As you know, I’ve already agreed to put the pub information for our monthly meetings at the beginning of the monthly invitation, instead of at the end. I’ve had a similar request to put the ‘What’s On’ info upfront in the Newsletter, but I’m not going to do it! This month for instance there’s two pages of events information, followed by another page of Facebook and Twitter links that just wouldn’t look right up here. So I’m afraid you’ll still have to scroll right down to the end to find out what’s happening in pubs, and to access their facebook and twitter links! [And if you’ve never heard the Intro and the Outro by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – here it is.]


I’ve seen many an argument for sobriety, but this one from the head of science at Queen’s College, Cambridge is the most pretentious yet! In an article from the Guardian, Tim Adams reports that Professor Eugene Terentjev wrote this to his new intake of students –

“Please be careful how you handle yourselves here; remember you are NOT at any other uni, where students do drink a lot and do have what they regard as a ‘good time’ – and you are NOT on a course, as some Cambridge courses sadly are, where such a behaviour pattern is possible or acceptable. Physical sciences is a VERY hard subject, which will require ALL of your attention and your FULL brain capacity (and for a large fraction of you even that will not be quite enough)… People who just TAKE the course, but enjoy their social life, can easily survive in many subjects, but not in this one…”

The capitals were his, by the way! That message is SO sad and SO wrong in SO many ways, that I won’t even BOTHER commenting on it. Tim Adams does a much better job of dismantling it than I could, and of emphasising the social and stimulatory benefits of beer!



Maybe what Prof Terentjev was thinking about was the effect of super-strength cider and lager on the human brain. Certainly if drunk to excess those products can cause severe problems – as was noted before the Spring budget this year in an article by Thames Reach. It claims that high-strength ciders, including products like Frosty Jack’s and White Ace, are nearly all drunk by homeless and dependent drinkers, and that studies showed these ciders are a favourite among children receiving treatment for alcohol dependence.

At typically 7.5% ABV, three-litre bottles of these ciders, which contain the same amount of alcohol as 22 shots of vodka, can be bought for as little as £3.49. This equates to just 16p per unit.

Thames Reach teamed up with the Alcohol Health Alliance to call for duty increases on high-strength cider, a leading cause of death and ill-health among homeless people. Jeremy Swain, Chief Executive of Thames Reach, said: 98% of the homeless people we work with who have alcohol problems primarily drink bottles and cans of these high-strength ciders and super-strength beers, which are far stronger than regular and premium drinks. A survey of deaths among hostel residents over the past year showed that 10 out of 16 were directly attributable to high and super-strength drinks. This is not a one-off figure. An earlier survey showed 11 out of 14 deaths (78%) were caused by high and super-strength drinks. By increasing the tax on these high-strength and dangerous products, the harm done to the vulnerable people we work with will diminish, and the opportunity to reduce, and ultimately end, dependence on alcohol will increase.”

David Burrowes MP was sponsoring an event in Parliament where experts presented evidence on the issue. He said at the time: “The Government has rightly put social justice at the heart of everything they do, and this commitment should extend to preventing the damage done by cheap, high strength drinks, which blight the lives and health of those who need our support – the homeless and vulnerable. An increase in the duty on high strength cider at the upcoming budget would represent a step in the right direction to tackling the burden of cheap alcohol on some of our most vulnerable communities.”

So what happened? Duty was increased across the board – including on lower strength beers. I just checked prices of Frosty Jack, and with another budget due in a week’s time it’s still available in 3-litre bottles from Iceland at £3:59 a bottle .  .  .



The Winter Gardens, Harrogate

 . . . you just can’t keep JDW out of this newsletter! Yes, it’s a link to yet another article about them, prompted this time by a review in The Sunday Times of the food in their new Ramsgate pub. I like this one – especially the bit that says you can’t tell when a pub is owned by a pubco, whereas Wetherspoons shouts its identity at you. Maybe all Enterprise [or EI or whatever they’re called now] and Punch [or Craft Union, or Heineken] pubs and the rest of the pubcos should put their company name next to the pub sign. Then at least you would know why the prices were high, why the necessary refurbs weren’t being done, why business was tailing off and the landlady was struggling to make a living wage while working 16 hours a day – and you’d know exactly who was to blame!

As Kit Caless says “The enemy here is not necessarily Spoons. In my opinion, it is the much bigger pub companies, such as Enterprise Inns and Heineken/Punch.” [And Spoons do often have nicer carpets!] Most of all, I love this quote that pretty much sums up my own attitude to the whole JDW experience: “I love cooking at home and enjoy eating good food in restaurants – yet I also eat at Wetherspoon’s. I enjoy drinking at trendy craft beer bars, yet I also drink at Wetherspoon’s. I have labelled this internal conflict “The Wetherspoon’s Paradox”. It is a state of mind that can both love and criticise the chain at the same time – a cognitive dissonance that could destroy the greatest minds.”


I don’t know if I’ve written previously about Pub is the Hub, but they offer advice and support to communities who are looking to relocate, re-open or introduce vital services and activities in their local pub. They are mainly focused on rural communities that might be losing local facilities like shops, post offices and libraries, and they help people look at the opportunities for re-siting those facilities in their local. Not only does that revitalise local community services, it also brings residents together under one roof whilst encouraging them to stay and socialise as well as putting some much-needed cash over the bar!

Now I know Otley is not a one-pub town [by any means!] It also still has a market, a wide variety of shops, a post office and even a remaining bank or two! Nor can it be said to be a strictly ‘rural’ community – even though we are surrounded by some glorious Yorkshire countryside. So by now you might be thinking “so why are we interested in Pub is the Hub”? The answer is that their ideas could help any pub to bring more people together under one roof and thereby gain more potential customers.

Just look at the wording of their vision statement – “Our vision is about matching the community’s priorities to new services which can be provided by great licensees in their pubs. It’s about bringing interested groups and organisations together, often for the first time, to meet common goals and help local initiatives take place.” Admittedly the word ‘rural’ is in their vision heading, but if you ignore that, surely this could be a great part of Otley Pub Club’s strategy in our own efforts to support and promote all the pubs in town.

We know all our pubs already DO provide community services – there are discos, karaoke and open mic nights, live music performances, quizzes, mums and toddlers groups, sports teams and special interest group meetings, games nights, online shopping collection and many, many more social events and services. And I’m certainly not implying that licensees are not doing enough for the community – they already work their socks off umpteen hours a day, 7 days a week, for very little reward for goodness sake! But maybe there are still ways that other individuals or groups in the community could work with the licensee of their local to help to bring more potential custom through the doors, to help thank them for their existing efforts. We’ve had some wonderful performances from mummers, actors, dancers and musicians for instance, both inside and outside the town’s pubs, and maybe we could encourage more of that. We do have a great library in town, but maybe we could get volunteers to run a DVD/CD/book swap service based in one of the pubs. Perhaps we could even get someone to start up my old favourite OLAF [Otley Lost And Found] service .  .  .

Anyway, the upshot of all that is that I’ll be contacting Trisha Hughes, the Pub is the Hub [I wish they had a short acronym, but PITH just doesn’t sound right] regional advisor for Yorkshire and the North East. I’ll just let her know about Otley Pub Club and see if there’s any mutual help and advice that could be gained from meeting up. I’ll let you know what happens.



According to an article in The Morning Advertiser, Marston’s will be removing all the compulsory dispensing and line cleaning monitoring devices from its 330 leased and tenanted pubs by January next year. Landlords will be able to keep the physical flow monitoring equipment in their cellars if they wish, and Marston’s will increase the number of their ‘compliance officers’. As they say – “The requirement to purchase products from us remains in place”, which pretty much tells you that licensees are still going to have to pay top prices and restrict their choice of beers. [Sadly, the article also mentions a report from Brulines owners Vianet, and Cask Marque, which said that 30-50% of all cider and beer in pubs surveyed in the South West of England came from lines that were overdue a clean!]



The two things might not be directly related, but the sales of beer in British pubs dropped by 35 MILLION pints, in just 3 months from July to September 2017, after beer duty increased by 3.9% in the Spring budget. Many landlords are already suffering from an increase in business rates [by as much as 95%, equalling thousands of pounds extra payment a year, in the case of at least one Otley pub]. If the Chancellor increases beer duty yet again on November 22nd the financial pressure on pubs will increase even more.



Here’s what’s happening, and where, over the next few weeks. After all the times I’ve said I was too busy to go round all 21 pubs to collect information, the rest of the committee put its figurative arm round my shoulders at the November meeting, told me not to be so pathetic, but agreed to share the burden in future. Here’s the result of the first month’s info-flood!


Christmas menu just published and bookings now being taken [click on the scrolling photo above the newsletter, then expand!]


FRI 24/11 – Karaoke

FRI 01/12 – Live band, Dori and the Outlaws

FRI 15/12 – Karaoke

FRI 29/12 – Karaoke


SAT 02/12 – Disco night/DJ requests

SUN 03/12 – Open mic @ 20:30

Christmas menu bookings now being taken. Open on Christmas Day.


Christmas menu now available. Food now only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Coming up one weekend soon! [Date to be determined.] Charity bike ride for St Gemma’s, which will include an ‘MOT’ for your bike. Watch out for details on NBS Twitter and Facebook [links below]

Also on Twitter every day is an update of beer on the bar.

Soul Sunday, every Sunday – Soul music all day, and food for the soul – cheese, pies and brownies! [And board games.]

Brownies by Brown & Blond include Snickers, M&Ms, cinder toffee, all butter fudge, and more!

‘Cycle Collective’ meets every Thursday. Now more than 100 members – not a club, just an informal ride out on a Thursday evening. Currently about 20 turn up, but more are always welcome.


Karaoke every Friday night.

After a slight delay with kitchen refurb work, food should be back on sometime this week [w/b 13 Nov]


8 handpull and 14 other draughts with a large range of whiskies, gins and rums.

Free brownie with every coffee

LAST FRI EVERY MONTH – Meet the Brewer. 24 Nov Brewery TBA, check their facebook page – link below

EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT – Quiz with a £40 bar tab to win

Don’t forget the oysters!!


Remember the bad old days, when I used to say The Red Lion ought to be called The Phoenix because it had come back from the dead so many times? Well it seems The Bay Horse is taking on that reputation! The latest temporary manager is leaving this week, and on Thursday 16/11 a new tenant is taking over. I’ll find out more then, and let you know.


EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT – Live music             }

EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT – Live music           } – check the pub’s Facebook page for details

LAST THURSDAY EVERY MONTH – Up The Junction open mic/jam night at 20:30

SAT 18/11 to SAT 25/11 – Gin Festival. Approximately 30 gins with matched mixers at reduced prices.



For other events including live music, check their Facebook page on the link below.


Festive menus starts from 06 Dec. 3 course lunch £20. 3 course Dinner £26.95. Pre orders requested.

Not just great food – 6 handpull pumps & Black Sheep’s lager 54 degrees north, and

WEDS EVERY WEEK – quiz from 20:30 . Prize is a voucher for 2 of Roebuck’s own pies


5 handpull pumps plus 8 other draught beers.

Festive food menus from 27 Nov. Alongside a winter drinks menu. It’s worth making a reservation in advance.

LAST FRI EVERY MONTH – Comedy night  £5/ticket. [OPC ex-chair comments “I’ve been to 3, and it’s well worth it.] Headliner 24th Nov Eddie French

Quiz nights coming soon. Check with the pub.


EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT – Quiz from 8:30

EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT – Ace of Spades 7:00

SAT 18/11 – Jukebox Disco from 8:00


New management now – Julia, a familiar face in new role.

EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT – Open Mic nights from 16 Nov

EVERY TUESDAY and SUNDAY NIGHTS – Quiz: win a £20 beer voucher

WEDS 29/11 – New pool table arriving!

FRI 01/12 – Charity Xmas Fayre. All welcome.

SAT 02/12 – Karaoke night 

SAT 23/12 – December Xmas quiz

SUN 24/12 – Carvery night with acoustic set by Joe Gallagher


Manor Sessions:

  • THURS 16/11 – Caefrae
  • THURS 23/11 – Vermond and Hardcastle; Jon Palmer
  • THURS 30/11 – Mestisa; Kwame D

EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT – Open Mike Night at 8:30

Saturday Night live music:

SUN 10/12 – Marshalls and Friends Xmas party. Music from 2-8













































Stew and Oyster


– – / / – – / / – – / / – –


Finally, my usual apologies for errors and/or omissions this month. 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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