Doomsday’s been and gone, and Otley Pub Club’s not gone under! First good news was that we had not only one volunteer to be membership secretary, but two! Eddie Conneely was first to get in touch, and we’d already met and agreed a way forward before I got the second offer. [But maybe they would like to take on the Secretary role? Watch these Intros for further news.] Then we only went and got ourselves a minutes secretary as well. Julie Carrack [who like many of us seems to be a serial volunteer – she’s giving her time to Leeds International Film Festival as well at the moment] has stepped into that particular breach. Last but definitely [well, possibly] not least, our esteemed President Greg Mulholland has agreed to be our press secretary. His PR and media experience will be a huge benefit in that position.

So I personally send a massive vote of thanks to all three of them. I’ve had to do a fair proportion of all three of those jobs in the past, so they’ve taken a lot of the burden off my shoulders. So much so that I will carry on taking on some of the secretary’s responsibilities until a new one comes forward. There were 10 people at the committee meeting this month, which is about as good as it gets! Onward and upward!



All the offers will just be highlighted against individual pubs at the end of the newsletter. The cards cost a mere £10, and are currently on sale at The Curious Hop in Newmarket in Otley. The annual cards all expire at the end of July 2019, so the earlier you buy them, the more value for money you get! [Although we will probably reduce the price later in the year – watch out for that and other merchandise coming your way soon!] Please remember – when you use the card, could you please say you are a cardholder before ordering, and confirm the savings on offer before they start ringing up the full price in the till! Sometimes new personnel behind the bar don’t know every offer that might be available either, or might have to get the discount authorised by a duty manager.




This coming weekend at Otley Beer Festival, we will be selling OPC PREMIER cards for only £5. The cards will be valid until the end of July next year, so you’ll be getting over 8 months of benefits! Just think, even if you only use it to get 10% off drinks at The Royalty, you’d save more than £5 just buying a pint every other Sunday! And if you were to take the family to Stew & Oyster, you’d save it in just a couple of visits with 10% off both food and drink. And with other offers available elsewhere it’s as though the pubs are giving money away [and when does that ever happen?]

So you’re wondering how to get one now, right? All you have to do is look out for anyone wearing an Otley Pub Club black T-shirt [and believe me, they’re pretty obvious to spot!] give them your name, postcode, email address and a fiver, and they’ll give you a card valid up to Yorkshire Day 2019. If you can’t find one of us, ask at the craft beer stand and they’ll point you in the right direction. See you there! You might also get a chance to see our new polo shirts that are for sale – and they’ll almost certainly be cheaper than Lacoste!



Thanks to Simon Carey, who sent in an article that his mum had saved from her Woman’s Weekly Magazine about the top 20 places to live in the UK. He didn’t know the publication date, so I hope the publishers don’t mind me advertising their magazine by using a photo from it! [As you know, I’ve had a little difficulty with publishing photos in the past!]

The magazine says “Think about what you’d like from a new home, and the list is endless. . . Some of us yearn for sea views, open fields, and neighbours you can only see through binoculars. Others crave a busy city with shops and great restaurants.” Then Otley pops up in the list at no 17 for those who ‘like a good local’. Cheers!



And of course it isn’t just the pubs that makes [some!] people love Otley. There is so much going on in town throughout the year as well. Now that all the summer festivals are over –

  • The Otley Beer Festival starts tomorrow – Friday November 23rd and continues on Saturday the 24th.
  • The Christmas Lights switch-on will be held on Monday 26th November from 5.30pm. The Lights will be turned on at 7pm followed by a short firework display.
  • Otley Victorian Fayre will fill the streets with music, merriment, minced pies and mulled wine on Sunday December 2nd.
  • On the same day, the landlords and staff of many of the pubs in town will be dressing up themselves and their pubs to compete for the Elise Brumfitt Trophy – Otley Pub Club’s Victorian Alehouse Award. Make sure you visit as many as possible and choose your own favourite.
  • Finally, to make your Christmas shopping and pub visits to Otley in the run-up to Christmas even more enjoyable, you’ll be able to park free in the 3 Leeds City Council-run car parks on the following dates: all December weekends leading up to Christmas Day, and from 3pm next Monday, November 26th for the Christmas lights switch-on! [By the way – if you DO visit the pubs while you’re in Otley, please make sure you have a ‘designated driver’ to get you home again afterwards! At this time of year, people sometimes don’t realise that mulled wine is alcoholic, or that a glass or 2 of ‘fizz’ or good Yorkshire ale can easily make you unfit to drive.]



While we’re talking about designated drivers, who would have thought that a European nation would name its drink-driving campaign after me! The BOB campaign originated in Belgium in 1995 and has since been picked up by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and France [where they call it SAM].  I only found out about it recently from a Dutch friend who was over here on a visit, while we were in a pub in York – before I was being driven home (by a BOB). According to Wikipedia, “some media have spread the rumour that the acronym is derived from the Dutch phrase ‘Bewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder’ which translates to ‘Consciously Non-Drunk Driver’ or ‘deliberately sober driver’. Many people have since believed that this is true, but Bob is just a name chosen by the Belgian government.” [SO much better than SAM – with all due respect to any Sams reading this!] I just hope that whenever I tell people my name across Northern Europe, they don’t think I’m offering to stay sober and drive them all home! [Photo by User: KnowledgeNL on Wikipedia]



If you’ve been in Leeds since the 16th of November, you might have seen some of the original live art events and interactive encounters that were part of the Compass Festival. One of the projects was called ‘Public House’, and it involved the distribution and use of 500 specially etched beer glasses to a number of pubs in Leeds. One of the speakers at the launch event at Crowd of Favours on Friday the 16th was Otley Pub Club President Greg Mulholland, who spoke about the Future Survival of Pubs. The festival [and the glasses] will still be there until Sunday November 25th in the pubs named on the project’s website. [Photo shows Greg with the artists behind the project – Simon Persighetti and Katie Etheridge]





Otley Pub Club’s work to raise the profile of Otley as a #famouspubtown just keeps reaping more and more dividends! Following the success of the Children in Need Pub Quiz Crawl [which I’ll tell you more about in the next issue, when I have more time] that BBC Radio Leeds asked us to help them with, we’ve now been approached by Avalon TV. They are about to film the first episodes of a new pub quiz programme, with ‘Pub Landlord’ Al Murray as the questionmaster and host. It’s to be called [not too originally] ‘Al Murray’s Great British Pub Quiz’.

I had a chat with the programme’s producer and told him about OPC, about our 20-odd pubs, and about the Children in Need quiz event. He was quite excited about the possibility of getting a team [or more than one!] from Otley, and sent me a whole heap of fliers like the one in the photo, which we’re distributing round the pubs in town. If you can get a team of 3 together, just email the address on the flier and he will send you the application forms and everything you need to know. I do know they will ask you questions like:

  • Which pub are you representing; [Avalon will come and do some filming in the pub named, so they’ll get a bit of free national publicity if your team is chosen to appear];
  • What’s your favourite quiz round/category;
  • Tell us an interesting/amusing fact about yourself; and
  • Have you ever been on TV before?

So I think you can see they’re looking for interesting and entertaining characters as much as intellectual eggheads! You’ll need to be able to get to London for filming at a date sometime in January or February, but Avalon will pay all your travelling and other expenses. So if you “have bags of trivia and a sense of humour” what have you got to lose by applying? As the producer said to me “I feel like we’ll find some right gems for the show from this.”



 The Rose & Crown has prompted yet another article – this time from one of our committee members, Phil Greaves –

Following on from an earlier OPC Newsletter story about the Rose & Crown; The pub was confined to the larger ‘original’ building at the Crossgate end until about 1981. Before this the entire exterior was rendered and painted white – similar to the how the western gable is now sickly cream.  But not with trees and buddleia growing out of the rear walls.

Landlord at the time was Trevor Sampson and his wife Margaret. The ‘Crown’ sold Whitbread beers – mainly Trophy and (even worse) Tankard. But then an unexpected change took place as it became one of the first pubs in the area to stock Castle Eden. Largely a result of CAMRA’s success, a plunger type handpump was installed in the main (tap room) bar to dispense the new Whitbread  ‘real ale’. This was deliciously creamy and dangerously easy to quaff. As the previous correspondent said, at this time the tap/games room was all formica tables, fluorescent strips light and the clatter of dominoes. Most of its occupants were sceptical of this new beer.

 The tiny dark lounge at the Crossgate end could fit about 8 people in, at a squeeze. Food was generally Porky Brown’s pies from across the road.

Significantly stronger than the keg or electric stuff alongside, ‘Castle’ caught many unawares, especially when staggering over to Bondgate chippy at last orders (10.30pm) to order the necessary sustenance.

Then the early 1980s pub trendifying craze took over. Basically following the Junction’s first model of transition from a many roomed (Bass) house into a semi-independent single roomed ‘rustic’ themed stone interior, the Crown was closed for about 6 months. During this time the adjacent terraced property was added to the pub, and all interior walls taken out. Thus the Rose & Crown became a replicate one-long-roomed horse brassy environment in much the same way as the Whitakers, Fountain (Yeoman), Junction, White Swan, Manor, Ringers and ‘Shoes.

Thankfully the Castle Eden remained, until the fatal advent of the Pubcos, when everything turned to madness.

What chance such investment in pub fabric today?

P.S. On a different subject and slightly out of our boundary – but nevertheless relevant – the demolition of the Hare & Hounds at Menston is sure to stir many memories from the scooter club folk who used to meet there in the 60s and 70s.

Sadly, no Phoenix (S.C.) will rise from these ashes…..

[NOTES FROM Ed. – Phil asks ‘what chance such investment in pub fabric today?’ Well, perhaps Ei aren’t sinking their money into changes in in the fabric of the Rose & Crown, but they’ve certainly spent a lot of time and money on internal refurbishment and improvements since Ian and Sue left. The pub should be open again in a couple of weeks under new landlords – as you might have seen on the Facebook page ‘Otley, Our Town – and I can’t wait to go in to see the changes and sample the beer. I’ll let you know how it goes!]



Nothing to do with Otley, but the heading of the previous article just reminded me. Does anyone remember Bruce’s Brewery and the group of Firkin pubs it spawned. They nearly all had names beginning with a word starting with F or PH, like Ferret and Firkin, or Fox and Firkin [apart from the very first one, called the Goose and Firkin]. One of the Firkin pubs not far from where I used to live in London was the Phoenix and Firkin, at Denmark Hill Station. The firkin pubs had a pub crawl passport, and when you’d been to 12 you could claim a t-shirt. Virtually all the pubs had their own ‘humorous’ slogans, and this one was “Phoenix my Firkin pint, I’ll thump him.” Any suggestions for similar slogans related to Otley pub names that could be printed on T-shirts at the end of our own proposed ‘passport’ trail will be willingly embraced! [You can find a lot more detail about the old Firkin pubs on this forum.]

I also remember one very drunken night at The Goose and Firkin on Borough Road, when I was sitting on the brass foot rail at the bar because I couldn’t quite manage to stand at it! My excuse is that I was drinking Dogbolter, which at 6% was half as strong again as the ales I was used to. Anyway, no sooner had I put my pint on the floor than a British bulldog standing with its owner at the bar started to lap it up out of the glass. Not wishing to disturb the animal drinking such an appropriately-named beer, I waited until it had slaked its thirst, then I finished off what remained in the glass, rose [probably somewhat shakily] to my feet, put it back on the bar and made my excuses and left!

[Always remember – if you have any similar stories about pubs, or your own behaviour in them, I am always glad to receive them as you know. I’m not even TOO bothered about whether they’re 100% true, as long as they’re interesting!]



 Really sorry this month, but with me being away for a while, some of the pubs changing their Liaison Officers, and working on quizzes and preparing for the beer festival, [and having to distribute this before the festival] we haven’t been able to gather enough information about what’s on to complete this section!

All I can do is remind you again about the individual pub Facebook and Twitter sites, and point you towards the new Facebook page OTLEY PUBS AND CLUBS ENTERTAINMENT which appears to have up to date news of music and other entertainment at some of Otley’s pubs. The page is nothing to do with Otley Pub Club though, so I can’t verify any of the information on it.


  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off food AND off room bookings. Please check with staff onsite before committing to expenditure though!


  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off all drinks and food (Card holder + any party up to 6 in total.)


  • Offer to OPC card holders is 20% off food ( Card holder + 1)


  • Offer to OPC card holders is 20% off food (Card holder + 1 and not in conjunction with the Carvery or pensioners lunch)


  • We’ve had an initial discussion with Geoff, the new landlord at The Fleece, and he’s willing to continue an offer to OPC card holders. We’ll let you know what that offer is as soon as they are agreed.


  • Offer to OPC card holders is 10% off drinks at the bar [cardholder + 1]. Make the most of the remaining autumn evenings and weekends in their huge beer garden













































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 Newsletter Editor



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