February News Letter







You’ll remember that I warned you last month about the threat that ‘dry January’ could pose to the business of landlords who were already struggling financially. Well, here’s the other side of the coin – the health benefits of socialising at the pub, and of ‘little and often’ beer drinking, under the wonderful headline









The NYT seems to have a new-found interest in British pubs and beer. Although this article concentrates on the Old White Bear in Hampstead, it makes a useful argument for having local pubs saved as ‘Assets of Community Value’. It also lays some of the blame for the demise of British pub on “the deregulatory fervor (sic) of Margaret Thatcher” under another great headline –









One news item of general interest, if you were thinking of driving to any of Otley’s town centre pubs during the day, is that the main East-West route through town is going to be seriously disrupted by roadworks from next Monday. Details are on the attached Leeds Council newsfeed, and diversion signs will be in place sending traffic round the bypass. Anyone living on Burras Lane or Birdcage Walk can probably expect increased traffic for a few weeks as well!








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THE BLACK HORSE is still high on the agenda, with Otley Pub Club having sent out this press release this week –




Date: 17th February 2014

Embargo: None

Otley’s community pub supporting organisation, Otley Pub Club, have written to the new CEO of Enterprise Inns, Simon Townsend urging Enterprise to ensure that the Black Horse Hotel, which is on the route of the Tour de France 2014, is open for this historic once in a lifetime event.

The Black Horse, currently closed yet again, since late 2013 and has had a chequered history in recent years, closing and opening regularly. This is despite some much needed investment in the Hotel in 2011.

The Black Horse, a Victorian coaching inn with the current building dating back to 1901/2, is the only hotel in Otley and its 11 letting rooms are crucial to the town’s tourist offering. The Hotel’s function room would also offer a fantastic view of the Tour as it passes through Otley.

Otley Pub Club are calling on Enterprise to publicly commit to having the Black Horse open – and available for people to book – for the TdF and for the annual Otley Cycle Races which take place just before Le Grand Depart – making the first week of July a real celebration of cycling in Otley, which is famous for cycling – and for its pubs.

Otley Pub Club are suggesting that Enterprise should either commit to doing this by reopening the Hotel with a temporary manager (and as soon as possible, to ensure that the business is build back up and bookings can be taken) or that they sell the hotel to a hotel operator, who would ensure that it is open and trading in July 2014.

Such is the importance of this issue that the public letter to Enterprise (attached to this email) has been copied to Otley Town Council, Otley’s MP, Welcome to Yorkshire and the organisers of the annual Otley Cycle Races.

In November 2013, Otley Pub Club President renewed his call for Enterprise to sell the pub to a proper hotel operator, saying that it would not work as a leased pubco pub but could work as a properly run hotel, pub and restaurant if operated by the right company.

Commenting, Andy FitzGerald, Chair of Otley Pub Club said:

“ It is a sad indictment of how Enterprise manages its properties that there is the very real risk of the Black Horse being empty on the day the world’s greatest cycle race passes by the front door. We would welcome the opening of the Black Horse in time for it to participate in this historic event and demonstrate just what a successful hotel it could be”.

Greg Mulholland MP, President of Otley Pub Club and Otley’s MP said:

 “Millions of people around the world will be watching the Tour de France as it passes through Otley and it would reflect badly on the town and on Enterprise Inns if this historic Hotel remained closed. 

“The first week in July, with the Tour de France and the annual Otley Cycle Races, will be a unprecedented week long celebration of cycling in the town and we need to have the only hotel in the town centre open and trading.

“Enterprise Inns must either publicly commit to having the Black Horse Hotel open soon and to remain open in July or should sell it to a proper hotel operator who could run it and make it a success. The chequered history of the Black Horse means that Enterprise are unlikely to get another tenant, nor will it work on that basis, so selling it to an appropriate hotel company remains the most likely way for the Black Horse to succeed. Either way, it cannot sit gathering dust much longer, so it really is time for Enterprise to make a sensible decision and ensure that Otley’s town centre hotel is open for Le Tour Yorkshire”.  


THE BRIDGE – rumours still abound about its future, despite the fact that all sorts of changes have been made. Breakfasts and snacks, and hot drinks as well as cold are now available all day – providing a welcome near-riverside café option, following the closure of Dunnies. There is also provision for secure cycle parking [as well as a large carpark for motorbikes, and cars] round the back of the pub. Entertainment details are included below.


THE ROYALTY – really is going to re-open at last, on Wednesday the 26th of February. It’s aiming to be primarily a ‘drive-to’ dining pub, with good quality food at reasonable prices served all day, from noon to ten at night, 7 days a week. However, as well as the dedicated dining room with extensive views over Leeds Bradford International Airport, it will have an ‘intermediate’ bar area and more important, a stone-floored public bar. Here cyclists, and walkers with muddy boots or wet dogs will all be welcome. It will have a log burning fire, and hot drinks, sandwiches and snacks available all day, as well as at least 3 real ales.


On opening day, it will have Deuchars IPA, Marstons Pedigree and Saltaire Blonde, as well as the usual Fosters, Heineken, Guinness and John Smiths Smoothflow. When it becomes established, there will be potential for local brews to be provided as well. There will be ‘walk-in WiFi’, secure cycle parking outside, 40-50 seats in the dining room [full at-seat service] and a children’s menu called ‘Little Royalties’. There is already a Facebook page [The Royalty, Otley Chevin] and a website is coming soon. The managers Steve and Bea are looking forward to welcoming you!


THE YEW TREE – is currently closed for a major re-furbishment, but will be re-opening on Thursday evening, the 27th of February, when everyone is welcome to go along and see what improvements have been made. Future entertainments are included below.





Again I apologise to all Otley’s pubs if I’ve missed out anything that’s happening up to the weekend of 22/23 March. Because of lack of (my) time this month I had to email all the pubs, and with publicans being busy every hour of every day, some of them might not have had time themselves to reply. I’ll try to visit them all again next time! As usual, I can only advise you to drop into your local and see what else they’ve got on, or have a look at the Pub Club website – http://www.otleypubclub.co.uk/ Below are details of some events during the next month, but do remember it’s ST PATRICK’S DAY on March 17th, so watch out for additional offers and events on the weekend of the 15th and 16th as well.


WHITAKERS – As well as a quiz night every Thursday and karaoke every Friday, the following live music events are coming up –

Sat 22/2 The Red Levels
Sat 1/3 Mallory Green
Sat 8/3 Last Orders
Sat 15/3 Peculiar Blue
Sat 22/3 Redhouse

As for food, they have Sunday foodie specials every Sunday, all day till 4.45pm –
2 Sunday Roasts for £10 pounds, or two 2 course Sunday roasts for just £15!


THE OTLEY TAVERN – See their website http://www.theotleytavern.com/ for general information, as well as @TheOtleyTavern on Twitter and The Otley Tavern on Facebook for up-to-date news on events and entertainment.


THE YEW TREE – Grand opening on Thursday evening (27th Feb) all welcome.
Karaoke on the 1st of March where there will be exciting news of a national Pub Factor 2014 with a top prize of £5000 for the winner.
Carvery will restart on the 2nd March .
With the success of Linda’s home made pies on Wednesday nights they will be extending this to the Thursday as well . A bargain at £5.95 for a piece of Linda’s luscious pie!
Landlords quiz on a Tuesday and the Customers quiz on a Sunday evening at 8.30 and 9.00 pm start respectively. They’re also planning to have free pool on a Monday evening with discount on their fine range of cask ales.


THE ROSE AND CROWN – Keep checking their website http://www.roseandcrownotley.co.uk/whats-on/


THE BRIDGE – MUSIC: Open mic night ‘Bar Room Buskers’ every Thursday night. Disco and karaoke on Saturday the 1st and the 15th of March. Joe Gill live on the 8th of March, and Northern Soul disco on Saturday the 22nd

FOOD: Sunday the 16th of March, ‘Paddy’s Day’ Irish stew and a pint of Guinness for only £3!

SPORT: England/Denmark football on the 5th of March


THE FLEECE – have their own website, http://www.fleece-otley.co.uk/


THE WHITE SWAN – MUSIC: Joe Gallagher’s Noise, Saturday 22 Feb @ 8:30pm; local covers band The Names, 08 Mar

FOOD: there’ll be a new home-cooked fresh food menu starting soon, and a special St Patrick’s day weekend menu. Plus – a Mexican night on 09 Mar, run by the Fiesta Mexicana restaurant from the Westgate arcade. Ask in pub for details of how to book.

GENERAL: A new music quiz on Sunday nights from 8pm. The Tuesday night general knowledge quiz will continue.


THE ROEBUCK – To see what they have to offer, check their website, at: http://www.roebuckpub.co.uk/events-at-the-roebuck/


THE MANOR HOUSE – Cheap deal on both Guinness and cider on Saturday the 15th of March – pre-St Patrick’s Day.

MUSIC: DJ Friday 21 Feb; live band – SEED – Saturday 22 Feb; DJ/karaoke Friday 07 Mar; and SEED again on Saturday qsas22 Mar;


THE OLD COCK – Check their own website, at:



THE NORTH BAR – Brew Dog tasting night on Friday 7th March. Tickets are priced at £5 and will be available to buy from any bar within the North Bar group and also from The Curious Hop in New Market. The evening will be hosted by someone from Brew Dog and there will be five different Brew Dog keg beers for each person, finishing with a taste of Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32% ABV beer). It is a ticket only event but service will be as normal in the downstairs bar.


THE HORSE AND FARRIER – Check out their website at:



THE BOWLING GREEN – There’s a new menu being launched at your local Wetherspoon’s on the 5th of March.  New drinks including 6 new craft beers, improvements being made to the food menu, and guest ales £1.99.




Bob Brook

OPC Membership Secretary

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