OTLEY PUB CLUBOPC-Logo-150x109[1]



Wow! The weather’s been up and down a bit over the last couple of weeks, including the first significant snow of the winter. The good thing about the cold weather arriving is that all the pubs with real fires (like this one in The Fleece) have lit them to welcome us chilly travellers in for a sit-down and a drink while we warm up! Some have even got the mulled wine flowing already, so that even this early it’s beginning to seem that Christmas is near. Having the Emmerdale TV crew in town filming one of their Christmas episodes helped as well.

There are still another few big events before Christmas though, and news of them is included below, along with the usual gallimaufry(!) of odd articles and pub updates. See you at the beer festival and Christmas lights switch-on and Victorian Fayre and Christmas Tree Festival!!



Absolutely the imgp0859final advert for the Otley Beer Festival this weekend, and I’m only mentioning it here because it gives me an excuse to leave in the photograph of our Otley Pub Club banners that were in the previous newsletter! We’ll be going along to the Rugby Club on Friday morning, November 18th to make sure at least one of the banners is visible somewhere. Maybe the OBF organisers might even let us have a taste of the beer we’re sponsoring – just to make sure it’s at its best! Then I for one will be back again as a paying punter in the afternoon [and again on Saturday!] Hope you can join us at some time over the weekend, and help raise more money for local charities while having a damn’ good time!



I came across a weird blog this month, for the ‘Modern Drunkard Magazine’! The article that had caught my eye was one called ‘The Zen of Drinking Alone.’ The premise of the article is that far from solitary boozing being a sure sign that the drinker is about to slip over the edge into something dark and sinister, it is a way of getting down to the inner you. The inner joy, the inner madness, the subconscious you, the real you. Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, the article is an entertaining read about why you’re better off using alcohol to find out about yourself in your own company, than in anyone else’s! It manages to refer to a wide range of celebrities from Mark Twain, through David Letterman to Portishead, and calls Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca “the Zen master of solitary drinking’. Yes, the same Humphrey Bogart who said “I let my drinking do the talking.”

[By the way, as with all the hyperlinks in these newsletters, I try them all out myself, and I’m pretty certain that if they do no harm to my PC, they’ll be safe for you too. But of course you always need to be as careful as you can be, before linking blindly to a site you haven’t visited before. If you hover over the link it will show you the URL. If it looks safe, you can either go straight there or even type the address into your search engine yourself to cut down on the risk – or you can of course play it ultimately safe, and just not go there at all! Having said all that, I can’t of course take any responsibility for any dodgy site you might accidentally access, or any subsequent harm to your software, your hardware, or your marriage  .  .  .  ]



OCT is a non-political, independent, not-for-profit body of volunteers that seeks to represent and assist the local business community and promote the town. Every month they publish the Otley Economic Bulletin, which is a summary of local economic news relating to Otley and its business activity. You can pick up a copy at various places round town – I got mine outside the toy shop in Kirkgate Arcade this week. The bulletin doesn’t just contain news about businesses in Otley [although it’s interesting to know about which ones are opening or closing]. It also covers issues such as the ongoing campaign by FOOLs [not literally!] to re-open a brand new heated Otley Lido and leisure centre (see more below), cycling news, Otley BID updates and lots more. [Because I’m a bit late getting this newsletter out, I can report that I went to the OCT meeting at the relatively new café, Casa Vitae, on Tuesday 15 November and caught up with even more good networking news there – not to mention the great food and drink!]



I spotted this description in a frame in The White Swan the last time I was in there. (Apologies to anyone who finds the ending upsetting or offensive, but) I wonder how many of our Otley publicans can relate to the rest of this? [It’s a bit hard to read from the photo, so here it is -]

“A publican must be a democrat, an autocrat, an acrobat and a doormat. He must be able to entertain Prime Ministers, pickpockets, pirates, philanthropists and the police, but be on both sides of the political fence! A footballer, golfer, tennis player, darts champion and pigeon fancier.

As he must settle arguments and fights, he must be a qualified boxer, wrestler, weightlifter, sprinter and peacemaker. He must always look immaculate when drinking with bankers, swankers, commercial travellers and company reps, even though he has just stopped a beer-throwing contest in the public bar. To be successful he must keep the bar full but not get full himself. He must have barmen who are clean, honest, quick workers, quick thinkers but non-drinkers: mathematicians, technicians, and at all times be on the boss’s side, the customer’s side, but stay on the inside of the bar. It is said he homewrecks, takes weekly cheques – in other words, he saturates, confiscates, deteriorates.

The publican, to sum up, must be outside, inside, offside, glorified, crucified, stupefied and cross-eyed – but if he’s not the strong, silent type, there’s always SUICIDE!”




Yes, that’s FriendS Of Otley Lido, and they’re on the cusp of winning a cash donation of £25,000 from Aviva towards their feasibility study into re-opening the lido North of the river in Wharfemeadows Park. But they’re still not in first place, and they really need more votes in the remaining 2 days before the competition closes. So please go right now to their page on the Aviva Community Fund website and vote for them. It takes just a couple of minutes to register and cast your votes – you get 10 in total, and it would be great if you could give them all to FOOLS. Just imagine what a benefit to the community a new heated pool, children’s pool and other leisure facilities would be, and how many more visitors would be attracted to Otley to spend their money here [in our pubs!] You can find out more about the Lido project on their new website



Once again Leeds City Council have agreed that Otley car parks can be free of charge on Saturdays in December, to encourage visitors and Christmas shoppers to come to town. So

Beech Hill, Courthouse Street and Cattlemarket Street (the Licks) car parks, will be free again this year for Christmas shopping and Christmas events as follows:

  • From 3pm on Monday 28th November for the Christmas Lights switch-on
  • All day on Saturdays, 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th December
  • All day on Sunday 4th December (except Beech Hill) for the Victorian Fayre [Car parks are normally free on Sundays, but Beech Hill is closed on Victorian Fayre Day.]



This event just gets more popular every year. On Wednesday 7th December from midday totley_christmas_tree_festival_7o 6pm, and on Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th December from 10am to 6pm, there will be dozens of Christmas trees inside Otley Parish Church on Kirkgate. They will be decorated by and for different charitable organisations and, although entry is free, you are asked to bring along some coins that you can donate to individual trees, or to the event as a whole.

On Friday the 9th of December at 7pm there will be a concert by Chippendale Singers and Westgate Primary School choir in the church. Tickets will cost £5, including refreshments. Much more detailed information – including more free musical entertainment – is on the Festival website



The switching on of Otley Christmas Lights 2016 will take place on Monday 28 November in Otley Market Place from 5.30 pm until 7.30 pm. It’s a great event for all the family, as the lights will be switched on by a celebrity and will be accompanied by fireworks and lots of other entertainment. This event always attracts large crowds and is a very popular night out which aims to get the visitors into the spirit of Christmas. Come along and join in the fun.



More good stuff in the TYKE TAVERNER [which covers ‘Bradford and beyond’] November/December edition, starting with the first letter on page 5 telling people about the changes in The Bay Horse in Otley, and offering 50p per pint off all their cask ales to card-carrying CAMRA members. [Who needs those Wetherspoons vouchers if you live in Otley, eh?] It’s also got music reviews; [yet] another discussion about the advisory weekly alcohol limit of 14 units; a story about a brewery on a narrow boat; another about pubs in Tbilisi; a whole page about the launch of our Historic Otley Ale Trail version 2; and much, much more. If you’ve never read the amazingly clever and funny ongoing saga that is ‘Tap Room Tales’, it’s worth getting the magazine just for that. This episode centres on drinking 6% ‘Ewe Reeker’ IPA and a pub called The Low Dovvold Cobblers. You can find copies of Tyke Taverner in several Otley pubs – and it’s free!



Yes, I know the two don’t immediately spring to mind as a pair that go together – but there are definite possibilities for all of us who love pubs, to try to keep fit and healthy while we enjoy them –


For a start, most of us walk when we go to the pub. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than driving to the shops, or sitting watching TV, and it might just be the start of something bigger. When I go round all the Otley pubs collecting information for this newsletter, I usually walk up to The Royalty on top of Otley Chevin or to The Roebuck in Newall – both of which contain a fair bit of aerobic puffing and panting to get to the top of the hill. Some months, I even force myself to do both, albeit on different days! [Admittedly I usually have a pint when I get there, but as I’ve said often enough, beer is good for you – in moderation, and when you need rehydrating!]


Walking in the countryside around Otley makes you feel good about life as well. It’s a beautiful part of the world to live in, and you only need to go beyond the last house in any direction out of town to appreciate nature at its best. The photo alongside is one I took when I walked up to the Royalty last week. Breathtaking, always changing and never gets boring. Of course not everyone can manage to walk up the Chevin, but as people get older they can still make the most of their local pub. Just walking a couple of hundred yards to meet friends and socialise can not only keep you fit, but also cheer you up if you’re feeling lonely. You don’t have to drink alcohol either, all pubs sell soft drinks and many now sell tea, coffee and cakes at reasonable prices as well.img_20161111_132813187

Just in the last week I’ve spoken to a couple of landlords who would like to attract groups of senior citizens to come and socialise in the pub during weekdays when it’s less busy and less noisy. Their ideas ranged from the direct social inclusion and charitable events, like dementia cafés and Macmillan coffee mornings, to purely social gatherings like cheap communal lunches, tea dances or even film screenings. Pubs with bigger rooms could even put on yoga classes for the more flexible, or chair-based exercise for the rest of us! From here the possibilities are endless! Collaboration with Otley Action for Older People, perhaps, or with some of the centres of accommodation for the elderly in Otley, could lead to regular get-togethers in pubs, or even easy walking groups or trips out. All it needs is a will, a bit of lateral thinking, and [I have to admit] a fair amount of time and effort. But if anyone wants to try something out, Otley Pub Club will do its best to promote the idea, and help with organisation and delivery if it can.

Prostate Cancer Awareness

prostate-cancer-ukThis month has seen a lot of coverage on TV about awareness of prostate cancer, and the need to get more men understanding the issues surrounding it, and talking about it. Pubs are a great place to talk, and there’s a specific place for pubs in the fight against prostate cancer – see how your pub can get involved at ‘The Men United Arms’. The Otley Tap House is already a supporter, and the next nearest pub to us is The Junction in Baildon. Let’s see if we can get any more Otley pubs on their map, and highlight a killer that currently takes 10,000 lives a year in the UK, and is the largest cause of cancer-related deaths in men.



Coming very, very soon now – on Sunday the 4th of December. Some of us will be in town first thing in the morning with the Otley Town Team Volunteers [look out for the bright orange fleeces!] helping to get all the stalls set up and to make sure everything is ready to go on time. Then it’s back home for a swift change into an appropriate costume for judging the Victorian Alehouse Award. To help the atmosphere in town seem even better, let’s try to get as many people as possible wearing Victorian gear this year! Even if you just wear a top hat and a long coat, or an ankle length skirt and a Victorian shawl, or even go for the full steampunk look of chains, studs, waistcoat, leather and tinted glasses!! Looking forward to it already!



Going back to my walk up the Chevin last week, when I was in The Royalty I handed over some of the beermats containing poems from the Otley Word Feast publishing collection ‘Half Moon: Poems about Pubs’. The barman said that coincidentally they’d found an old postcard that had a poem about the Royalty on it! The photo is below – again not very legible, so here’s the text [and though I can’t vouch for the ale being ‘from the wood’ at royalty-postcardthe moment, I certainly agree with the rest!]:

“The Royalty Inn where I reside Is known to some as The Grampian

T’will please you if you pop inside, Our ale from the wood is champion

When Surprise View you’ve been to see, You can’t do better than

Call at the Inn described above, To refresh the inner man!”



There have been a few questions appearing on some of the Otley Facebook groups recently, about the availability of food in pubs in the run-up to Christmas. Here are a few I know about.

 BOWLING GREEN – Wetherspoons now have a massive separate vegetarian AND vegan menu [look for the A3-sized green menu card]. 4 x vegan mains, and another on Monday only, so you don’t have to catch the new X84 up to The Dyneley Arms for their Aubergine and Beetroot Curry.

Their Christmas menu and buffet is available from 14 November to 22 December, and booking forms are available on the bar.

ROSE AND CROWN – Probably the last call if you want a traditional roast turkey pub Christmas Dinner at the R&C. Christmas day fully booked and Boxing Day filling up fast, but the festive meal is available throughout the whole of December. You’ll need to contact the pub about Victorian Fayre Day lunches on Sunday December 4th, as that was virtually full when I called as well!

HORSE AND FARRIER – Kitchen hours midday to 8pm Monday to Saturday, midday to 4pm Sunday. Also, their function room is ideal for business events and family gatherings. Speak to a member of staff who will help put together a bespoke catering package for you.

Their Festive menu is also available from 28 November to 24 December. Both menus available on the H&F website. Ooh – and iimg_20161112_144601883f you like pork scratchings, they’ve now got crackling from The Snaffling Pig Co. which I’m told is excellent!

YEW TREE – Food is served Wednesday to Saturday from midday to 7pm, and there’s a Sunday carvery from midday to 5pm.

There is also the ‘Yew Tray Challenge’! If you think you can eat all the food on the tray in the picture within 30 minutes, it will cost you nothing and your name will go on the pub’s ‘Wall of Fame’. If you fail, it will cost you £21:95, and you‘re relegated to the ‘Wall of Shame’. So far, someone has almost managed it in 40 minutes  .  .  .

THE ROYALTY – Festive menu available from the 1st to the 24th of December, with vegetarian options right across the whole range of starters, sharers, mains, burgers and ‘comfort food’!

THE ROEBUCK – Festive menu and ‘normal’ menu right through December – but sadly Christmas Day is sold out already. Traditional roast on Sunday lunchtime, and 2 courses off the main menu for £10 on Tuesdays.

THE BLACK HORSE HOTEL – New landlords have a new menu out, including Sunday lunchtime roast, but I’m afraid I don’t have a copy – sorry! You’ll have to call in and pick one up or see what’s on.

THE FLEECE – Festive menu coming soon – keep checking facebook and Twitter. Open 11am to 3pm for drinks only on Christmas Day. No food.

WHITAKERS – Food served between midday and 4pm, with special menus for children and for OAPs. Traditional and vegetarian 3-course meal options on Christmas Day £29:95 and half price under 12s. Speak to Sarah or Tim in the pub or call 01943 462580 for availability.


OTHER STUFF GOING ONimg_20161110_140701522

BOWLING GREEN – This Friday, 18 November, fancy dress superhero day collecting money for C
hildren in Need. [They were also the first pub to volunteer for our Victorian Alehouse competition on December 4, Victorian Fayre day.]

FLEECE – Live music every Sat from 8pm [see winter programme photo]; Open mic every 1st Sunday of the month

CROSS PIPES – Thursday nights, come along and play poker from 6:30pm. On Friday Saturday and Sunday you can play your own music playlist on the pub’s music system!

WHITAKERS – Psychic night, Tuesday 22 November from 7 to 11pm.

Saturday 19th November: Joe Gallagher – Talented singer
Saturday 26th November: The Names – Otley’s favourite band.

NORTH BAR SOCIAL – Manchester and London Tap Takeover on Friday and Saturday, 25 and 26 November – keep checking Facebook for the 8 different brews on offer.

OTLEY TAimg_20161110_151827710VERN – Four more first class acts coming up over the next two weekends – see photo on left.

BAY HORSE – 50p a pint off all cask ales all day every day for card-carrying CAMRA members. Wainwright, Cumberland, Leeds Pale and Banks’s Mild joining the Tetley’s bitter OTB! Sunday quiz at 7:30pm is now more QI than quiz! Prizes for ‘showing off’ – say the most interesting thing you can about the answers! This is one for you trivia buffs!

Live music from Steve Chapman Smith at 8:30pm on Saturday 26 November.

BLACK BULL – Back to the usual disco on the last Friday of November [25th], [and I’m still trying to persuade them to dress up for Victorian Fayre Day on 4 December].

HORSE & FARRIER –Paul Briscoe-led open mic at 20:30 every Thursday night; and watch out for some ‘interesting’ beers on the bar to coincide with the Otley Beer Festival this weekend. Currently Thornbridge Kipling; Roosters Modern Way; and Three Swords from Kirkstall.

YEW TREE – Free food every Friday at 17:00 in the tap room till it’s gone. Quiz every Tuesday and Sunday evening.

Christmas fair Friday 25th November, 6 till 9pm. Featuring stalls from members of our community selling lots of fabulous gifts and wares! There will also be a raffle (all proceeds to sick children’s trust). Mulled wine, hot drinks and alcoholic (yay!) drinks will be available over the bar. Please come along and join in the spirit of our wonderful local community!

ROEBUCK –Quiz every Wednesday 21:00, prize Sunday roast lunch for two. Followed by raffle for a cash prize. NB, Now closed all day Mondays throughout the Winter.

JUNCTION – Festive spirit and gin week starting Monday 5 December, with lots of special offers. Timothy Taylor beer tasting event on Thursday 8 December, with food from O’Deli on Newmarket. Live music:

Sun 20th, H.v.H

Tues 22nd, Sun Dogs

Tues 29th, Gypsy Bill and Del Potter

MANOR HOUSE – Live music coming up:

Sat 19th, Street Legal

Sun 20th, Lost Loui

Sat 26th, Joe and Anne Gallagher

Sun 27th, La Fox

Sat 3rd, D McKendrick

Sun 4th, Lia

Sat 10th, Kwame D

Also open mic every Friday and quiz every Sunday.

RED LION – Now closed for refurbishment and re-opening as a Craft Union pub no later than Friday 2 December. John is hoping to introduce more traditional pub games, like bar skittles and shove ha’penny, and maybe even matchbox rugby [remember playing that as a kid?] to go with their darts and dominoes.img_20161110_154833846

OTLEY TAP HOUSE – See their blackboard alongside for November, and if you’ve missed some of it, that’s as much your fault as it is mine! Good to see them supporting Otley Beer Festival, and this week they’ve already got Two Hoots from Holt’s and Long Blonde from Long Man Brewery OTB.

BLACK HORSE – They are full of ideas on how to build on the legacy left by the previous landlord, so here they are in no particular order!

Advance warning for New Year’s Eve charity event in aid of Wheatfield’s and 1 other yet to be decided. £15 to include free entertainment and buffet supper.

They are going to advertise and promote wider use of the upstairs function room, including: a ‘jam’ night for bands that want to get their name known – perhaps by filming themselves for Youtube or Facebook live; and monthly themed events with fancy dress, beginning with a 1920s night.

Other ideas include: Regular Macmillan coffee morning, perhaps every other month; music quiz night on Monday; and a wellbeing/dementia café. Why not call in and give them your support?



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 the only account I know about so far is –


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It’s easy to make mistakes and/or omissions when you’re writing, editing and proof-reading everything yourself, and if I have made any I apologise.  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 in future but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just save this email so you can let me know  or email via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

16 November 2016

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