 6 hours a night, decides he’s fed up and wants a new ‘challenge’?
- Third is the flexibility of a traditional pub to have universal appeal. Both rural and urban pubs have always had places for EVERYONE to drink. [And no matter what you might like to think about social mobility, inclusion and cohesion, these were not always the same part of the pub!] A public bar, a smoking room, a tap room, a snug, a lounge, a dining room – not all pubs had all of these, but their very names tell you a pub could be all things to all people. You could always find the place that suited you and that made you feel welcome and comfortable. Now imagine you’re working in, or visiting, a strange town. You’re wearing overalls, or a three piece suit, or taking your dog for a walk, or on a first romantic date. You arrive at “The Craic in the Wall” – a single-fronted, single roomed ex-butcher’s shop in which you can vaguely make out the shapes of half a dozen people at a couple of tables. Over the road is The King’s Head, a traditional 18th century coaching inn with lights blazing inside and out. There are a couple of people smoking at tables in the garden, you can hear music and voices coming from one entrance, and see people sitting chatting in another room. Which venue would be your first choice to go for a drink?
- Fourth and finally, what will be the ‘hub’ of a community when micropub sheds and shops replace traditional large pubs? The latter might need to change, but they have the space and the flexibility to do so, and to provide so many different services to a community – especially in this era of diminishing social and public services, coupled with an aging population. We all know what these services are – from bingo on a Tuesday afternoon; through meetings of local bee-keepers, bell-ringers and knitting groups on weekday evenings; to discos and karaoke at weekends; and in some locations even post office and library and retail services provided by volunteers. We mustn’t lose such a wonderful set of facilities and assets to our communities, so please forgive the evangelical epic, but that’s what Otley Pub Club is all about!
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT’S GREAT ABOUT PUBS?
If you haven’t seen enough in the item above, here’s another blog about what makes pubs special places, summed up in this quote. “Pubs are incredible places. We really do hear so much about them as though they are just purveyors of alcohol, but they’re not. Pubs are special because of what they generate and not just what they sell.”
ANOTHER MONDAY NIGHT IN A NORTHERN TOWN!
In case you think ‘nothing ever happens on a Monday, so I won’t bother going out’, here’s just a couple of things that were happening in Otley on Monday evening the 15th of May.
- Otley’s new Leeds Rhinos ‘Ambassador’ pub, The Manor House, had Ronnie the Rhino; players Ash Handley and Stevie Ward; dancer and presenter Roxy Gallagher; and Rhinos CEO Gary Hetherington visiting them. Also free food, and half price tickets on sale for Super League’s Magic Weekend. If you’re a Rhinos fan, you need to get down to the Manor to find out about further offers, news about more events, and details of future travel from the pub to home and away games – as well as just to meet other local fans!
- Outside North Bar Social [although presented by Woolpack Studios] the Otley Ukulele Orchestra played two sets, culminating with their ‘top 5’. The rain didn’t stop them or the crowd having a good time, and once again it was all free entertainment, backed up by fine beers from NBS.
FREE EVENT FOR DOG OWNERS IN OTLEY
If you are a dog owner or know someone who is then please find attached a poster with regards to an event being run by the Dogs Trust in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police in Otley later this month. FREE microchipping; FREE basic health check for your dog and more – see picture. Unfortunately it is a weekday, Weds 24th May from 11 to 3 at Otley Police Station.
THANKS FROM BAILDON BEER FESTIVAL
Here’s a message I received from the organiser of last month’s Baildon Beer Festival – “Thank you to any OPC Members who came to my 16th Baildon Beer Festival, it was a great success. Cheers, Bill Arnold”. I really hope some of you did contribute to that success, because I had promised Bill I would go – and then discovered I couldn’t. Managing to get to The Bull’s Head in Baildon a day later was no excuse at all! So perhaps if there were some Otley folk there, he won’t have noticed I wasn’t one of them. [Although he’s probably reading this right now . . . . Sorry Bill!]
STUFF HAPPENING IN PUBS!
Meet the brewer with Ilkley Brewery, Wednesday 7th of June at 8pm. £15 for a tutored tasting; a selection of cask and bottled ales to try; plus a curry from the Jewel of India! Limited tickets, so book one now!
Town Street Sea Monster live, Friday May 26th.
Quiz every Thursday with free food and a prize of 8 pints
The Tap House is looking to start a darts team as well – so call in and show ‘em how good you are!
NORTH BAR SOCIAL
The Great Get Together Otley – part of the national celebration in honour of Jo Cox MP is on Sunday June 18th f rom noon till 6pm. The Woolpack Studios will have a music stage outside, so grab a drink and enjoy!
There’ll also be a Woolpack concert on Otley Carnival Day, Saturday June 17th, after the parade has passed by.
Every Tuesday night is now ladies’ cycling night.
Saturday June 3rd is the pub’s 4th birthday, so there’ll be a party with food, decorations and fancy drinks.
The pub is currently hosting an exhibition of fantastic photographs of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Yorkshire coast, by Simon Carey. It’s worth visiting just to admire them, but you can also buy prints for just £20 [mounted and framed £35]. They really would make wonderful gifts [or just keep them for yourself!]
Another 2 good reasons for calling in at the moment are Field Day Citrus Pale from 5 Points Brewery, and Rhubarb and Custard light mild from Brass Castle. Try them!
ROEBUCK & ROYALTY & ROSE AND CROWN
Two pubs on opposite sides of the valley on the fringes of town, and one right in the middle, but all three expecting big demand for meals on Spring Bank Holiday weekend and Fathers Day – so make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment!
Big screen racing on Wednesday 7th of June. Charity fun show in aid of bowel cancer, with cash and prizes to be won. Starts at 8pm
Starlights Entertainments karaoke and disco on Friday nights
Live entertainment on Saturday nights, with – State of Georgia, May 20th
Mallory Green, May 27th
The Departments, June 3rd
The Names, June 10th
Silverlode, June 17th
For more info. Contact email@example.com
Jennie Laine – Friday May 19th
Ryan Myczko – Saturday May 20th
Natalie B – Friday May 26th
Kim B – Saturday May 27th
This Friday, May 19th, live music with Andy Paul’s tribute to Meat Loaf
Like it says in the newsletter, a free pint is always welcome, so celebrate Fathers Day at The Red Lion and dads get their first pint on the house [not sure how you prove you’re a dad, though . . .]
On Saturday May 27th, the Black Horse invites you to a ‘Ladies’ Night With a Twist’! They wouldn’t tell me what the surprise is going to be – only that it will be a ‘good’ surprise – but it costs only £7 per person including a glass of Prosecco on arrival. Women only, in the upstairs function room . . .
The hotel are looking for bar and kitchen staff as well, so if you know anyone who fancies it, tell them to call in, or phone 01943 466383.
STEW & OYSTER
Tap takeovers and Meet The Brewer events being planned for later in the year. Don’t forget, every first hot drink every day gets a free brownie!
More employment opportunities as well. They’re looking for a number of staff, from part-time helpers up to a full time supervisor. Ideally over 18, but not essential, so call in or phone 01943 465363 if you or anyone you know is interested.
Whiskey Pistols – Saturday May 20th
Cherry Valentine – Tuesday May 23rd
Sundogs – Tuesday May 30th
Northern Epidemic – Tuesday June 6th.
Charity bingo night this Saturday, May 20th for Otley Action for Older People. Tickets only £5 over the bar, and that includes your book of bingo tickets on the night. Great prizes!
Charity fashion show on Saturday June 3rd in aid of Mind. Lots of fabulous clothes bags and shoes for men women and children at bargain prices! High street and designer.
Mondays – Board gamers
Tuesdays – fun quiz, 8:45
Wednesdays – Movie Night
Fridays – Free food in tap room
Sundays – Carvery; quiz night at 8:45
[Very] early warning for the Wetherspoons Cider Festival in July!
Last day for Audrey and Sue will be Bank Holiday Monday, May 29th. So make sure you get down to the Bull that weekend and show them just how much you’ve appreciated their stewardship of the old lady of Market Square, and how much they’ll be missed.Pub will then be closed for refurbishment, and opening under new management around the 21st of June.
Bingo on Tuesdays at 7:30, £10 for the evening
Live music all the time! With
The Manor Sessions: the home of live acoustic music, every Thursday from 8:30 til late. This Thursday May 18th, Diamond Dac, Hot Rhythm + Dynamite. Next Thursday, May 25th, Hayley & Neil, Issimo.
Peculiar Blue, Saturday May 20th
RÓISÍN BRODERICK Sunday 21st May all Ireland concertina champion 2013, from Galway Ireland. FREE ENTRY early evening,
Kalifonix instrumental group, Tuesday May 23rd
Fret Buzz, covers band, Saturday 27th May at 8:45pm
A flock of needles, sewing for refugee children Monday May 22nd in the snug. Under 18s welcome.
‘Pawesome’ afternoon tea in aid of cats’ protection, Friday May 26th from 3 to 5pm. Tea, coffee and cakes – bake your own and bring them to sell! All money raised will go straight to cats’ protection.
HORSE & FARRIER
Open mic night 1st Thursday every month at 8:30
Vegetarian week specials every day this week until May 21st. and there’s veggie burger, chips and peas on the kids’ menu as well.
Showing FA Cup Final on May 27th and Champions’ League final on June 2nd.
Planning a mini music festival and barbecue out the back in the summer [and hoping for good weather]
Specials for national fish and chips day on June 2nd
Summer drinks menu launch on June 5th
Watch out for a special menu for Fathers Day on June 18th
World gin day is on June 10th, so watch out for some way out gins on that day!
PUB FACEBOOK LINKS . . .
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.
AND IF YOU’D RATHER FOLLOW PUBS ON TWITTER’ . . .
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 two pub accounts in town so far – [but OPC now have an Instagram account as well, at otley_pub_club.
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Finally – I do apologise for any mistakes and/or omissions I might have made while writing, editing and proof-reading the above [but at least it’s a longer newsletter this month!] And – 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 for the future – firstname.lastname@example.org , or get in touch via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!
17 May 2017