Last month I wondered which pub would have the first open fire of the year. Since then at least three have poked theirs into life [as have I at home, just once!] and as the seasons turn, the appeal of Otley’s pubs moves away from outside drinks, beer gardens and sunbathing, to warm fires, friendly chats, playing games or just reading the newspaper in cosy rooms away from the wind and rain. Either way, all the town’s pubs have lots to offer in any season, and as usual they’ll welcome you with open arms.

OPC AGM 2015

Took place in the upstairs room at The Red Lion on the 1st of the month. My article on barrel making last month must have had an effect, because some members of SPBW turned up, and we were very pleased to see them. We also met a recently-arrived Otley resident from Perth in Western Australia. Our fame is spreading!

OPC Chairman Andy Fitzgerald reported on a year of substantial progress for the Pub Club, with further investment and improvement at 4 pubs, and all 19 pubs in town being granted Assets of Community Value status by Leeds City Council. The town of Otley, and its pubs have been widely featured again in national press and on radio as well as receiving support from local media. Club committee members were even interviewed for a Russian TV station and Otley will be featured in a forthcoming BBCTV series by the Hairy Bikers on Britain’s historic pubs. Much more, including an updated version of the Historic Ale Trail leaflet and a ‘Pub Passport’ is being planned for next year.

Just a reminder that the committee members are all volunteers, with no vested interests whatsoever, other than to keep all the pubs in Otley open and trading economically, thus promoting the town of Otley itself as a ‘famous pub town’. (And you know what’s coming next!) We always need new blood [not literally – the sweat and tears will be enough!], new ideas, and extra pairs of hands, and we’re always delighted to welcome any fresh faces on our social nights – even if all you want is someone to talk to while you have a pint!


Talking about pints – I love this suggestion for a way to get back to the economic boom years of the 1980s! http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/lunchtime-pints-key-to-economic-recovery-2012090740315



I’ve now talked far too much about ‘Stoptober’ and ‘Go Sober for October’, so it’s time to talk about something much more important. October is breast cancer awareness month, and there will be many events organised locally to raise money to fight the disease. One of the biggest in Otley will be at The Cross Pipes on Saturday the 24th of October, beginning at 7:30 pm. At the last count there were 68 raffle prizes, and more were expected – and these are the biggest and best raffle prizes that I have ever seen in Otley! They include a free pleasure flight in a small plane from Leeds Bradford Airport; a £75 voucher from Buon Apps restaurant; a handmade box of chocolates from Patisserie Viennoise – and many, many more fabulous prizes.

There will be a DJ on the night [who of course is also giving his services free]; there will be a guest barrel of real ale at only £3 a pint; and there will be pie and peas provided – for which you can pay however much you please!! On top of all that, everyone is asked to come down in fancy dress – wearing something pink – so it will be a real night to remember! It’s for a very worthy cause, so if you only go to one “Dress up in pink/pay what you like for your supper/free disco/massive raffle night” in October, make sure it’s this one.

Link to the ‘Wear it Pink’ website – http://wearitpink.org/about/ and the Breast Cancer Now charity website – http://breastcancernow.org/



I attended an Otley Town Partnership ‘networking’ meeting recently, and the organiser of the OVTE, Nigel Francis, was there along with representatives from other voluntary groups. He said that he had found it really difficult to get people to help out on the day, and thought that not enough people in Otley were willing to get involved in town events as volunteers. I’m not sure I [or other volunteers who were at the OTP meeting] agree with that, but I went to OVTE this year, and it was a wonderful well-attended event on a sunny day, which again raised a great deal of money for its chosen charity ‘Hang On To A Dream’. So if you would like to volunteer to help next year, either on the Saturday helping set out the field or on the day of the event (Sunday 11 Sept 2016) just get in touch here –  http://www.ovte.co.uk/Helpers.html


What did you think of the folk festival this year? Not as good as it used to be, or still brilliant? Like Punch, or Dr Who? As usual, it brought additional crowds of people into town – many of them just ‘browsers’, who might not even have gone into a pub or attended a formal concert. The fact that there are a lot of free, open-air or pub session dancing or singing events organised by the Festival, is part of the attraction over the weekend, and it’s great for the town that it brings in visitors from outside.

Unfortunately, those ‘browsers’ [or even some ‘boozers’] don’t put any money into the coffers of the Folk Festival itself. Also, some landlords also put on events that are not part of the official Festival – an Otley Folk Festival ‘Fringe’, if you like. They organise the events and pay for them themselves, and hope to make a profit from the extra business over the bar. Many of the free events involve collections for charity, which again is wonderful, but which again doesn’t add to the fighting fund for investment in next year’s Festival. What’s more, they might persuade punters to spend their money in a pub rather than at the formal OFF concerts – even though it is probably the attraction of the OFF weekend that has brought extra people into town.

But there is yet another side to the use of pubs over OFF weekend [isn’t there always?] Those publicans who can’t, or don’t, put on their own events for whatever reason, but also aren’t chosen by the OFF organisation to host formal events, or to have free musician sessions or dance-outs in the car park, will actually lose business over the weekend, as everyone is chasing the entertainment!


Summercross playing at Otley Cricket Club, OFF 2015

Next year’s Folk Festival is the 25th, and everyone wants to make it one of the best yet. I’ve offered myself as liaison between the pubs and the OFF organising committee, to see if we can come up with a way of:

Keeping all the pubs busy over the weekend;

Retaining and encouraging a stimulating ‘OFF Fringe’; and

Ensuring that the formal events are sold out, delivering sufficient funds to OFF to make sure it continues successfully for years to come.

And finally . . . returning to the volunteering theme, I was told this year that OFF is always looking for stewards to help at the venues over the weekend. And (unlike volunteering for the Pub Club!) you do actually get some reward for being a steward, with free tickets for other gigs over the weekend. So if you’re interested in being close to the action next year, go to http://www.otleyfolkfestival.com/ which will also direct you to OFF’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.


After The Bay Horse in Knottingley was deliberately set on fire in August, the same thing seems to have happened to The Fleece much closer to home in Addingham on September 23rd

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/13779375.Man__33__arrested_on_suspicion_of_arson_after_fire_wrecks_village_pub/ Everyone ran out of The Bay Horse before it was torched, but 2 chefs were sleeping next door to The Fleece while it was burning. Let’s hope there are no more incidents, or ultimately someone is bound to get hurt.


This past couple of weeks has seen 2 ‘fixtures’ of the Otley pub scene depart for pastures new. Vernon, the landlord of The Bay Horse has headed off for a well-earned retirement with his wife Margaret, the first 12 months of which at least will be spent in Spain. Lucky devils! Everyone at Otley Pub Club wishes them well, and although we might be just a bit envious, we’re pleased to see them having a bit of rest and relaxation at last. [And we hope the new tenant will maintain the beautiful hanging basket display in Bay Horse Court!]

Purely coincidentally, Vernon and Margaret left at almost exactly the same time that the freehold of the pub had been sold by Punch Taverns. As I said in the invitation to the AGM, NewRiver retail, who bought the pub, have installed LTManagement Services to operate it for them. LT have now installed a temporary manageress – called Loveness – until a new permanent tenant can be found. [You might have seen the big ugly ‘To Let’ sign outside the pub!]
The other departure has been that of Wayne, the landlord of Whitakers. Having gained that pub a bit of a reputation for its food, its quizzes, its beer garden and its music – as well as its beers – Wayne has moved on to The New Inn at Eccup, with big plans ahead to return it to the jewel of a pub that it used to be. His place behind the bar at Whitakers has been taken by Jerry [or it might be Gerry – apologies to him for not checking first!] who himself has plans for how the existing offers there might be ‘tweaked’ to his personal taste, while still offering most of what Wayne left behind. [See pub info below.]

Wayne leaving in disguise!

I’ve been down to welcome both new licensees to the town, and OPC wishes them both well in their new positions, and hopes they will be happy and prosperous in them!


Rather than going sober for October, you might prefer to celebrate CAMRA’s real cider and perry month. These are the Otley real cider pubs highlighted on the Leeds CAMRA website – Black Horse, Bowling Green, Fleece, Horse and Farrier, Junction, North Bar Social, Old Cock – and in many cases, it won’t just be Weston’s.


I promised you more detail this month, so here it is. It’s at Otley Rugby Club again, on Friday and Saturday, 20 and 21 November – from midday to 11 pm both days. There will be 62 real beers, and probably 2 or 3 craft kegs this year as well [I’ll let you know next month]. One room will have about a dozen real ciders and perries, and food will be available as usual. Also as usual, tickets can’t be booked in advance – everyone must pay on the door on both days. [However, for details of corporate block bookings for Friday & Saturday afternoon entry, you can email them at info@otleybeerfestival.co.uk .] This year, the entry price will be only £3 for the usual (non-refundable) half pint glass, and programme with beer details and tasting notes – but ALL beer vouchers must be paid for separately.

There will be live music as well, and again I’ll give you details before the event if I can find out. It’s 99% certain that all the real ales will be from Yorkshire, and micro-breweries will be featured. All money raised from the event will go to local charities, so the organisers can be certain where all the money goes, and there’s still time to sponsor a barrel if you want. It’s only £30; your name/group/company gets featured on the barrel and in the programme; and you get 2 free entry tickets with glass, programme AND a free drink voucher – so in fact it’s only costing you about 20 quid! Details here http://www.otleybeerfestival.co.uk/html/Sponsor.htm


As I said a couple of months ago, posting this newsletter on the blog means you can comment easily and anonymously [if you want to] on the newsletter and its contents – or on any aspect of Otley Pub Club as well, if that takes your fancy. But do remember that if you want a private response, I need your email address as well. You don’t have to make it public – just send it to me at secretary@otleypubclub.co.uk . And from next month, we should have moved the link so it’s directly to the Pub Club website rather than the secretary’s own blog – and you’ll still be able to comment all you want!


Likewise, if you’re a non-member reading the newsletter online, and you’d like to join Otley Pub Club so you get all our news and correspondence first-hand, just email the same address but with a postal address as well. It’s completely free! I can absolutely assure you that the postal address will only be used to contact you if for some reason we start to get non-delivery reports from your email address, so we can write and ask you if you want to remain as a member. It is also important when we are applying for grants for OPC projects to know how many of our members live in Otley. Individual addresses are never used for these purposes or any other – just an aggregated total number of Otley residents.


The almost unbelievable news announced by Welcome to Yorkshire this month was that Otley has been chosen as either the start or finish location for one of the stages of the TdY next year. This is absolutely massive for the town, and will be another huge economic boost in the same way as TdF day was in 2014. We’ll be looking out for more details, but in the meantime keep the whole weekend free, from 29 April to 01 May. Otley is already gaining extra publicity from the Welcome to Yorkshire website, at http://www.yorkshire.com/places/leeds/otley


What’s the price in Euros?

Oktoberfest festival of German beers started on the 8th, and continues to the end of the month. And for anybody who still thinks NBS is too expensive – just look at the prices of these bottles on the bar [that you probably can’t get in any other pub in Otley] when I visited!


Sat 31 Oct @ 19:00 – Halloween disco until close at 23:30

Mon 02 Nov @ 18:30 – A psychic evening with Psychic Yorkshire. One-to-one readings will cost £25 for 25-30 minutes, or £15 for 15 minutes. Last readings at 22:45


Loveness only took over as manageress on Monday the 5th of October, so she was still settling in when I was gathering information for this newsletter. All I can say is, go and call in for a drink and say hello, and you’ll see the pub’s still thriving, even though there’s a big ‘To Let’ sign outside!


Tue 20 – Wang Dang Doodle

Tue 27 – Rory Hol

Sat 31 from 19:00 – Halloween at the Junction, with fancy dress, charity pumpkin carving competition, spooky cocktails and Pink Peg Slax live at 21:00. Food provided by The Old Yorkshire Pit.


The Air Ambulance charity event on Saturday September 26th was a great success, and the even bigger Refuge event on Sunday 27th raised around 2 thousand pounds for refugees. Everyone at The Black Horse would like to give a big thank you to all organisers, contributors and visitors at both events.

Parents and toddlers group was relaunched on October 12, and will be every Monday from now on – with a book corner, new toys and a craft corner. Entry is free, and with the promise of more donations, they’re hoping it’ll just get bigger and better!

Sun 01 Nov 14:00 to 17:00 – Spectacular Spooky Sunday! A fun filled, spooky family friendly Halloween party, with food, drink, a variety of games and music. There will also be a fancy dress competition with the winners receiving a ‘pizza night for a family of four’ voucher to use at the Black Horse!!

Thur 05 Nov @ 16:00 – After school film club! Entry is 50p per child with children aged 2 and under entering for free! With a drink and snack from the Black Horse Tuck Shop, settle down to enjoy the film! Then every other Thursday afternoon, beginning with 19/11 and 03/12.

The BH Christmas menu will be out soon – speak to Mark or Steve about bookings. There are also special deals/catering options/new menus and ideas available for the upstairs function room – whatever you want to do there, just call in and ask.


It’s closing time . . .

Mon 19 – The Roebuck will be closed. As usual it will not open on Mondays throughout the remainder of Autumn and Winter, re-opening on Mondays at Easter 2016. [All other opening hours remain the same.]

Sat 24 – No food between about 14:00 and 18:00, because of a special event being catered for. The bar will be open as usual throughout the day.

Thur 05 Nov – The traditional Roebuck bonfire SHOULD be on that day – they were just awaiting final confirmation when I called in.

December – There will be a special festive menu throughout the month. It will be extra-special on Christmas Day, but unfortunately if you haven’t already booked, they are already full and there is already a waiting list – which you might still be able to join.


As I said above, Wayne’s gone “up the road” [his words] to Eccup. So go down soon and welcome Gerry to Otley. He is keeping –

Thursdays – Quiz

Fridays – Karaoke

Saturdays – Live music

Every Day – Food

All day, every day – free Wi-fi

He is also introducing:

Sundays [once a month] – Northern Soul, at 4 pm

Every Day – Bombardier, Leeds Pale, Black Sheep Best and Tetley’s Bitter as the constant beers OTB, with changing guests as well.

The ‘women’s night’ with wine offers will not be continuing.


Fri 16 – Marty Jones, a superb night of entertainment guaranteed

Sat 17 – Sondelle, top class female entertainer

Fri 23 – Ricky Starr, top personality artiste

Sat 24 – Kim B, a welcome return for this stunning vocalist

Fri 30 – Louie Stephens, brilliant classic pop/Motown show

Sat 31 – Sasha T, excellent female vocal entertainer

And don’t forget The Tavern’s brilliant deal in support of Otley Rugby Club – show your programme after a home game, and get a free pint! [Then enjoy the remainder of Saturday watching Live Sports followed by Live Entertainment.]

The Tavern now also has both horse racing channels, as well as Sky Sports and BT Sport!


Now has both Racing UK and At The Races TV channels – with the added benefit of having betting slips available in the pub!

John, the Landlord at The Red Lion, also agreed at our AGM to be the Otley Pub Club liaison officer, and has said he will actively try to bring the landlords of Otley’s pubs closer together.


Fri 23 – Steve Chapman Smith, singer/guitarist

Sat 24 – Keith Mitchel, music man

Tue 27 – Open mic night

Fri 30 – Aiden Seamonster

Sat 31 – Halloween fancy dress, with Andy the DJ

Old Cock Philosophy

It seems the Old Cock wins so many awards, and puts on so many different festivals, that our friends in Leeds CAMRA can’t keep up! The next festival will be ‘(30) Ales From The Darkside’ [aye – that’ll be Lancashire to me and thee!] and it takes place from Thursday the 5th to Sunday the 8th of November – like I showed you in the last Newsletter. So don’t believe what it says on page 14 of the Autumn edition of the Leeds CAMRA magazine, New Full Measure, which has got it all wrong!


Sat 24 from 19:30 – You’ll have already read all about the breast cancer awareness night above. Ian would just like to give a very big thank you to everyone involved in organising, helping and donating prizes for the night.


Sat 31 – Whiskey Pistols

Food every Wednesday to Friday, 17:30 – 20:00; Saturday Noon – 20:00; Sunday noon – 15:00. Taking bookings now for Christmas.


Pub quiz every Sunday at 20:00 from 01 November.

Christmas menu now available and bookings being taken, phone 01943 465034 and they’ll email you a copy.

Brand new early bird menu, still £12:95 for 2 courses Mon – Fri, 17:00 to 20:00

Sunday roast from noon to 18:00, walkers, wellies, kids and 4-legged friends all welcome!

Steak night Thursdays 17:00 to 21:00, £28:95 for 2 steak meals and a bottle of house wine.

A taste of Italy on Tuesdays 17:00 t0 21:00 from one of their Italian chefs. Different pasta dish for 2 each week, plus a bottle of house wine £22:95.

Fishy Fridays noon to 16:00 – Jumbo fish and chips for two with complimentary hot drinks, only £16:95

Usually 8 cask ales, and always Wharfedale’s warmest welcome guaranteed!


Open mic nights, 2nd and 4th Thursdays every month.

Christmas menu now available. Book and pay deposit before the end of October, and get a free glass of wine for everyone in the party!

All day every Wednesday and Thursday, 2 courses for £12:95, 3 courses for £ 14:95

Which days was it again?

Sat 31 – Halloween disco. Fancy dress, with a bottle of prosecco for the best costume!

Irish traditional music sessions at the Manor, on the 1st Sunday, and every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. [Concentrate now – 1st Sunday; 2nd and 4th Wednesdays!]


The Autumn menu is now in place, with a special kids menu as well.

They are ready to go for Christmas, and are taking bookings now for their Christmas Fayre, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve menus. [Online bookings will be available soon.]


Wetherspoon’s “World’s biggest Real Ale Festival”, 16/10 to 01/11. From Adnam’s Extra to Zululand’s Zulu Blond [Suffolk to South Africa] there’ll be up to 50 real ales. Tasting notes and ale list available online at https://d3krljuteo739j.cloudfront.net/static/pdfs/admin-generated/podium/worlds-biggest-real-ale-festival-336.pdf?t=1442261238

– – / / – – / / – – / / – –

As ever, I might have missed things or misrepresented the facts, for which I apologise.  Thanks to all pub landlords and staff for giving me their time and information – and remember, the more you give me, the more I can tell potential customers about!

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 but you still want to be a member, something’s gone wrong! Just send an email to secretary@otleypubclub.co.uk , or via the website and I’ll put you back on the mailing list. Thanks!

Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

October 14 2015

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